Temporal Formation and Immunolocalization of an Endospore Surface Epitope During Pasteuria penetrans Sporogenesis


  • J. A. Brito
  • J. F. Preston
  • D. W. Dickson
  • R. M. Giblin-Davis
  • D. S. Williams
  • H. C. Aldrich
  • J. D. Rice


biological control, elisa, immunoblot, immunofluorescence, immunogold labeling, meloidogyne arenaria, monoclonal antibody, nematode, pasteuria penetrans, root-knot nematode, sds-page


The synthesis and localization of an endospore surface epitope associated with the development of Pasteuria penetrans was determined using a monoclonal antibody (MAb) as a probe. Nematodes, uninfected or infected with P. penetrans, were harvested at 12, 16, 24, and 38 days after inoculation (DAI) and then examined to determine the developmental stage of the bacterium. Vegetative growth of P. penetrans was observed only in infected nematodes harvested at 12 and 16 DAI, whereas cells at different stages of sporulation and mature endospores were observed at 24 and 38 DAI. ELISA and immunoblot analysis revealed that the adhesin-associated epitope was first detected at 24 DAI, and increased in the later stages of sporogenesis. These results indicate that the synthesis of adhesin-related proteins occurred at a certain developmental stage relative to the sporulation process, and was associated with endospore maturation. Immunofluorescence microscopy indicated that the distribution of the epitope is nearly uniform on the periphery of each spore, as defined by parasporal fibers. Immunocytochemistry at the ultrastructural level indicated a distribution of the epitope over the parasporal fibers. The epitope also was detected over other structures such as sporangium and exosporium during the sporogenesis process, but it was not observed over the cortex, inner-spore coat, outer-spore coat, or protoplasm. The appearance of the adhesin epitope first at stage III of sporogenesis and its presence on the parasporal fibers are consistent with an adhesin-related role in the attachment of the mature endospore to the cuticle of the nematode host.