Exposure to high pressure induces germination in spores of Bacillus subtilis. To investigate the mechanisms of this process and to compare the pressure and nutrient induced germination pathways, a random transposon knock-out library of B. subtilis was constructed and screened for clones with a compromised pressure induced germination at 100 MPa. Two mutants were isolated and their transposon insertion was mapped to gerAC and ykv U respectively. While GerAC is required for production of the L-alanine receptor which has been implicated in pressure-induced germination before, YkvU is shown here to be a novel germination determinant in B. subtilis, affecting germination by high (100 MPa) and very high (600 MPa) pressure, by nutrients and by dodecylamine, but not by Ca2+-dipicolinic acid. (C) 2004 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.