Menaquinone and iron are essential for complex colony development in Bacillus subtilis

Gidi Pelchovich, Shira Omer-Bendori, Uri Gophna

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20 Scopus citations


Cells of undomesticated species of Bacillus subtilis frequently form complex colonies during spreading on agar surfaces. Given that menaquinone is involved in another form of coordinated behavior, namely, sporulation, we looked for a possible role for menaquinone in complex colony development (CCD) in the B. subtilis strain NCIB 3610. Here we show that inhibition of menaquinone biosynthesis in B. subtilis indeed abolished its ability to develop complex colonies. Additionally some mutations of B. subtilis which confer defective CCD could be suppressed by menaquinone derivatives. Several such mutants mapped to the dhb operon encoding the genes responsible for the biosynthesis of the iron siderophore, bacillibactin. Our results demonstrate that both menaquinone and iron are essential for CCD in B. subtilis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere79488
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2013


FundersFunder number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


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