Cells of Escherichia coli which enter a phase of starvation for Pi induce the synthesis of the nucleotide guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp). This induction is relA independent but depends on the spoT gene product. A mutant unable to produce ppGpp is impaired in the expression of two genes which belong to the pho regulon, a defect which is dependent on the product of spoT. We suggest that ppGpp is essential for the proper induction of the genes which belong to the pho regulon
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