[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent years have shown a marked increase in the use of next-generation sequencing technologies for quantification of gene expression (RNA sequencing, RNA-Seq). The expression level of a gene is a function of both its rate of transcription and RNA decay, and the influence of mRNA decay rates on gene expression in genome-wide studies of Gram-positive bacteria is under-investigated.
In this work, we employed RNA-Seq in a genome-wide determination of mRNA half-lives in the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus cereus. By utilizing a newly developed normalization protocol, RNA-Seq was used successfully to determine global mRNA decay rates at the single nucleotide level. The analysis revealed positional degradation patterns, with mRNAs being degraded from both ends of the molecule, indicating that both 5' to 3' and 3' to 5' directions of RNA decay are present in B. cereus. Other operons showed segmental degradation patterns where specific ORFs within polycistrons were degraded at variable rates, underlining the importance of RNA processing in gene regulation. We determined the half-lives for more than 2,700 ORFs in B. cereus ATCC 10987, ranging from less than one minute to more than fifteen minutes, and showed that mRNA decay rate correlates globally with mRNA expression level, GC content, and functional class of the ORF.
To our knowledge, this study presents the first global analysis of mRNA decay in a bacterium at single nucleotide resolution. We provide a proof of principle for using RNA-Seq in bacterial mRNA decay analysis, revealing RNA processing patterns at the single nucleotide level.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group II introns are widespread genetic elements endowed with a dual functionality. They are catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) that are able of self-splicing and they are also mobile retroelements that can invade genomic DNA. The group II intron RNA secondary structure is typically made up of six domains. However, a number of unusual group II introns carrying a unique extension of 53-56 nucleotides at the 3' end have been identified previously in bacteria of the Bacillus cereus group.
In the present study, we conducted combined sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses of introns, host gene, plasmid and chromosome of host strains in order to gain insights into mobility, dispersal, and evolution of the unusual introns and their extension. We also performed in vitro mutational and kinetic experiments to investigate possible functional features related to the extension.
We report the identification of novel copies of group II introns carrying a 3' extension including the first two copies in bacteria not belonging to the B. cereus group, Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 and Bacillus sp. 2_A_57_CT2, an uncharacterized species phylogenetically close to B. firmus. Interestingly, the B. pseudofirmus intron has a longer extension of 70 bases. From sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses, several possible separate events of mobility involving the atypical introns could be identified, including both retrohoming and retrotransposition events. In addition, identical extensions were found in introns that otherwise exhibit little sequence conservation in the rest of their structures, with the exception of the conserved and catalytically critical domains V and VI, suggesting either separate acquisition of the extra segment by different group II introns or a strong selection pressure acting on the extension. Furthermore, we show by in vitro splicing experiments that the 3' extension affects the splicing properties differently in introns belonging to separate evolutionary branches.
Altogether this study provides additional insights into the structural and functional evolution of unusual introns harboring a 3' extension and lends further evidence that these introns are mobile with their extension.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 is an extreme but facultative alkaliphile that grows non-fermentatively in a pH range from 7.5 to above 11.4 and can withstand large sudden increases in external pH. It is a model organism for studies of bioenergetics at high pH, at which energy demands are higher than at neutral pH because both cytoplasmic pH homeostasis and ATP synthesis require more energy. The alkaliphile also tolerates a cytoplasmic pH > 9.0 at external pH values at which the pH homeostasis capacity is exceeded, and manages other stresses that are exacerbated at alkaline pH, e.g. sodium, oxidative and cell wall stresses. The genome of B. pseudofirmus OF4 includes two plasmids that are lost from some mutants without viability loss. The plasmids may provide a reservoir of mobile elements that promote adaptive chromosomal rearrangements under particular environmental conditions. The genome also reveals a more acidic pI profile for proteins exposed on the outer surface than found in neutralophiles. A large array of transporters and regulatory genes are predicted to protect the alkaliphile from its overlapping stresses. In addition, unanticipated metabolic versatility was observed, which could ensure requisite energy for alkaliphily under diverse conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria is a group of closely related species that are of medical and economic relevance, including B. anthracis, B. cereus, and B. thuringiensis. Bacteria from the Bacillus cereus group encode three large, highly conserved genes of unknown function (named crdA, crdB, and crdC) that are composed of 16 to 35 copies of a repeated domain of 132 amino acids at the protein level. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that there is a phylogenetic bias in the genomic distribution of these genes and that strains harboring all three large genes mainly belong to cluster III of the B. cereus group phylogenetic tree. The evolutionary history of the three large genes implicates gain, loss, duplication, internal deletion, and lateral transfer. Furthermore, we show that the transcription of previously identified antisense open reading frames in crdB is simultaneously regulated with its host gene throughout the life cycle in vitro, with the highest expression being at the onset of sporulation. In B. anthracis, different combinations of double- and triple-knockout mutants of the three large genes displayed slower and less efficient sporulation processes than the parental strain. Altogether, the functional studies suggest an involvement of these three large genes in the sporulation process.
