Chapter 15 : Physiology and Sporulation in

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Clostridia are anaerobic bacteria, although many species can tolerate oxygen to various extents. They are able to form endospores and are not capable of dissimilatory sulfate reduction. Most of them show a positive Gram reaction. These criteria have been used in the past for classification. However, phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA sequences led to reattribution of many former clostridia to numerous other and also novel genera, such as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and (J. P.Euzéby, List of prokaryotic names with standing in nomenclature – genus , http://www.bacterio.cict.fr/c/clostridium.html). For the genus , approximately 180 species have been validly described, rendering it one of the largest bacterial genera. Only a few of these species are pathogenic, however, involving microbes producing very dangerous toxins. On the other hand, a large number of species are used in biotechnological applications (enzyme, bulk chemicals, and biofuels production) and tested for use in cancer therapy. This is due to the enormous metabolic diversity within the clostridia, rendering them the avant-garde of biotechnologically exploited microorganisms. During past years, techniques have been developed that allowed establishment of genetic systems for many clostridia. Thus, the tools are at hand for further elucidation and exploitation. Due to the limited space of this article, many aspects cannot be presented in detail. Thus, the interested reader is referred to recent references for additional information ( ).

Citation: Dürre P. 2016. Physiology and Sporulation in , p 315-329. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0010-2012
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Figure 1

Vegetative growth and sporulation/germination cycle in clostridia. During normal growth, cells (shown is ) divide and multiply (left). During this period, acids, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen are formed. Upon signals not yet determined, cells start to differentiate into "clostridial forms" with granulose as a storage material (solventogenic species produce at this time acetone, butanol, or isopropanol), then form endospores, which finally will germinate into vegetative cells again.

Citation: Dürre P. 2016. Physiology and Sporulation in , p 315-329. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0010-2012
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Figure 2

Signal transduction in and leading to the onset of sporulation. (A) In , three sensor kinases autophosphorylate at a histidine residue and transfer the phosphoryl group to an aspartate residue of the response regulator Spo0A. Cac0323 acts alone, while Cac0903 and Cac3319 act in concert. Cac0437 is a protein masquerading as a kinase, but acting as a phosphatase. (B) In , five different kinases channel the phosphoryl group to Spo0A via a phosphorelay consisting of Spo0F and Spo0B.

Citation: Dürre P. 2016. Physiology and Sporulation in , p 315-329. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0010-2012
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Table 1

Major metabolic features of

Citation: Dürre P. 2016. Physiology and Sporulation in , p 315-329. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0010-2012

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