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Spore dormancy and awakening

Dormant bacterial spores can survive long periods of time and withstand extreme environmental conditions, but possess the remarkable ability to rapidly convert into actively growing cells.


Our lab studies the periods of bacterial spore dormancy and awakening. We discovered that bacterial spores undergo significant modifications in their molecular content during dormancy, and  demonstrated that these modifications impact the spore capabilities to revive.


Our lab defined the molecular events occurring during spore revival, and found that translation takes place during the earliest revival event, termed germination, a process hitherto considered to occur without the need for any macromolecule synthesis, thus revising the old dogma of spore germination. Recently, we showed that not only translation but transcription is occurring during spore germination.


We take advantage of these discoveries to uncover the entire signal transduction pathway and the participating components required for spore awakening.

Selected Publications:

  • Ben-Yehuda and Losick, Cell 2001

  • Ben-Yehuda, Rudner and Losick, Science 2003

  • Ben-Yehuda et al., Mol Cell, 2005

  • Bejerano-Sagie et al., Cell 2006

  • Oppenheimer-Shaanan et al., EMBO Reports 2011

  • Segev, Smith and Ben-Yehuda, Cell 2012

  • Sinai et al., Mol Cell 2015

  • Rosenberg et al., BMC Biology 2015

  • Zhou et al., PNAS 2019

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