Journal of bacteriology 08/2011; 193(19):5420-30. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria includes species that can cause food-poisoning or spoilage, such as B. cereus, as well as Bacillus anthracis, the cause of anthrax. In the present report we have conducted a multi-datatype analysis using tools from the HyperCAT database (http://mlstoslo.uio.no/) that we recently developed, combining data from multilocus sequence typing (Tourasse et al., 2010), amplified fragment length polymorphism, and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis typing techniques. We provide a comprehensive snapshot of the B. cereus group population, incorporating 2213 isolates including 450 from food and dairy products, in the form of both phylogenetic supertrees and superclusters of genetically closely related isolates. Our main findings include the detection of phylogenetically separated groups of isolates possibly representing novel evolutionary lineages within the B. cereus group, a putative new branch of B. anthracis, as well as new groups of related strains containing both environmental and clinical isolates. In addition, the multi-datatype analysis revealed to a larger extent than previously recognized that food-borne isolates can share identical genotyping profiles with strains from various other origins. Altogether, the global analysis confirms and extends the results underlining the opportunistic nature of B. cereus group organisms, and the fact that isolates responsible for disease outbreaks and contamination of foodstuffs can originate from various genetic backgrounds.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many short (<400 bp) interspersed sequence repeats exist in bacteria, yet little is known about their origins, mode of generation, or possible function. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of 18 different previously identified repeated DNA elements, bcr1-bcr18 (Økstad OA, Hegna I, Lindback T, Rishovd AL, Kolstø AB. 1999. Genome organization is not conserved between Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis. Microbiology. 145:621-631.; Tourasse NJ, Helgason E, Økstad OA, Hegna IK, Kolstø AB. 2006. The Bacillus cereus group: novel aspects of population structure and genome dynamics. J Appl Microbiol. 101:579-593.), in 36 sequenced genomes from the Bacillus cereus group of bacteria. This group consists of genetically closely related species with variable pathogenic specificity toward different hosts and includes among others B. anthracis, B. cereus, and B. thuringiensis. The B. cereus group repeat elements could be classified into three categories with different properties: Group A elements (bcr1-bcr3) exhibited highly variable copy numbers ranging from 4 to 116 copies per strain, showed a nonconserved chromosomal distribution pattern between strains, and displayed several features characteristic of mobile elements. Group B repeats (bcr4-bcr6) were present in 0-10 copies per strain and were associated with strain-specific genes and disruptions of genome synteny, implying a possible contribution to genome rearrangements and/or horizontal gene transfer events. bcr5, in particular, was associated with large gene clusters showing resemblance to integrons. In agreement with their potentially mobile nature or involvement in horizontal transfers, the sequences of the repeats from Groups A and B (bcr1-bcr6) followed a phylogeny different from that of the host strains. Conversely, repeats from Group C (bcr7-bcr18) had a conserved chromosomal location and orthologous gene neighbors in the investigated B. cereus group genomes, and their phylogeny matched that of the host chromosome. Several of the group C repeats exhibited a conserved secondary structure or had parts of the structure conserved, possibly indicating functional RNAs. Accordingly, five of the repeats in group C overlapped regions encoding previously characterized riboswitches. Similarly, other group C repeats could represent novel riboswitches, encode small RNAs, and/or constitute other types of regulatory elements with specific biological functions. The current analysis suggests that the multitude of repeat elements identified in the B. cereus group promote genome dynamics and plasticity and could contribute to the flexible and adaptive life style of these bacteria.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 10/2010; 28(2):963-83. · 10.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group II introns are large RNA elements that interrupt genes. They are self-splicing ribozymes that catalyze their own excision and mobile retroelements that can invade new genomic DNA sites. While group II introns typically consist of six structural domains, a number of elements containing an unusual 3' extension of 53-56 nucleotides have recently been identified. Bioinformatic and functional analyses of these introns have revealed that they belong to two evolutionary subgroups and that the 3' extension has a differential effect on the splicing reactions for introns of the two subgroups, a functional difference that may be related to structural differences between the introns. In addition, there is phylogenetic evidence that some introns are mobile with their extension. The unusual introns have provided dramatic examples of the structural and functional evolution of group II ribozymes that have been able to accommodate an extra segment into their compact structure while maintaining functionality.
