Spore germination

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Mar;59(3):403-9. doi: 10.1007/s00018-002-8432-8.


Despite being relatively insensitive to environmental insult, the spore is responsive to low concentrations of chemical germinants, which induce germination. The process of bacterial spore germination involves membrane permeability changes, ion fluxes and the activation of enzymes that degrade the outer layers of the spore. A number of components in the spore that are required for the germination response have been identified, including a spore-specific family of receptor proteins (the GerA family), an ion transporter and cortex lytic enzymes. The germinant traverses the outer layers of the spore and interacts with its receptor in the inner membrane to initiate the cascade of germination events, but the molecular details of this signal transduction process remain to be identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cations, Monovalent / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Cell Wall / enzymology
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Ion Transport
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Spores, Bacterial / cytology
  • Spores, Bacterial / genetics
  • Spores, Bacterial / growth & development*
  • Spores, Bacterial / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cations, Monovalent
  • GerAB protein, Bacillus subtilis
  • Membrane Proteins