The spore-coat fraction from Bacillus megaterium KM, when prepared by extraction of lysozyme-digested integuments with SDS (sodium dodecyl sulphate) and urea, contains three N-terminal residues and a major component of apparent mol.wt. 17500. Electron microscopy of this fraction shows it to consist of an ordered multilamellar structure similar to that which forms the coat region of intact spores. The 17500-dalton protein, which has been purified to homogeneity, has an N-terminal methionine residue, has high contents of glycine, proline, cysteine and acidic amino acids and readily polymerized even in the presence of thiol-reducing agents. It is first synthesized between late Stage IV and early Stage V, which correlates with the morphological appearance of spore coat. Before Stage VI the 17500-dalton protein is extractable from sporangia by SDS in the absence of thiol-reducing reagents. Between Stage VI and release of mature spores the protein becomes resistant to extraction by SDS unless it is supplemented by a thiol-reducing reagent. In addition to that of the spore-coat protein, the timing of synthesis of all the integument proteins was analysed by SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis and non-equilibrium pH-gradient electrophoresis. Several integument proteins are conservatively synthesized from as early as 1h after the end of exponential growth (t1), which may reflect protein incorporation into the spore outer membrane.

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