Activation of DNA repair proteins is often accompanied by an arrest in cell division. Several proteins have been identified that regulate the division blockage associated with the SOS response. When Bacillus subtilis cells become genetically competent they also activate DNA repair proteins and stop dividing. In this issue of Molecular Microbiology, Briley , 2011 describe a new protein involved in this process. This protein, Maf, does not prevent FtsZ polymerization, but it inhibits synthesis of the division septum. What is fascinating about Maf is that it is conserved and can be found in all kingdoms of life.