Science.gov

Sample records for bacillus anthracis francisella

  1. Rapid Focused Sequencing: A Multiplexed Assay for Simultaneous Detection and Strain Typing of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis

    PubMed Central

    Zolotova, Anna; Tan, Eugene; Selden, Richard F.

    2013-01-01

    Background The intentional release of Bacillus anthracis in the United States in 2001 has heightened concern about the use of pathogenic microorganisms in bioterrorism attacks. Many of the deadliest bacteria, including the Class A Select Agents Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis, are highly infectious via the pulmonary route when released in aerosolized form. Hence, rapid, sensitive, and reliable methods for detection of these biothreats and characterization of their potential impact on the exposed population are of critical importance to initiate and support rapid military, public health, and clinical responses. Methodology/Principal Findings We have developed microfluidic multiplexed PCR and sequencing assays based on the simultaneous interrogation of three pathogens per assay and ten loci per pathogen. Microfluidic separation of amplified fluorescently labeled fragments generated characteristic electrophoretic signatures for identification of each agent. The three sets of primers allowed significant strain typing and discrimination from non-pathogenic closely-related species and environmental background strains based on amplicon sizes alone. Furthermore, sequencing of the 10 amplicons per pathogen, termed “Rapid Focused Sequencing,” allowed an even greater degree of strain discrimination and, in some cases, can be used to determine virulence. Both amplification and sequencing assays were performed in microfluidic biochips developed for fast thermal cycling and requiring 7 µL per reaction. The 30-plex sequencing assay resulted in genotypic resolution of 84 representative strains belonging to each of the three biothreat species. Conclusions/Significance The microfluidic multiplexed assays allowed identification and strain differentiation of the biothreat agents Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis and clear discrimination from closely-related species and several environmental background strains. The

  2. Evaluation of the FilmArray® system for detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis

    SciTech Connect

    Seiner, Derrick R.; Colburn, Heather A.; Baird, Cheryl L.; Bartholomew, Rachel A.; Straub, Tim M.; Victry, Kristin D.; Hutchison, Janine R.; Valentine, Nancy B.; Bruckner-Lea, Cindy J.

    2013-04-29

    To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the Idaho Technologies FilmArray® Biothreat Panel for the detection of Bacillus anthracis (Ba), Francisella tularensis (Ft), and Yersinia pestis (Yp) DNA, and demonstrate the detection of Ba spores. Methods and Results: DNA samples from Ba, Ft and Yp strains and near-neighbors, and live Ba spores were analyzed using the Biothreat Panel, a multiplexed PCR-based assay for 17 pathogens and toxins. Sensitivity studies with DNA suggest a limit of detection of 250 genome equivalents (GEs) per sample. Furthermore, the correct call of Ft, Yp or Bacillus species was made in 63 of 72 samples tested at 25 GE or less. With samples containing 25 Ba Sterne spores, at least one of the two possible Ba markers were identified in all samples tested. We observed no cross-reactivity with near-neighbor DNAs.

  3. Protection Afforded by Fluoroquinolones in Animal Models of Respiratory Infections with Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Johnny W; Moen, Scott T; Healy, Daniel; Pawlik, Jennifer E; Taormina, Joanna; Hardcastle, Jason; Thomas, John M; Lawrence, William S; Ponce, Cindy; Chatuev, Bagram M; Gnade, Bryan T; Foltz, Sheri M; Agar, Stacy L; Sha, Jian; Klimpel, Gary R; Kirtley, Michelle L; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia; Chopra, Ashok K

    2010-01-01

    Successful treatment of inhalation anthrax, pneumonic plague and tularemia can be achieved with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, and initiation of treatment is most effective when administered as soon as possible following exposure. Bacillus anthracis Ames, Yersinia pestis CO92, and Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 have equivalent susceptibility in vitro to ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin (minimal inhibitory concentration is 0.03 μg/ml); however, limited information is available regarding in vivo susceptibility of these infectious agents to the fluoroquinolone antibiotics in small animal models. Mice, guinea pig, and rabbit models have been developed to evaluate the protective efficacy of antibiotic therapy against these life-threatening infections. Our results indicated that doses of ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin required to protect mice against inhalation anthrax were approximately 18-fold higher than the doses of levofloxacin required to protect against pneumonic plague and tularemia. Further, the critical period following aerosol exposure of mice to either B. anthracis spores or Y. pestis was 24 h, while mice challenged with F. tularensis could be effectively protected when treatment was delayed for as long as 72 h postchallenge. In addition, it was apparent that prolonged antibiotic treatment was important in the effective treatment of inhalation anthrax in mice, but short-term treatment of mice with pneumonic plague or tularemia infections were usually successful. These results provide effective antibiotic dosages in mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits and lay the foundation for the development and evaluation of combinational treatment modalities. PMID:21127743

