Immunocytochemical localization of a calmodulinlike protein in Bacillus subtilis cells
Journal of Bacteriology
To determine possible functions of the calmodulinlike protein of Bacillus subtilis, the time course of its expression during sporulation and its cellular localization were studied. The protein was expressed in a constitutive manner from the end of logarithmic growth through 8 h of sporulation as determined by antibody cross-reactivity immunoblots and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). In partially purified extracts, the immunopositive protein comigrated upon electrophoresis with a protein which selectively bound [45Ca] CaCl2, ruthenium red, and Stains-all. Previous studies showed increased extractability of the calmodulinlike protein from B. subtilis cells when urea and 2-mercaptoethanol were used in breakage buffers, implying that the protein might be partially associated with the membrane fraction. This was confirmed by demonstrating that isolated membrane vesicles of B. subtilis also gave positive immunological tests with Western blotting and ELISAs. To more precisely locate the protein in cells, thin sections of late-log-phase cells, sporulating cells, and free spores were reacted first with bovine brain anticalmodulin specific antibodies and then with gold-conjugated secondary antibodies; the thin sections were examined by transmission electron microscopy. The calmodulinlike protein was found almost exclusively associated with the cell envelope of these fixed, sectioned cells. A possible function of the calmodulinlike protein in sensing calcium ions or regulating calcium ion transport is suggested.