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J Bacteriol. 2012 Mar;194(5):1065-74. doi: 10.1128/JB.06490-11. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

Integration of σB activity into the decision-making process of sporulation initiation in Bacillus subtilis.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität, Greifswald, Germany.


Spo0A∼P is the master regulator of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis. Activity of Spo0A is regulated by a phosphorelay integrating multiple positive and negative signals by the action of kinases and phosphatases. The phosphatase Spo0E specifically inactivates the response regulator Spo0A∼P by dephosphorylation. We identified a σ(B)-type promoter adjacent to spo0E that is activated by the general stress response sigma factor σ(B) and is responsible for spo0E induction in vivo. Ectopic expression of σ(B) and subsequent induction of spo0E cause a σ(B)-dependent block of sporulation-specific transcription of the spo0A and spoIIE genes and produces a sporulation-deficient phenotype. This effect could be erased by a deletion of the σ(B) promoter of spo0E and thus solely addresses σ(B) activity. Here, a molecular mechanism is shown that integrates σ(B) activity into the decision-making process of sporulation and provides a link to interconnect these two dominant and probably mutually exclusive adaptive responses in the regulatory network of B. subtilis.

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