The (Bt) gene is regulated by a different mechanism from that of most of the other genes. Its expression begins during late-exponential growth and not during sporulation as for the other classes of genes. Moreover, in expression is independent of the major sporulation-specific sigma factors and is increased in a genetic background. We used fusions and primer-extension analysis to follow the time-course of transcription in Bt wild-type and in various Spo genetic backgrounds ( and ) was activated from the end of vegetative growth to stage II of sporulation ( ) in the wild-type strain. Thereafter, transcription from the same promoter continued, at a decreasing rate, until the end of stage III. In the mutant strain, the same promoter was activated for at least 15 h during the stationary phase. activation in the genetic background was similar to that in the wild-type but was extended in a mutant strain. Thus expression in Bt is not directly dependent on the major sporulation-specific sigma factors. Furthermore, an event linked with the s-dependent period of sporulation ends activation, although transcription of this gene does not switch off before the end of stage III.


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