The modification of metabolic pathways to allow for a dormant lifestyle appears to be an important feature for the survival of pathogenic bacteria within their host. One regulatory mechanism for persistent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections is the stringent response. In this study, we analyze the stringent response of a nonpathogenic, saprophytic mycobacterial species, Mycobacterium smegmatis. The use of M. smegmatis as a tool for studying the mycobacterial stringent response was demonstrated by measuring the expression of two M. tuberculosis genes, hspX and eis, in M. smegmatis in the presence and absence of relMsm. The stringent response plays a role in M. smegmatis cellular and colony formation that is suggestive of changes in the bacterial cell wall structure.