Compartmentalized gene expression during sporulation is initiated after asymmetric division by cell-specific activation of the transcription factors sigmaF and sigmaE. Synthesis of these sigma factors, and their regulatory proteins, requires the activation (phosphorylation) of Spo0A by the phosphorelay signalling system. We report here a novel regulatory function of the anti-anti-sigmaF SpoIIAA as inhibitor of Spo0A activation. This effect did not require sigmaF activity, and it was abolished by expression of the phosphorelay-independent form Spo0A-Sad67 indicating that SpoIIAA directly interfered with Spo0A approximately P generation. IPTG-directed synthesis of the SpoIIE phosphatase in a strain carrying a multicopy plasmid coding for SpoIIAA and its specific inhibitory kinase SpoIIAB blocked Spo0A activation suggesting that the active form of the inhibitor was SpoIIAA and not SpoIIAA-P.