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Researchers track how spores break out of dormant state

rom Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and Northwestern University, used AFM to identify disassembly of the outer spore coat rodlet structures, which appear to be structurally similar to amyloid fibrils that have been associated with neural degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and prion diseases. “The extreme physical and chemical resistance of Bacillus spores suggests that evolutionary forces have captured the mechanical rigidity and resistance of these amyloid self-assembling biomaterials to structure the protective outer spore surface,” Plomp said.

When exposed to a solution that triggers germination, nanometer sized etch pits were seen developing in the rodlet layer. These etch pits evolved into ever widening fissures, leaving narrow strips of remaining rodlet structure. In the end, 1- to 3- nm-wide fibrils remained. The in vitro AFM imaging also revealed the porous fibrous cell wall structure of newly emerging and mature vegetative cells, consisting of a network of nanometer-wide peptidoglycan fibers. “These results show that dynamic AFM is a promising tool to investigate the formation and evolution of the bacterial cell wall,” Malkin said.
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Source:DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


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