Microbiology and immunology

Studies on the bacterial spore coat. IX. The role of surface charge in germination of Bacillus megaterium spores.

PMID 6793815


The surface charge of Bacillus megaterium QM B1551 spores was estimated to be negative, -0.2 ad -0.4 mueq/mg by colloidal titration using glycol chitosan (GCh) and methylglycol chitosan (MGCh), respectively, as positive colloids. MGCh, which reacts with all of the negatively charged groups including carboxylate, inhibited the second stage of the germination to result in semirefractile spores, but GCh, which reacts only with strong acidic groups such as phosphate, did not. The spores produced in a medium with limited phosphate had coats with low phosphate content and carried less negative charge, and they were induced to germinate with 0.4 mM KNO3, which is one-tenth of the minimum concentration required for the germination of the control spores. A similar increase in germinability was observed in spores incubated with calcium acetate. The results suggest that the role of the surface charge in germination is as follows. Strong acidic groups (such as phosphate) in the coat may block the action of ionic germinants and act as a barrier against the initiation of ionic germination. Positively charged compounds (such as calcium) may compensate for this blocking effect. Weak acidic groups (such as carboxylate) may be involved in the later stage of germination.

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M3150 Methylglycol chitosan, ≥70%