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The molecular dynamics of bacterial spore and the role of calcium dipicolinate in core properties at the sub-nanosecond time-scale

Abstract : Bacterial spores are among the most resistant forms of life on Earth. Their exceptional resistance properties rely on various strategies, among them the core singular structure, organization and hydration. By using elastic incoherent neutron scattering, we probed the dynamics of Bacillus subtilis spores to determine whether core macromolecular motions at the sub-nanosecond timescale could also contribute to their resistance to physical stresses. In addition, in order to better specify the role of the various spore components, we used different mutants lacking essential structure such as the coat (PS4150 mutant), or the calcium dipicolinic acid complex (CaDPA) located in the core (FB122 mutant). PS4150 allows to better probe the core's dynamics, as proteins of the coat represent an important part of spore proteins, and FB122 gives information about the role of the large CaDPA depot for the mobility of core's components. We show that core's macromolecular mobility is not particularly constrained at the sub-nanosecond timescale in spite of its low water content as some dynamical characteristics as force constants are very close to those of vegetative bacteria such as Escherichia coli or to those of fully hydrated proteins. Although the force constants of the coatless mutant are similar to the wild-type's ones, it has lower mean square displacements (MSDs) at high Q showing that core macromolecules are somewhat more constrained than the rest of spore components. However, no behavior reflecting the glassy state regularly evoked in the literature could be drawn from our data. As hydration and macromolecules' mobility are highly correlated, the previous assumption, that core low water content might explain spores' exceptional resistance properties seems unlikely. Thus, we confirm recent theories, suggesting that core water is mostly as free as bulk water and proteins/macromolecules are fully hydrated. The germination of spores leads to a much less stable system with a force constant of 0.1 N/m and MSDs ~2.5 times higher at low Q than in the dormant state. DPA has also an influence on core mobility with a slightly lower force constant for the DPA-less mutant than for the wild-type, and MSDs that are ~ 1.8 times higher on average than for the wild-type at low Q. At high Q, germinated and DPA-less spores were very similar to the wild-type ones, showing that DPA and core compact structure might influence large amplitude motions rather than local dynamics of macromolecules.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 8, 2020 - 9:14:08 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 10, 2020 - 7:58:59 AM

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Alexandre Colas de la Noue, Francesca Natali, Fatima Fekraoui, Patrick Gervais, Nicolas Martinez, et al.. The molecular dynamics of bacterial spore and the role of calcium dipicolinate in core properties at the sub-nanosecond time-scale. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10 (1), pp.1-14. ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-65093-y⟩. ⟨hal-02859839⟩

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