Bacterial spores are commonly isolated from a variety of different environments, including extreme habitats. While it is well‐established that such ubiquitous distribution reflects the spore resistance properties, it is not clear whether the growing conditions affect the spore structure and function. We used Bacillus subtilis spores of similar age but produced at 25, 37 or 42°C to compare their surface structures and functional properties. Spores produced at the 25°C were more hydrophobic while those produced at 42°C contained more dipicolinic acid, and were more resistant to heat or lysozyme treatments. Electron microscopy analysis showed that while 25°C spores had a coat with a compact outer coat, not tightly attached to the inner coat, 42°C spores had a granular, not compact outer coat, reminiscent of the coat produced at 37°C by mutant spores lacking the protein CotG. Indeed, CotH and a series of CotH‐dependent coat proteins including CotG, were more abundantly extracted from the coat of 25 or 37°C than 42°C spores. Our data indicated that CotH is a heat‐labile protein with a major regulatory role on coat formation when sporulation occurs at low temperatures, suggesting that B. subtilis builds structurally and functionally different spores in response to the external conditions.
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