Use of denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography to identify Bacillus anthracis by analysis of the 16S-23S rRNA interspacer region and gyrA gene.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:In order to determine if variations in rRNA sequence could be used for discrimination of the members of the Bacillus cereus group, we analyzed 183 16S rRNA and 74 23S rRNA sequences for all species in the B. cereus group. We also analyzed 30 gyrB sequences for B. cereus group strains with published 16S rRNA sequences. Our findings indicated that the three most common species of the B. cereus group, B. cereus, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Bacillus mycoides, were each heterogeneous in all three gene sequences, while all analyzed strains of Bacillus anthracis were found to be homogeneous. Based on analysis of 16S and 23S rRNA sequence variations, the microorganisms within the B. cereus group were divided into seven subgroups, Anthracis, Cereus A and B, Thuringiensis A and B, and Mycoides A and B, and these seven subgroups were further organized into two distinct clusters. This classification of the B. cereus group conflicts with current taxonomic groupings, which are based on phenotypic traits. The presence of B. cereus strains in six of the seven subgroups and the presence of B. thuringiensis strains in three of the subgroups do not support the proposed unification of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis into one species. Analysis of the available phenotypic data for the strains included in this study revealed phenotypic traits that may be characteristic of several of the subgroups. Finally, our results demonstrated that rRNA and gyrB sequences may be used for discriminating B. anthracis from other microorganisms in the B. cereus group.
Project description:Identification of chromosomal markers for rapid detection of Bacillus anthracis is difficult because significant chromosomal homology exists among B. anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis. We evaluated the bacterial gyrA gene as a potential chromosomal marker for B. anthracis. A real-time PCR assay was developed for the detection of B. anthracis. After analysis of the unique nucleotide sequence of the B. anthracis gyrA gene, a fluorescent 3' minor groove binding probe was tested with 171 organisms from 29 genera of bacteria, including 102 Bacillus strains. The assay was found to be specific for all 43 strains of B. anthracis tested. In addition, a test panel of 105 samples was analyzed to evaluate the potential diagnostic capability of the assay. The assay showed 100% specificity, demonstrating the usefulness of the gyrA gene as a specific chromosomal marker for B. anthracis.
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: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: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: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:Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences is a commonly used method for the identification and discrimination of microorganisms. However, the high similarity of 16S and 23S rRNA sequences of Bacillus cereus group organisms (up to 99-100%) and repeatedly failed attempts to develop molecular typing systems that would use DNA sequences to discriminate between species within this group have resulted in several suggestions to consider B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, or these two species together with B. anthracis, as one species. Recently, we divided the B. cereus group into seven subgroups, Anthracis, Cereus A and B, Thuringiensis A and B, and Mycoides A and B, based on 16S rRNA, 23S rRNA and gyrB gene sequences and identified subgroup-specific makers in each of these three genes. Here we for the first time demonstrated discrimination of these seven subgroups, including subgroup Anthracis, with a 3D gel element microarray of oligonucleotide probes targeting 16S and 23S rRNA markers. This is the first microarray enabled identification of B. anthracis and discrimination of these seven subgroups in pure cell cultures and in environmental samples using rRNA sequences. The microarray bearing perfect match/mismatch (p/mm) probe pairs was specific enough to discriminate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and was able to identify targeted organisms in 5min. We also demonstrated the ability of the microarray to determine subgroup affiliations for B. cereus group isolates without rRNA sequencing. Correlation of these seven subgroups with groupings based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST), fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis (AFLP) and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MME) analysis of a wide spectrum of different genes, and the demonstration of subgroup-specific differences in toxin profiles, psychrotolerance, and the ability to harbor some plasmids, suggest that these seven subgroups are not based solely on neutral genomic polymorphisms, but instead reflect differences in both the genotypes and phenotypes of the B. cereus group organisms.
Project description:Bacillus cereus strains that are genetically closely related to B. anthracis can display anthrax-like virulence traits (A. R. Hoffmaster et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:8449-8454, 2004). Hence, approaches that rapidly identify these "near neighbors" are of great interest for the study of B. anthracis virulence mechanisms, as well as to prevent the use of such strains for B. anthracis-based bioweapon development. Here, a strategy is proposed for the identification of near neighbors of B. anthracis based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer (ITS) containing tRNA genes, characteristic of B. anthracis. By using restriction site insertion-PCR (RSI-PCR) the presence of two SNP typical of B. anthracis was screened in 126 B. cereus group strains of different origin. Two B. cereus strains and one B. thuringiensis strain showed RSI-PCR profiles identical to that of B. anthracis. The sequencing of the entire ITS containing tRNA genes revealed two of the strains to be identical to B. anthracis. The strict relationship with B. anthracis was confirmed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of four other independent loci: cerA, plcR, AC-390, and SG-749. The relationship to B. anthracis of the three strains described by MLST was comparable and even higher to that of four B. cereus strains associated with periodontitis in humans and previously reported as the closest known strains to B. anthracis. SNP in ITS containing tRNA genes combined with RSI-PCR provide a very efficient tool for the identification of strains closely related to B. anthracis.
Project description:Comparative sequence analysis was performed upon Bacillus anthracis and its closest relatives, B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Portions of rpoB DNA from 10 strains of B. anthracis, 16 of B. cereus, 10 of B. thuringiensis, 1 of B. mycoides, and 1 of B. megaterium were amplified and sequenced. The determined rpoB sequences (318 bp) of the 10 B. anthracis strains, including five Korean isolates, were identical to those of Ames, Florida, Kruger B, and Western NA strains. Strains of the "B. cereus group" were separated into two subgroups, in which the B. anthracis strains formed a separate clade in the phylogenetic tree. However, B. cereus and B. thuringiensis could not be differentiated. Sequence analysis confirmed the five Korean isolates as B. anthracis. Based on the rpoB sequences determined in the present study, multiplex PCR generating either B. anthracis-specific amplicons (359 and 208 bp) or cap DNA (291 bp) in a virulence plasmid could be used for the rapid differential detection and identification of virulent B. anthracis.