New Biotechnology 02/2010; 27(3):204-11. · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria includes species that are of significant medical and economic importance. We previously developed the SuperCAT database, which integrates data from all five multilocus sequence typing (MLST) schemes available to infer the genetic relatedness within this group. Since large numbers of isolates have been typed by other techniques, these should be incorporated in order to provide the most comprehensive and truly global view of the B. cereus group population. The SuperCAT system has been extended into a new database, HyperCAT, with two main additions. First, an extended supertree approach was applied to combine the phylogenetic information available from MLST, amplified fragment length polymorphism and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Secondly, a tree-independent clustering algorithm was designed to build superclusters of genetically closely related isolates sharing identical genotyping data. The superclusters were then mapped onto the supertree to generate an integrative genetic and phylogenetic snapshot of the B. cereus group population currently incorporating 2143 isolates. HyperCAT is freely accessible at the University of Oslo's typing website, which has also been upgraded with TNT software, allowing improved and ultra-fast supertree reconstructions. In addition, novel and advanced tools have been included for interactive viewing and navigation of trees, clusters and networks. Database URL: http://mlstoslo.uio.no/
Database The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation 01/2010; 2010:baq017. · 4.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacillus anthracis is the cause of anthrax, and two large plasmids are essential for toxicity: pXO1, which contains the toxin genes, and pXO2, which encodes a capsule. B. anthracis forms a highly monomorphic lineage within the B. cereus group, but strains of Bacillus thuringiensis and B. cereus exist that are genetically closely related to the B. anthracis cluster. During the past five years B. cereus strains that contain the pXO1 virulence plasmid were discovered, and strains with both pXO1 and pXO2 have been isolated from great apes in Africa. Therefore, the presence of pXO1 and pXO2 no longer principally separates B. anthracis from other Bacilli. The B. anthracis lineage carries a specific mutation in the global regulator PlcR, which controls the transcription of secreted virulence factors in B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Coevolution of the B. anthracis chromosome with its plasmids may be the basis for the successful development and uniqueness of the B. anthracis lineage.
Annual review of microbiology 07/2009; 63:451-76. · 12.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The B.c.I4 group II intron from Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987 harbors an unusual 3' extension. Here, we report the discovery of four additional group II introns with a similar 3' extension in Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki 4D1 that splice at analogous positions 53/56 nt downstream of domain VI in vivo. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the introns are only 47-61% identical to each other. Strikingly, they do not form a single evolutionary lineage even though they belong to the same Bacterial B class. The extension of these introns is predicted to form a conserved two-stem-loop structure. Mutational analysis in vitro showed that the smaller stem S1 is not critical for self-splicing, whereas the larger stem S2 is important for efficient exon ligation and lariat release in presence of the extension. This study clearly demonstrates that previously reported B.c.I4 is not a single example of a specialized intron, but forms a new functional class with an unusual mode that ensures proper positioning of the 3' splice site.
