Special Seminar - Javier Lopez-Garrido: Metabolic principles of immortality: metabolic differentiation and intercellular nourishment during bacterial endospore formation

  • Date: Aug 10, 2018
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Javier Lopez-Garrido from the University of California, San Diego, USA
  • Location: MPI Plön
  • Room: Lecture hall
  • Host: Paul Rainey


Bacterial endospores are the most resilient cell-types known. Their resiliency relies on the achievement of a metabolically dormant state through a developmental process that requires the participation of only two cells: the forespore, which becomes the metabolically dormant endospore, and the mother cell, which dies after sporulation. Using a combination of synthetic, cell and chemical biology, we describe that endospore formation in Bacillus subtilis entails a nourishing relationship between the mother cell and the forespore. While both cells synthesize proteins throughout sporulation, the forespore rapidly downregulates its own central metabolism and several anabolic pathways, becoming dependent on mother cell-derived metabolic precursors for protein synthesis. We provide evidence that the mother cell feeds the forespore by transferring metabolic precursors via Q-A channels connecting the cytoplasms of the two cells. Our findings suggest that metabolic differentiation and intercellular nourishment underpin the gradual transition of the forespore to a metabolically dormant state.

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