Adaptive (stationary-phase) mutagenesis occurs in the gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Furthermore, taking advantage of B. subtilis as a paradigm for the study of prokaryotic differentiation and development, we have shown that this type of mutagenesis is subject to regulation involving at least two of the genes that are involved in the regulation of post-exponential phase prokaryotic differentiation, i.e., comA and comK. On the other hand, a functional RecA protein was not required for this type of mutagenesis. The results seem to suggest that a small subpopulation(s) of the culture is involved in adaptive mutagenesis and that this subpopulation(s) is hypermutable. The existence of such a hypermutable subpopulation(s) raises important considerations with respect to evolution, the development of specific mutations, the nature of bacterial populations, and the level of communication among bacteria in an ecological niche.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology