SUMMARY: The gene of encodes an inhibitor of ß, a transcription factor that plays a crucial role in the establishment of prespore-specific gene expression during sporulation. The SpoIIAB protein can probably also inhibit a closely related sigma factor σ, which determines the later phase of prespore-specific transcription. We have isolated two new missense mutations in the gene. behaves like the previously described mutation, in that it mainly affects the activity of σ. In contrast, the mutation seems to be impaired mainly in its ability to inhibit σ. All three missense mutations are clustered in the N-terminal coding region of suggesting that this region of the protein interacts with the sigma factors. The extreme N-terminal part of SpoIIAB may be specifically concerned with the regulation of σ activity.


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