AIMS: This work aimed to determine how genes on transposon Tn1546 slow Bacillus subtilis spore germination and increase wet heat resistance, and to clarify the transposon's 3 gene spoVA operon's role in spore properties, since the 7 wild-type SpoVA proteins form a channel transporting Ca2+ -dipicolinic acid (DPA) in spore formation and germination.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Deletion of the wild-type spoVA operon from a strain with Tn1546 gave spores with slightly reduced wet heat resistance but some large decreases in germination rate. Spore water content and CaDPA analyses found no significant differences in contents of either component in spores with different Tn1546 components or lacking the wild-type spoVA operon.
CONCLUSIONS: This work indicates that the SpoVA channel encoded by Tn1546 functions like the wild-type SpoVA channel in CaDPA uptake into developing spores, but not as well in germination. The essentially identical CaDPA and water contents of spores with and without Tn1546 indicate that low core water content does not cause elevated wet heat resistance of spores with Tn1546.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF STUDY: Since wet heat resistance of spores of Bacillus species poses problems in the food industry, understanding mechanisms of spores' wet heat resistance is of significant applied interest.