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J Bacteriol. 2013 Apr;195(8):1656-65. doi: 10.1128/JB.02131-12. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Expression of kinA and kinB of Bacillus subtilis, necessary for sporulation initiation, is under positive stringent transcription control.

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Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Science and Biotechnology, Fukuyama University, Fukuyama, Japan.


Bacillus subtilis cells were exposed to decoyinine to trigger stringent transcription control through inhibition of GMP synthase; amino acid starvation results in the same control through inhibition of GMP kinase by 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate guanosine. The positive and negative transcription control of the stringent genes involves adenine and guanine at the transcription initiation sites, whereby they sense an increase and a decrease in the in vivo ATP and GTP pools, respectively. Decoyinine also induces sporulation in minimum medium. DNA microarray analysis revealed that decoyinine induced two major sensor kinase genes, kinA and kinB, involved in the phosphorelay leading to spore formation. lacZ fusion experiments involving the core promoter regions of kinA and kinB, whose transcription initiation bases are adenines, indicated that decoyinine induced their expression. This induction was independent of CodY and AbrB. When the adenines were replaced with guanines or cytosines, the induction by decoyinine decreased. The in situ replacement of the adenines with guanines actually affected this decoyinine-induced sporulation as well as massive sporulation in nutrient medium. These results imply that operation of the positive stringent transcription control of kinA and kinB, which is mediated by an increase in the ATP pool, is likely a prerequisite for the phosphorelay to transfer the phosphoryl group to Spo0A to initiate sporulation.

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