Nucleic Acids Research 04/2009; 37(10):3202-14. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group I and group II introns are different catalytic self-splicing and mobile RNA elements that contribute to genome dynamics. In this study, we have analyzed their distribution and evolution in 29 sequenced genomes from the Bacillus cereus group of bacteria. Introns were of different structural classes and evolutionary origins, and a large number of nearly identical elements are shared between multiple strains of different sources, suggesting recent lateral transfers and/or that introns are under a strong selection pressure. Altogether, 73 group I introns were identified, inserted in essential genes from the chromosome or newly described prophages, including the first elements found within phages in bacterial plasmids. Notably, bacteriophages are an important source for spreading group I introns between strains. Furthermore, 77 group II introns were found within a diverse set of chromosomal and plasmidic genes. Unusual findings include elements located within conserved DNA metabolism and repair genes and one intron inserted within a novel retroelement. Group II introns are mainly disseminated via plasmids and can subsequently invade the host genome, in particular by coupling mobility with host cell replication. This study reveals a very high diversity and variability of mobile introns in B. cereus group strains.
Nucleic Acids Research 07/2008; 36(14):4529-48. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria is an important group including mammalian and insect pathogens, such as B. anthracis, the anthrax bacterium, B. thuringiensis, used as a biological pesticide and B. cereus, often involved in food poisoning incidents. To characterize the population structure and epidemiology of these bacteria, five separate multilocus sequence typing (MLST) schemes have been developed, which makes results difficult to compare. Therefore, we have developed a database that compiles and integrates MLST data from all five schemes for the B. cereus group, accessible at http://mlstoslo.uio.no/. Supertree techniques were used to combine the phylogenetic information from analysis of all schemes and datasets, in order to produce an integrated view of the B. cereus group population. The database currently contains strain information and sequence data for 1029 isolates and 26 housekeeping gene fragments, which can be searched by keywords, MLST scheme, or sequence similarity. Supertrees can be browsed according to various criteria such as species, isolate source, or genetic distance, and subtrees containing strains of interest can be extracted. Besides analysis of the available data, the user has the possibility to enter her/his own sequences and compare them to the database and/or include them into the supertree reconstructions.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2008; 36(Database issue):D461-8. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: bcr1 is a chromosomal approximately 155 bp repeated element found uniquely and ubiquitously in the Bacillus cereus group of Gram-positive bacteria; it exhibits several features characteristic of mobile elements, including a variable distribution pattern between strains. Here, highly similar bcr1 elements in non-conserved genomic loci are identified in a set of closely related B. cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis strains near the Bacillus anthracis phylogenetic cluster. It is also shown that bcr1 may be present on small RNA transcripts in the 100-400 bp size range. In silico folding of bcr1 at the RNA level indicated that transcripts may form a double-hairpin-like structure predicted to have high structural stability. A functional role of bcr1 at the RNA level is supported by multiple cases of G-U base-pairing, and compensatory mutations maintaining structural stability of the RNA fold. In silico folding at the DNA level produced similar predicted structures, with the potential to form a cruciform structure at open DNA complexes. The predicted structural stability was greater for bcr1 elements showing high sequence identities to bcr1 elements in non-conserved chromosomal loci in other strains, relative to other bcr1 copies. bcr1 mobility could thus be dependent on the formation of a stable DNA or RNA intermediate. Furthermore, bcr1 elements potentially encoding structurally stable and less stable transcripts were phylogenetically intermixed, indicating that loss of bcr1 mobility may have occurred multiple times during evolution. Repeated elements with similar features in other bacteria have been shown to provide functions such as mRNA stabilization, transcription termination and/or promoter function. Similarly, bcr1 may constitute a mobile element which occasionally gains a function when it enters an appropriate chromosomal locus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tolerance to bile salts was investigated in forty Bacillus cereus strains, including 17 environmental isolates, 11 dairy isolates, 3 isolates from food poisoning outbreaks, and 9 other clinical isolates. Growth of all strains was observed at low bile salt concentrations, but no growth was observed on LB agar plates containing more than 0.005% bile salts. Preincubation of the B. cereus type strain, ATCC 14579, in low levels of bile salts did not increase tolerance levels. B. cereus ATCC 14579 was grown to mid-exponential growth phase and shifted to medium containing bile salts (0.005%). Global expression patterns were determined by hybridization of total cDNA to a 70-mer oligonucleotide microarray. A general stress response and a specific response to bile salts were observed. The general response was similar to that observed in cultures grown in the absence of bile salts but at a higher (twofold) cell density. Up-regulation of several putative multidrug exporters and transcriptional regulators and down-regulation of most motility genes were observed as part of the specific response. Motility experiments in soft agar showed that motility decreased following bile salts exposure, in accordance with the transcriptional data. Genes encoding putative virulence factors were either unaffected or down-regulated.
