SUMMARY: A selection of adenosine analogues was tested for their ability to trigger germination of Bacillus cereus NCIB 8122 spores. The germination-inducing activity was governed by the structural properties of the sugar rather than the base moieties of the nucleosides. Among the sugar-modified analogues, only those containing a 2'-deoxy-D-ribose moiety promoted spore germination. Requirements for a specific molecular structure of the base were not clearly identified, although the highest activity was observed when substituents were inserted at position 6 of the purine ring. All the base-modified analogues, even those such as coformycin and 2'-deoxycoformycin with an expanded base ring, retained the germination-inducing activity of adenosine. However, of the two 2'-deoxycoformycin diastereoisomers characterized by an asymmetric carbon atom at position 8 of the homopurine ring, only the 8 S-isomer induced germination, thus indicating that stereospecific configuration of the inducer, at least in the case of 2'-deoxycoformycin, appears to be essential for the initiation of spore germination. The differences in the germination-inducing activity of the various analogues tested were not affected significantly by spore activation at different temperatures, although the higher the activation temperature, the lower was the concentration of each analogue required for maximum germination.