Caister Academic Press

Germination of Bacillus anthracis Spores

Jonathan D. Giebel, Katherine A. Carr and Philip C. Hanna
from: Bacterial Spores: Current Research and Applications (Edited by: Ernesto Abel-Santos). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)

Abstract

Bacillus anthracis exists in two morphologically distinct states, the spore and the vegetative cell. B. anthracis spores, not the vegetative bacilli, are the etiologic agent of the disease anthrax. Anthrax infections result from these inert spores entering a suitable host, recognizing that the environment is suitable for growth, and then transitioning to the rapidly growing, toxin- and capsule-producing vegetative cell through a programed germination process whose proteins are produced during spore formation and remain inactive until triggered by specific cues. The process is, generally, conserved among spore forming bacteria. In this chapter we outline some of the unique attributes of B. anthracis spore germination, such as the spatial and temporal regulation of spore germination inside a host, the repertoire of small molecule germinants recognized by the spore, their concomitant germinant receptors and the group of lytic enzymes necessary to complete the cortex degradation that allows for vegetative cell outgrowth and discuss how the proper functioning of each of these steps contributes directly to the pathogenesis of this organism read more ...
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