Journal of Bacteriology 08/2007; 189(14):5302-13. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: All group II introns known to date fold into six functional domains. However, we recently identified an intron in Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987, B.c.I4, that splices 56 nt downstream of the expected 3' splice site in vivo (Tourasse et al. 2005, J. Bacteriol., 187, 5437-5451). In this study, we confirmed by ribonuclease protection assay that the 56-bp segment is part of the intron RNA molecule, and computational prediction suggests that it might form a stable stem-loop structure downstream of domain VI. The splicing of B.c.I4 was further investigated both in vivo and in vitro. Lariat formation proceeded primarily by branching at the ordinary bulged adenosine in domain VI without affecting the fidelity of splicing. In addition, the splicing efficiency of the wild-type intron was better than that of a mutant construct deleted of the 56-bp 3' extension. These results indicate that the intron has apparently adapted to the extra segment, possibly through conformational adjustments. The extraordinary group II intron B.c.I4 harboring an unprecedented extra 3' segment constitutes a dramatic example of the flexibility and adaptability of group II introns.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2007; 35(5):1612-23. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To provide new insights into the population and genomic structure of the Bacillus cereus group of bacteria.
The genetic relatedness among B. cereus group strains was assessed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) using an optimized scheme based on seven chromosomal housekeeping genes. A set of 48 strains from different clinical sources was included, and six clonal complexes containing several genetically similar isolates from unrelated patients were identified. Interestingly, several clonal groups contained strains that were isolated from similar human sources. Furthermore, comparative whole genome sequence analysis of 16 strains led to the discovery of novel ubiquitous genome features of the B. cereus group, such as atypical group II introns, IStrons, and hitherto uncharacterized repeated elements.
The B. cereus group constitutes a coherent population unified by the presence of ubiquitous and specific genetic elements which do not show any pattern, either in their sequences or genomic locations, which allows to differentiate between the member species of the group. Nevertheless, the population is very dynamic, as particular lineages of clinical origin can evolve to form clonal complexes. At the genome level, the dynamic behaviour is indicated by the presence of numerous mobile and repeated elements.
The B. cereus group of bacteria comprises species that are of medical and economic importance. The MLST data, along with the primers and protocols used, will be available in a public, web-accessible database (http://mlstoslo.uio.no).
Journal of Applied Microbiology 10/2006; 101(3):579-93. · 2.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A combination of sequence and structure analysis and reverse transcriptase PCR experiments was used to characterize the group II introns in the complete genomes of two strains of the pathogen Bacillus cereus. While B. cereus ATCC 14579 harbors a single intron element in the chromosome, B. cereus ATCC 10987 contains three introns in the chromosome and four in its 208-kb pBc10987 plasmid. The most striking finding is the presence in B. cereus ATCC 10987 of an intron [B.c.I2(a)] located on the reverse strand of a gene encoding a putative cell surface protein which appears to be correlated to strains of clinical origin. Because of the opposite orientation of B.c.I2(a), the gene is disrupted. Even more striking is that B.c.I2(a) splices out of an RNA transcript corresponding to the opposite DNA strand. All other intragenic introns studied here are inserted in the same orientation as their host genes and splice out of the mRNA in vivo, setting the flanking exons in frame. Noticeably, B.c.I3 in B. cereus ATCC 10987 represents the first example of a group II intron entirely included within a conserved replication gene, namely, the alpha subunit of DNA polymerase III. Another striking finding is that the observed 3' splice site of B.c.I4 occurs 56 bp after the predicted end of the intron. This apparently unusual splicing mechanism may be related to structural irregularities in the 3' terminus. Finally, we also show that the intergenic introns of B. cereus ATCC 10987 are transcribed with their upstream genes and do splice in vivo.
