Chapter 20 : Surviving Between Hosts: Sporulation and Transmission

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The species are Gram-positive, spore-forming, facultative aerobes that are commonly found in the soil, sometimes associated with plants and nematodes. The clade of this well-studied genus contains pathogens and nonpathogens, with a complex taxonomy that in recent years has been continuously modified to reflect DNA sequence data. In addition to DNA sequence similarities and gene synteny, horizontal transfer of closely related plasmids is apparent among these ubiquitous soil bacteria ( ). Member species of the group include , , , , , and ( ). Of these, the best-studied species are , , and . is the causative agent of anthrax in mammals, an often lethal disease. Human disease is generally acquired accidentally during outbreaks of anthrax in domestic livestock and wildlife, but has also been associated with bioterrorism ( ). Certain strains of can cause food poisoning in humans, while some strains of are lethal for invertebrates and are used as insecticides ( ). Other species of the group are only occasionally cited as disease-causing in mammals, but their potential virulence factors are not known.

Citation: Swick M, Koehler T, Driks A. 2016. Surviving Between Hosts: Sporulation and Transmission, p 529-566. In Kudva I, Cornick N, Plummer P, Zhang Q, Nicholson T, Bannantine J, Bellaire B (ed),

Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fifth Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0029-2015
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Figure 1

Schematic representation of spores of (left), (middle), and (right) illustrating the major spore structures. The innermost compartment (housing the spore DNA), the core, is white. The inner membrane (the location of the germinant receptors in and , but not ) is the black oval surrounding the core. The gray region is the spore peptidoglycan and, surrounding that, the dark blue is the coat. Although an outer membrane is present during spore formation, it is most likely not present in the mature spore ( ) and, therefore, is not shown here. For simplicity, the sublayers of the coat are not indicated. (but not the other two species) ( ) possesses an additional outer layer, the exosporium, indicated by a red line (the exosporium basal layer) and protrusions extending from the basal layer surface (the hair-like projections, or nap). The region between the coat and the exosporium is the interspace. The coat has a scalloped appearance in cross-section, as indicated in the figure.

Citation: Swick M, Koehler T, Driks A. 2016. Surviving Between Hosts: Sporulation and Transmission, p 529-566. In Kudva I, Cornick N, Plummer P, Zhang Q, Nicholson T, Bannantine J, Bellaire B (ed),

Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fifth Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0029-2015
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