SUMMARY: In the genetically unstable, protease-overproducing ‘medusa’ (M) strains of , segregation of stable, wild-type-like B cells occurred mainly during sporulation. After the end of the exponential growth phase, a small fraction of M cells sporulated quickly and formed M spores, while the majority of the cells, after a ‘critical period’, gave rise to B segregants which sporulated after a delay. Segregation occurred without cell division. Delayed sporulation, segregation and protease overproduction are related. Similar but more complex results were obtained with the highly unstable TD strains. Sporulation and the kinetics of protease overproduction were also followed in several stable segregants. Depending on the strain, either the rate of protease production or both the rate and time course were affected. The results are interpreted in terms of sequential activation and de-activation of sporulation genes. The production of the alkaline and the neutral proteases was, in general, under common genetic control. In some strains α-amylase was also overproduced.


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