Article ID: 2021.10.006
Paenibacillus polymyxa is a spore-forming Gram-positive bacterial species. Both its sporulation process and the spore properties are poorly understood. Here, we investigated sporulation in P. polymyxa ATCC39564. When cultured at 37℃ for 24 h in sporulation medium, more than 80% of the total cells in the culture were spores. Time-lapse imaging revealed that cellular morphological changes during sporulation of P. polymyxa were highly similar to those of B. subtilis. We demonstrated that genetic deletion of spo0A, sigE, sigF, sigG, or sigK, which are highly conserved transcriptional regulators in spore forming bacteria, abolished spore formation. In P. polymyxa, spo0A was required for cell growth in sporulation medium, as well as for the initiation of sporulation. The sigE and sigF mutants formed abnormal multiple asymmetric septa during the early stage of sporulation. The sigG and sigK mutants formed forespores in the sporangium, but they did not become mature. Moreover, fluorescence reporter analysis confirmed compartment-specific gene expression of spoIID and spoVFA in the mother cell and spoIIQ and sspF in the forespore. Transmission electron microscopy imaging revealed that P. polymyxa produces multilayered endospores but lacking a balloon-shaped exosporium. Our results indicate that spore morphogenesis is conserved between P. polymyxa and B. subtilis. However, P. polymyxa genomes lack many homologues encoding spore-coat proteins that are found in B. subtills, suggesting that there are differences in the spore coat composition and surface structure between P. polymyxa and B. subtilis.