Early-blocked sporulation mutations alter expression of enzymes under carbon control in Bacillus subtilis

Sharon A. Boylan, Kristin T. Chun, Barton A. Edson, Chester W. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


The physiological roles of the gene subset defined by early-blocked sporulation mutations (spo0) and their second-site suppressor alleles (rvtA11 and crsA47) remain cryptic for both vegetative and sporulating Bacillus subtilis cells. To test the hypothesis that spo0 gene products affect global regulation, we assayed the levels of carbon- and nitrogen-sensitive enzymes in wild-type and spo0 strains grown in a defined minimal medium containing various carbon and nitrogen sources. All the spo0 mutations (except spo0J) affected both histidase and arabinose isomerase levels in an unexpected way: levels of both carbon-sensitive enzymes were two- to six-fold higher in spo0 strains compared to wild type, when cells were grown on the derepressing carbon sources arabinose or maltose. There was no difference in enzyme levels with glucose-grown cells, nor was there a significant difference in levels of the carbonindependent enzymes glutamine synthetase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. This effect was not due to a slower growth rate for the spo0 mutants on the poor carbon and nitrogen sources used. The levels of carbon-sensitive enzymes were not simply correlated with sporulation ability in genetically suppressed spo0 mutants, but the rvtA and crsA suppressors each had such marked effects on wild-type growth and enzyme levels that these results were difficult to interpret. We conclude that directly or indirectly the spo0 mutations, although blocking the sporulation process, increase levels of carbon-sensitive enzymes, possibly at the level of gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-280
Number of pages10
JournalMGG Molecular & General Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1988


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Global carbon control
  • Growth rates
  • Sporulation
  • spo0 mutations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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