Bacillus subtilis sporulation is a last-resort phenotypical adaptation in response to starvation. The regulatory network underlying this developmental pathway has been studied extensively. However, how sporulation initiation is concerted in relation to the environmental nutrient availability is poorly understood. In a fed-batch fermentation set-up, in which sporulation of ultraviolet (UV)-mutagenized B. subtilis is repeatedly triggered by periods of starvation, fitter strains with mutated tagE evolved. These mutants display altered timing of phenotypical differentiation. The substrate for the wall teichoic acid (WTA)-modifying enzyme TagE, UDP-glucose, has recently been shown to be an intracellular proxy for nutrient availability, and influences the timing of cell division. Here we suggest that UDP-glucose also influences timing of cellular differentiation.
- Bacillus subtilis