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Gene Review

spoT  -  bifunctional (p)ppGpp synthetase II/...

Escherichia coli str. K-12 substr. MG1655

Synonyms: ECK3640, JW3625
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Disease relevance of spoT

  • The spoU gene of Escherichia coli, the fourth gene of the spoT operon, is essential for tRNA (Gm18) 2'-O-methyltransferase activity [1].
  • Expression of spoT in Borrelia burgdorferi during serum starvation [2].
  • A 2.2kb relA/spoT homologue was isolated from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) genomic DNA by PCR-amplification [3].
  • The relA and spoT genes were cloned from Neisseria gonorrhoeae strain MS11 and various insertional and deletion mutants were constructed [4].

High impact information on spoT

  • Sequencing of several genes controlling the effectors of these regulons found a nonsynonymous mutation in spoT in one population [5].
  • We have recently discovered homologues of bacterial relA/spoT genes in the model plant Nicotiana tabacum [6].
  • Residual guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate synthetic activity of relA null mutants can be eliminated by spoT null mutations [7].
  • Here, the effects of spoT gene insertions and deletions are compared with analogous alterations in neighboring genes in the spo operon and found to be lethal in relA+ strains as well as slower growing in relAl backgrounds than delta relA hosts [7].
  • Cells with null alleles in both the relA and spoT genes are found no longer to accumulate ppGpp after glucose exhaustion or after chelation of manganese ions by picolinic acid addition; the inability to form ppGpp is reversed by a minimal spoT gene on a multicopy plasmid [7].

Chemical compound and disease context of spoT


Biological context of spoT


Other interactions of spoT

  • The delta relA delta spoT mutant maintained high expression of several ribosomal proteins during starvation and appeared to exhibit significantly decreased translational fidelity, as demonstrated by an unusual heterogeneity in the isoelectric point of several proteins and the failure to express higher molecular weight proteins during starvation [8].
  • The rpoZ gene for the omega subunit of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase constitutes single operon with the spoT gene, which is responsible for the maintenance of stringent response under nutrient starvation conditions [15].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of spoT

  • A 2.9-kb fragment containing a putative spoT gene was isolated from B. burgdorferi genomic DNA by PCR amplification and cloned into a pBAD24 vector [2].
  • Northern blot analysis suggests that spoT transcript was approximately 900 nucleotides in length [2].
  • Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) was used to detect spoT mRNA from approximately 10(6) cells starved for serum in RPMI for 2.5 to 30 min or incubated in tick saliva for 15 min [2].


  1. The spoU gene of Escherichia coli, the fourth gene of the spoT operon, is essential for tRNA (Gm18) 2'-O-methyltransferase activity. Persson, B.C., Jäger, G., Gustafsson, C. Nucleic Acids Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
  2. Expression of spoT in Borrelia burgdorferi during serum starvation. Concepcion, M.B., Nelson, D.R. J. Bacteriol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  3. Cloning and characterization of a bifunctional RelA/SpoT homologue from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Avarbock, D., Salem, J., Li, L.S., Wang, Z.M., Rubin, H. Gene (1999) [Pubmed]
  4. RelA alone appears essential for (p)ppGpp production when Neisseria gonorrhoeae encounters nutritional stress. Fisher, S.D., Reger, A.D., Baum, A., Hill, S.A. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. (2005) [Pubmed]
  5. Parallel changes in gene expression after 20,000 generations of evolution in Escherichiacoli. Cooper, T.F., Rozen, D.E., Lenski, R.E. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
  6. Inducible expression, enzymatic activity, and origin of higher plant homologues of bacterial RelA/SpoT stress proteins in Nicotiana tabacum. Givens, R.M., Lin, M.H., Taylor, D.J., Mechold, U., Berry, J.O., Hernandez, V.J. J. Biol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
  7. Residual guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate synthetic activity of relA null mutants can be eliminated by spoT null mutations. Xiao, H., Kalman, M., Ikehara, K., Zemel, S., Glaser, G., Cashel, M. J. Biol. Chem. (1991) [Pubmed]
  8. Role of guanosine tetraphosphate in gene expression and the survival of glucose or seryl-tRNA starved cells of Escherichia coli K12. Nystöm, T. Mol. Gen. Genet. (1994) [Pubmed]
  9. Characterization of the spoT gene of Escherichia coli. Sarubbi, E., Rudd, K.E., Xiao, H., Ikehara, K., Kalman, M., Cashel, M. J. Biol. Chem. (1989) [Pubmed]
  10. Cloning and characterization of a relA/spoT homologue from Bacillus subtilis. Wendrich, T.M., Marahiel, M.A. Mol. Microbiol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  11. The relation between ppGpp and the PHO regulon in Escherichia coli. Spira, B., Yagil, E. Mol. Gen. Genet. (1998) [Pubmed]
  12. Borrelia burgdorferi rel is responsible for generation of guanosine-3'-diphosphate-5'-triphosphate and growth control. Bugrysheva, J.V., Bryksin, A.V., Godfrey, H.P., Cabello, F.C. Infect. Immun. (2005) [Pubmed]
  13. Characterization of the Escherichia coli K12 gltS glutamate permease gene. Kalman, M., Gentry, D.R., Cashel, M. Mol. Gen. Genet. (1991) [Pubmed]
  14. Isolation of a carbon starvation regulatory mutant in a marine Vibrio strain. Ostling, J., Flärdh, K., Kjelleberg, S. J. Bacteriol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  15. The role of the omega subunit of RNA polymerase in expression of the relA gene in Escherichia coli. Chatterji, D., Ogawa, Y., Shimada, T., Ishihama, A. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. (2007) [Pubmed]
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