Comparative analysis of the 16S to 23S ribosomal intergenic spacer sequences of Bacillus thuringiensis strains and subspecies and of closely related species.
ABSTRACT: Bacillus thuringiensis spacer regions between the 16S and 23S rRNAs were amplified with conserved primers, designated 19-mer and 23-mer primers. A spacer region of 144 bp was determined for all of 6 B. thuringiensis strains, 7 B. thuringiensis subspecies, and 11 B. thuringiensis field isolates, as well as for the closely related species Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis. Computer analysis and alignment of nucleotide sequences identified three mutations and one deletion in the intergenic spacer region (ISR) of B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD-1 when compared with ISR sequences from other subspecies. The same differences were identified between the ISR of B. thuringiensis strains and the ISR of B. cereus and B. anthracis. These minor differences do not seem to be sufficient to allow the design of a species-specific oligonucleotide probe.
Project description:Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) was evaluated as a method for identifying Bacillus anthracis by analyzing two chromosomal targets, the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region (ISR) and the gyrA gene. The 16S-23S ISR was analyzed by this method with 42 strains of B. anthracis, 36 strains of Bacillus cereus, and 12 strains of Bacillus thuringiensis; the gyrA gene was analyzed by this method with 33 strains of B. anthracis, 27 strains of B. cereus, and 9 strains of B. thuringiensis. Two blind panels of 45 samples each were analyzed to evaluate the potential diagnostic capability of this method. Our results show that DHPLC is an efficient method for the identification of B. anthracis.
Project description:Representative strains of the Bacillus cereus group of bacteria, including Bacillus anthracis (11 isolates), B. cereus (38 isolates), Bacillus mycoides (1 isolate), Bacillus thuringiensis (53 isolates from 17 serovars), and Bacillus weihenstephanensis (2 isolates) were assigned to 59 sequence types (STs) derived from the nucleotide sequences of seven alleles, glpF, gmk, ilvD, pta, pur, pycA, and tpi. Comparisons of the maximum likelihood (ML) tree of the concatenated sequences with individual gene trees showed more congruence than expected by chance, indicating a generally clonal structure to the population. The STs followed two major lines of descent. Clade 1 comprised B. anthracis strains, numerous B. cereus strains, and rare B. thuringiensis strains, while clade 2 included the majority of the B. thuringiensis strains together with some B. cereus strains. Other species were allocated to a third, heterogeneous clade. The ML trees and split decomposition analysis were used to assign STs to eight lineages within clades 1 and 2. These lineages were defined by bootstrap analysis and by a preponderance of fixed differences over shared polymorphisms among the STs. Lineages were named with reference to existing designations: Anthracis, Cereus I, Cereus II, Cereus III, Kurstaki, Sotto, Thuringiensis, and Tolworthi. Strains from some B. thuringiensis serovars were wholly or largely assigned to a single ST, for example, serovar aizawai isolates were assigned to ST-15, serovar kenyae isolates were assigned to ST-13, and serovar tolworthi isolates were assigned to ST-23, while other serovars, such as serovar canadensis, were genetically heterogeneous. We suggest a revision of the nomenclature in which the lineage and clone are recognized through name and ST designations in accordance with the clonal structure of the population.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki is applied extensively in North America to control the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. Since B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki shares many physical and biological properties with Bacillus anthracis, it is a reasonable surrogate for biodefense studies. A key question in biodefense is how long a biothreat agent will persist in the environment. There is some information in the literature on the persistence of Bacillus anthracis in laboratories and historical testing areas and for Bacillus thuringiensis in agricultural settings, but there is no information on the persistence of Bacillus spp. in the type of environment that would be encountered in a city or on a military installation. Since it is not feasible to release B. anthracis in a developed area, the controlled release of B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki for pest control was used to gain insight into the potential persistence of Bacillus spp. in outdoor urban environments. Persistence was evaluated in two locations: Fairfax County, VA, and Seattle, WA. Environmental samples were collected from multiple matrices and evaluated for the presence of viable B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki at times ranging from less than 1 day to 4 years after spraying. Real-time PCR and culture were used for analysis. B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki was found to persist in urban environments for at least 4 years. It was most frequently detected in soils and less frequently detected in wipes, grass, foliage, and water. The collective results indicate that certain species of Bacillus may persist for years following their dispersal in urban environments.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis is an important entomopathogenic bacterium belongs to the Bacillus cereus group, which also includes B. anthracis and B. cereus. Several genomes of phages originating from this group had been sequenced, but no genome of Siphoviridae phage from B. thuringiensis has been reported. We recently sequenced and analyzed the genome of a novel phage, BtCS33, from a B. thuringiensis strain, subsp. kurstaki CS33, and compared the gneome of this phage to other phages of the B. cereus group. BtCS33 was the first Siphoviridae phage among the sequenced B. thuringiensis phages. It produced small, turbid plaques on bacterial plates and had a narrow host range. BtCS33 possessed a linear, double-stranded DNA genome of 41,992 bp with 57 putative open reading frames (ORFs). It had a typical genome structure consisting of three modules: the "late" region, the "lysogeny-lysis" region and the "early" region. BtCS33 exhibited high similarity with several phages, B. cereus phage W? and some variants of W?, in genome organization and the amino acid sequences of structural proteins. There were two ORFs, ORF22 and ORF35, in the genome of BtCS33 that were also found in the genomes of B. cereus phage W? and may be involved in regulating sporulation of the host cell. Based on these observations and analysis of phylogenetic trees, we deduced that B. thuringiensis phage BtCS33 and B. cereus phage W? may have a common distant ancestor.
