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J Bacteriol. Sep 1994; 176(17): 5320–5329.
PMCID: PMC196717

spo0J is required for normal chromosome segregation as well as the initiation of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis.

Abstract

The spo0J gene of Bacillus subtilis is required for the initiation of sporulation. We show that the sporulation defect caused by null mutations in spo0J is suppressed by a null mutation in the gene located directly upstream from spo0J, soj (suppressor of spo0J). These results indicate that Soj inhibits the initiation of sporulation and that Spo0J antagonizes that inhibition. Further genetic experiments indicated that Soj ultimately affects sporulation by inhibiting the activation (phosphorylation) of the developmental transcription factor encoded by spo0A. In addition, the temperature-sensitive sporulation phenotype caused by the ftsA279 (spoIIN279) mutation was partly suppressed by the soj null mutation, indicating that FtsA might also affect the activity of Soj. Soj and Spo0J are known to be similar in sequence to a family of proteins involved in plasmid partitioning, including ParA and ParB of prophage P1, SopA and SopB of F, and IncC and KorB of RK2, spo0J was found to be required for normal chromosome partitioning as well as for sporulation. spo0J null mutants produced a significant proportion of anucleate cells during vegetative growth. The dual functions of Spo0J could provide a mechanism for regulating the initiation of sporulation in response to activity of the chromosome partition machinery.

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