Post-transcriptional control of a sporulation regulatory gene encoding transcription factor sigma H in Bacillus subtilis

Mol Microbiol. 1991 Feb;5(2):477-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1991.tb02131.x.


The transcriptional regulatory gene spoOH encodes an RNA polymerase sigma factor called sigma H that directs gene expression at an early stage of sporulation in the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. We now report that conditions that induce sporulation cause a rapid increase in the cellular concentration of sigma H. This increase could account for the stimulated transcription of certain sigma H-controlled genes at the onset of sporulation. Experiments in which the expression of spoOH was monitored by use of a spoOH-lacZ fusion and in which expression of spoOH was artificially manipulated by use of an isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalacto-side-inducible promoter indicate that sporulation-induced increases in the amount of sigma H are not controlled at the level of the transcription of its structural gene. Rather, we infer the existence of post-transcriptional control mechanisms that govern sigma H levels, and we present evidence suggesting that increases in the amount of sigma H at the start of sporulation are due to increased translation or stability of the spoOH mRNA and, to a lesser extent, decreased turnover of spoOH protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacillus subtilis / drug effects
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Bacillus subtilis / growth & development
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Immunologic Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Sigma Factor / isolation & purification
  • Sigma Factor / metabolism*
  • Spores, Bacterial / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Sigma Factor
  • angustmycin A
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Adenosine