Peptidoglycan hydrolysis is required for assembly and activity of the transenvelope secretion complex during sporulation inBacillus subtilis

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SporulatingBacillus subtiliscells assemble a transenvelope secretion complex that connects the mother cell and developing spore. The forespore protein SpoIIQ and the mother-cell protein SpoIIIAH interact across the double membrane septum and are thought to assemble into a channel that serves as the basement layer of this specialized secretion system. SpoIIQ is absolutely required to recruit SpoIIIAH to the sporulation septum on the mother-cell side, however the mechanism by which SpoIIQ is localized has been unclear. Here, we show that SpoIIQ localization requires its partner protein SpoIIIAH and degradation of the septal peptidoglycan (PG) by the two cell wall hydrolases SpoIID and SpoIIP. Our data suggest that PG degradation enables a second mother-cell-produced protein to interact with SpoIIQ. Cells in which both mother-cell anchoring mechanisms have been disabled have a synergistic sporulation defect suggesting that both localization factors function in the secretion complex. Finally, we show that septal PG degradation is critical for the assembly of an active complex. Altogether, these results suggest that the specialized secretion system that links the mother cell and forespore has a complexity approaching those found in Gram-negative bacteria and reveal that the sporulating cell must overcome similar challenges in assembling a transenvelope complex.

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