It has been hypothesized that the dinR gene product of Bacillus subtilis acts as a repressor of the SOS regulon by binding to DNA sequences located upstream of SOS genes, including dinR and recA. Following activation as a result of DNA damage, RecA is believed to catalyse DinR-autocleavage, thus derepressing the SOS regulon. The present results support this hypothesis: a dinR insertion mutation caused a high, constitutive expression of both dinR and recA, which could not be further elevated by SOS-induction. In addition, gel-retardation assays demonstrated a direct interaction between the dinR gene product and the recA and dinR promoter regions. Epistatic interactions and gel-retardation assays demonstrated that the previously reported competence-specific expression of recA directly depended upon the gene product of comK, the competence transcription factor. These data demonstrate the existence of a direct regulatory link between the competence signal-transduction pathway and the SOS reguion.