The Decrease of Guanine Nucleotides Initiates Sporulation of Bacillus Subtilis

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1979 Oct 4;587(2):238-52. doi: 10.1016/0304-4165(79)90357-x.


Massive sporulation of Bacillus subtilis normally begins when carbon, nitrogen or phosphorus sources able to support rapid growth are no longer available. Sporulation can also be induced in exponentially growing cultures, in the presence of rapidly utilizable ammonia, glucose and phosphate if growth is partially but not completely inhibited either by inhibitors of nucleotide synthesis (hadacidin, decoyinine or 6-azauracil) or by purine deprivation in purine and especially in guanine auxotrophs. All these conditions allowing sporulation result in a decrease in the intracellular concentration of guanosine di- and tri-phosphates and usually uridine di- and triphosphates while other nucleotides decrease in some but increase in other cases. A decrease of uracil nucleotides alone, in a uracil auxotroph, does not produce massive sporulation. Our results demonstrate that the partial reduction of a guanine nucleotide, probably relative to some other compound, suffices to initiate sporulation. This reduction may always play a decisive role in the initiation of sporulation, as we have observed it under all conditions so far known to produce massive sporulation.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Guanine Nucleotides / metabolism*
  • Guanosine / metabolism
  • Hypoxanthines / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Species Specificity
  • Spores, Bacterial / physiology


  • Guanine Nucleotides
  • Hypoxanthines
  • Nitrates
  • Guanosine
  • Glucose