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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Dec;50(5):1683-701.

The Spo0A regulon of Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The master regulator for entry into sporulation in Bacillus subtilis is the DNA-binding protein Spo0A, which has been found to influence, directly or indirectly, the expression of over 500 genes during the early stages of development. To search on a genome-wide basis for genes under the direct control of Spo0A, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation in combination with gene microarray analysis to identify regions of the chromosome at which an activated form of Spo0A binds in vivo. This information in combination with transcriptional profiling using gene microarrays, gel electrophoretic mobility shift assays, using the DNA-binding domain of Spo0A, and bioinformatics enabled us to assign 103 genes to the Spo0A regulon in addition to 18 previously known members. Thus, in total, 121 genes, which are organized as 30 single-gene units and 24 operons, are likely to be under the direct control of Spo0A. Forty of these genes are under the positive control of Spo0A, and 81 are under its negative control. Among newly identified members of the regulon with transcription that was stimulated by Spo0A are genes for metabolic enzymes and genes for efflux pumps. Among members with transcription that was in-hibited by Spo0A are genes encoding components of the DNA replication machinery and genes that govern flagellum biosynthesis and chemotaxis. Also in-cluded in the regulon are many (25) genes with products that are direct or indirect regulators of gene transcription. Spo0A is a master regulator for sporulation, but many of its effects on the global pattern of gene transcription are likely to be mediated indirectly by regulatory genes under its control.

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