Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30556639
Link to DOI – 10.1111/1462-2920.14505
Environ Microbiol 2019 03; 21(3): 984-1003
The strict anaerobe Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. The oxygen-resistant C. difficile spores play a central role in the infectious cycle, contributing to transmission, infection and recurrence. The spore surface layers, the coat and exosporium, enable the spores to resist physical and chemical stress. However, little is known about the mechanisms of their assembly. In this study, we characterized a new spore protein, CotL, which is required for the assembly of the spore coat. The cotL gene was expressed in the mother cell compartment under the dual control of the RNA polymerase sigma factors, σE and σK . CotL was localized in the spore coat, and the spores of the cotL mutant had a major morphologic defect at the level of the coat/exosporium layers. Therefore, the mutant spores contained a reduced amount of several coat/exosporium proteins and a defect in their localization in sporulating cells. Finally, cotL mutant spores were more sensitive to lysozyme and were impaired in germination, a phenotype likely to be associated with the structurally altered coat. Collectively, these results strongly suggest that CotL is a morphogenetic protein essential for the assembly of the spore coat in C. difficile.