Journal of Bacteriology 09/2005; 187(15):5437-51. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacillus cereus strains ATCC 10987 and ATCC 14579 harbor an approximately 155-bp repeated element, bcr1, which is conserved in B. cereus, B. anthracis, B. thuringiensis, and B. mycoides but not in B. subtilis and B. licheniformis. In this study, we show by Southern blot hybridizations that bcr1 is present in all 54 B. cereus group strains tested but absent in 11 Bacillus strains outside the group, suggesting that bcr1 may be specific and ubiquitous to the B. cereus group. By comparative analysis of the complete genome sequences of B. cereus ATCC 10987, B. cereus ATCC 14579, and B. anthracis Ames, we show that bcr1 is exclusively present in the chromosome but absent from large plasmids carried by these strains and that the numbers of full-length bcr1 repeats for these strains are 79, 54, and 12, respectively. Numerous copies of partial bcr1 elements are also present in the three genomes (91, 128, and 53, respectively). Furthermore, the genomic localization of bcr1 is not conserved between strains with respect to chromosomal position or organization of gene neighbors, as only six full-length bcr1 loci are common to at least two of the three strains. However, the intergenic sequence surrounding a specific bcr1 repeat in one of the three strains is generally strongly conserved in the other two, even in loci where bcr1 is found exclusively in one strain. This finding indicates that bcr1 either has evolved by differential deletion from a very high number of repeats in a common ancestor to the B. cereus group or is moving around the chromosome. The identification of bcr1 repeats interrupting genes in B. cereus ATCC 10987 and ATCC 14579 and the presence of a flanking TTTAT motif in each end show that bcr1 exhibits features characteristic of a mobile element.
Journal of Bacteriology 12/2004; 186(22):7714-25. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We sequenced the complete genome of Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987, a non-lethal dairy isolate in the same genetic subgroup as Bacillus anthracis. Comparison of the chromosomes demonstrated that B.cereus ATCC 10987 was more similar to B.anthracis Ames than B.cereus ATCC 14579, while containing a number of unique metabolic capabilities such as urease and xylose utilization and lacking the ability to utilize nitrate and nitrite. Additionally, genetic mechanisms for variation of capsule carbohydrate and flagella surface structures were identified. Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987 contains a single large plasmid (pBc10987), of approximately 208 kb, that is similar in gene content and organization to B.anthracis pXO1 but is lacking the pathogenicity-associated island containing the anthrax lethal and edema toxin complex genes. The chromosomal similarity of B.cereus ATCC 10987 to B.anthracis Ames, as well as the fact that it contains a large pXO1-like plasmid, may make it a possible model for studying B.anthracis plasmid biology and regulatory cross-talk.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2004; 32(3):977-88. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we developed a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme for bacteria of the Bacillus cereus group. This group, which includes the species B. cereus, B. thuringiensis, B. weihenstephanensis, and B. anthracis, is known to be genetically very diverse. It is also very important because it comprises pathogenic organisms as well as bacteria with industrial applications. The MLST system was established by using 77 strains having various origins, including humans, animals, food, and soil. A total of 67 of these strains had been analyzed previously by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, and they were selected to represent the genetic diversity of this group of bacteria. Primers were designed for conserved regions of housekeeping genes, and 330- to 504-bp internal fragments of seven such genes, adk, ccpA, ftsA, glpT, pyrE, recF, and sucC, were sequenced for all strains. The number of alleles at individual loci ranged from 25 to 40, and a total of 53 allelic profiles or sequence types (STs) were distinguished. Analysis of the sequence data showed that the population structure of the B. cereus group is weakly clonal. In particular, all five B. anthracis isolates analyzed had the same ST. The MLST scheme which we developed has a high level of resolution and should be an excellent tool for studying the population structure and epidemiology of the B. cereus group.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 02/2004; 70(1):191-201. · 3.95 Impact Factor