The spoOA gene of Bacillus subtilis is critical for the initial stages in the developmental cycle leading to the formation of an endospore. We show that one function of the SpoOA protein is to negatively regulate another regulatory locus, abrB, which controls the expression of many genes associated with the onset of sporulation. Purified SpoOA protein binds to a specific region of the abrB promoter and functions as a repressor of transcription in an in vitro assay. The binding of the SpoOA protein is independent of the binding of the AbrB protein, which is known to autoregulate its expression. This independence mirrors the temporal sequence of events in abrB control.