Project description:Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis are closely related gram-positive, spore-forming bacteria of the B. cereus sensu lato group. While independently derived strains of B. anthracis reveal conspicuous sequence homogeneity, environmental isolates of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis exhibit extensive genetic diversity. Here we report the sequencing and comparative analysis of the genomes of two members of the B. cereus group, B. thuringiensis 97-27 subsp. konkukian serotype H34, isolated from a necrotic human wound, and B. cereus E33L, which was isolated from a swab of a zebra carcass in Namibia. These two strains, when analyzed by amplified fragment length polymorphism within a collection of over 300 of B. cereus, B. thuringiensis, and B. anthracis isolates, appear closely related to B. anthracis. The B. cereus E33L isolate appears to be the nearest relative to B. anthracis identified thus far. Whole-genome sequencing of B. thuringiensis 97-27and B. cereus E33L was undertaken to identify shared and unique genes among these isolates in comparison to the genomes of pathogenic strains B. anthracis Ames and B. cereus G9241 and nonpathogenic strains B. cereus ATCC 10987 and B. cereus ATCC 14579. Comparison of these genomes revealed differences in terms of virulence, metabolic competence, structural components, and regulatory mechanisms.
Project description:As 16S rRNA sequence analysis has proven inadequate for the differentiation of Bacillus cereus from closely related species, we employed the gyrase B gene (gyrB) as a molecular diagnostic marker. The gyrB genes of B. cereus JCM 2152(T), Bacillus thuringiensis IAM 12077(T), Bacillus mycoides ATCC 6462(T), and Bacillus anthracis Pasteur #2H were cloned and sequenced. Oligonucleotide PCR primer sets were designed from within gyrB sequences of the respective bacteria for the specific amplification and differentiation of B. cereus, B. thuringiensis, and B. anthracis. The results from the amplification of gyrB sequences correlated well with results obtained with the 16S rDNA-based hybridization study but not with the results of their phenotypic characterization. Some of the reference strains of both B. cereus (three serovars) and B. thuringiensis (two serovars) were not positive in PCR amplification assays with gyrB primers. However, complete sequencing of 1.2-kb gyrB fragments of these reference strains showed that these serovars had, in fact, lower homology than their originally designated species. We developed and tested a procedure for the specific detection of the target organism in boiled rice that entailed 15 h of preenrichment followed by PCR amplification of the B. cereus-specific fragment. This method enabled us to detect an initial inoculum of 0.24 CFU of B. cereus cells per g of boiled rice food homogenate without extracting DNA. However, a simple two-step filtration step is required to remove PCR inhibitory substances.
Project description:Aiming to develop a DNA marker specific for Bacillus anthracis and able to discriminate this species from Bacillus cereus, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Bacillus mycoides, we applied the randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting technique to a collection of 101 strains of the genus Bacillus, including 61 strains of the B. cereus group. An 838-bp RAPD marker (SG-850) specific for B. cereus, B. thuringiensis, B. anthracis, and B. mycoides was identified. This fragment included a putative (366-nucleotide) open reading frame highly homologous to the ypuA gene of Bacillus subtilis. The restriction analysis of the SG-850 fragment with AluI distinguished B. anthracis from the other species of the B. cereus group.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus cereus are closely related members of the B. cereus-group of bacilli. Suppressive subtractive hybridization (SSH) was used to identify specific chromosomal sequences unique to B. anthracis. RESULTS: Two SSH libraries were generated. Genomic DNA from plasmid-cured B. anthracis was used as the tester DNA in both libraries, while genomic DNA from either B. cereus or B. thuringiensis served as the driver DNA. Progressive screening of the libraries by colony filter and Southern blot analyses identified 29 different clones that were specific for the B. anthracis chromosome relative not only to the respective driver DNAs, but also to seven other different strains of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis included in the process. The nucleotide sequences of the clones were compared with those found in genomic databases, revealing that over half of the clones were located into 2 regions on the B. anthracis chromosome. CONCLUSIONS: Genes encoding potential cell wall synthesis proteins dominated one region, while bacteriophage-related sequences dominated the other region. The latter supports the hypothesis that acquisition of these bacteriophage sequences occurred during or after speciation of B. anthracis relative to B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. This study provides insight into the chromosomal differences between B. anthracis and its closest phylogenetic relatives.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus anthracis are closely related species belonging to the Bacillus cereus group. B. thuringiensis and B. cereus generally produce extracellular proteins, including phospholipases and hemolysins. Transcription of the genes encoding these factors is controlled by the pleiotropic regulator PlcR. Disruption of plcR in B. cereus and B. thuringiensis drastically reduces the hemolytic, lecithinase, and cytotoxic properties of these organisms. B. anthracis does not produce these proteins due to a nonsense mutation in the plcR gene. We screened 400 B. thuringiensis and B. cereus strains for their hemolytic and lecithinase properties. Eight Hly- Lec- strains were selected and analyzed to determine whether this unusual phenotype was due to a mutation similar to that found in B. anthracis. Sequence analysis of the DNA region including the plcR and papR genes of these strains and genetic complementation of the strains with functional copies of plcR and papR indicated that different types of mutations were responsible for these phenotypes. We also found that the plcR genes of three B. anthracis strains belonging to different phylogenetic groups contained the same nonsense mutation, suggesting that this mutation is a distinctive trait of this species.
Project description:We report here the genome sequences of two bacteriophages of the Bacillus cereus group, DirtyBetty and Kida. These bacteriophages are double-stranded DNA-containing Myoviridae isolated from soil samples using Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki as their host bacteria.