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Ellipsoid Localization Microscopy Infers the Size and Order of Protein Layers in Bacillus Spore Coats.

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Manetsberger, Julia 
Manton, James D 
Erdelyi, Miklos J 
Lin, Henry 
Rees, David 


Multilayered protein coats are crucial to the dormancy, robustness, and germination of bacterial spores. In Bacillus subtilis spores, the coat contains over 70 distinct proteins. Identifying which proteins reside in each layer may provide insight into their distinct functions. We present image analysis methods that determine the order and geometry of concentric protein layers by fitting a model description for a spheroidal fluorescent shell image to optical micrographs of spores incorporating fluorescent fusion proteins. The radius of a spherical protein shell can be determined with <10 nm error by fitting an equation to widefield fluorescence micrographs. Ellipsoidal shell axes can be fitted with comparable precision. The layer orders inferred for B. subtilis and B. megaterium are consistent with measurements in the literature. The aspect ratio of elongated spores and the tendency of some proteins to localize near their poles can be quantified, enabling measurement of structural anisotropy.



Bacillus subtilis, Bacterial Proteins, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Spores, Bacterial

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Biophys J

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Elsevier BV
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/H018301/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015889/1)
We gratefully acknowledge support from MedImmune through the Beacon collaboration, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies and Applications (EP/L015889/1), and thank Clemens Kaminski, Romain Laine and Jose Casas-Finet for inspiring discussions.