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J Bacteriol. 2013 Apr;195(7):1475-83. doi: 10.1128/JB.02160-12. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Novel modulators controlling entry into sporulation in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC), The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.


Upon nutrient deprivation, Bacillus subtilis initiates the developmental process of sporulation by integrating environmental and extracellular signals. These signals are channeled into a phosphorelay ultimately activating the key transcriptional regulator of sporulation, Spo0A. Subsequently, phosphorylated Spo0A regulates the expression of genes required for sporulation to initiate. Here we identified a group of genes whose transcription levels are controlled by Spo0A during exponential growth. Among them, three upregulated genes, termed sivA, sivB (bslA), and sivC, encode factors found to inhibit Spo0A activation. We furthermore show that the Siv factors operate by reducing the activity of histidine kinases located at the top of the sporulation phosphorelay, thereby decreasing Spo0A phosphorylation. Thus, we demonstrate the existence of modulators, positively controlled by Spo0A, which inhibit inappropriate entry into the costly process of sporulation, when conditions are favorable for exponential growth.

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