  4. Protection Afforded by Fluoroquinolones in Animal Models of Respiratory Infections with Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, Johnny W; Moen, Scott T; Healy, Daniel; Pawlik, Jennifer E; Taormina, Joanna; Hardcastle, Jason; Thomas, John M; Lawrence, William S; Ponce, Cindy; Chatuev, Bagram M; Gnade, Bryan T; Foltz, Sheri M; Agar, Stacy L; Sha, Jian; Klimpel, Gary R; Kirtley, Michelle L; Eaves-Pyles, Tonyia; Chopra, Ashok K

    2010-01-01

    Successful treatment of inhalation anthrax, pneumonic plague and tularemia can be achieved with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, and initiation of treatment is most effective when administered as soon as possible following exposure. Bacillus anthracis Ames, Yersinia pestis CO92, and Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 have equivalent susceptibility in vitro to ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin (minimal inhibitory concentration is 0.03 μg/ml); however, limited information is available regarding in vivo susceptibility of these infectious agents to the fluoroquinolone antibiotics in small animal models. Mice, guinea pig, and rabbit models have been developed to evaluate the protective efficacy of antibiotic therapy against these life-threatening infections. Our results indicated that doses of ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin required to protect mice against inhalation anthrax were approximately 18-fold higher than the doses of levofloxacin required to protect against pneumonic plague and tularemia. Further, the critical period following aerosol exposure of mice to either B. anthracis spores or Y. pestis was 24 h, while mice challenged with F. tularensis could be effectively protected when treatment was delayed for as long as 72 h postchallenge. In addition, it was apparent that prolonged antibiotic treatment was important in the effective treatment of inhalation anthrax in mice, but short-term treatment of mice with pneumonic plague or tularemia infections were usually successful. These results provide effective antibiotic dosages in mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits and lay the foundation for the development and evaluation of combinational treatment modalities. PMID:21127743

  5. Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Spencer, R C

    2003-01-01

    The events of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent anthrax outbreaks have shown that the West needs to be prepared for an increasing number of terrorist attacks, which may include the use of biological warfare. Bacillus anthracis has long been considered a potential biological warfare agent, and this review will discuss the history of its use as such. It will also cover the biology of this organism and the clinical features of the three disease forms that it can produce: cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and inhalation anthrax. In addition, treatment and vaccination strategies will be reviewed. PMID:12610093

  6. Monitoring biothreat agents (Francisella tularensis, Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis) with a portable real-time PCR instrument.

    PubMed

    Mölsä, Markos; Hemmilä, Heidi; Katz, Anna; Niemimaa, Jukka; Forbes, Kristian M; Huitu, Otso; Stuart, Peter; Henttonen, Heikki; Nikkari, Simo

    2015-08-01

    In the event of suspected releases or natural outbreaks of contagious pathogens, rapid identification of the infectious agent is essential for appropriate medical intervention and disease containment. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of a novel portable real-time PCR thermocycler, PikoReal™, to the standard real-time PCR thermocycler, Applied Biosystems® 7300 (ABI 7300), for the detection of three high-risk biothreat bacterial pathogens: Francisella tularensis, Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. In addition, a novel confirmatory real-time PCR assay for the detection of F. tularensis is presented and validated. The results show that sensitivity of the assays, based on a dilution series, for the three infectious agents ranged from 1 to 100 fg of target DNA with both instruments. No cross-reactivity was revealed in specificity testing. Duration of the assays with the PikoReal and ABI 7300 systems were 50 and 100 min, respectively. In field testing for F. tularensis, results were obtained with the PikoReal system in 95 min, as the pre-PCR preparation, including DNA extraction, required an additional 45 min. We conclude that the PikoReal system enables highly sensitive and rapid on-site detection of biothreat agents under field conditions, and may be a more efficient alternative to conventional diagnostic methods. PMID:26043838

  7. Deletion of the Bacillus anthracis capB homologue in Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis generates an attenuated strain that protects mice against virulent tularaemia.

    PubMed

    Michell, Stephen L; Dean, Rachel E; Eyles, Jim E; Hartley, Margaret Gill; Waters, Emma; Prior, Joann L; Titball, Richard W; Oyston, Petra C F

    2010-11-01

    As there is currently no licensed vaccine against Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularaemia, the bacterium is an agent of concern as a potential bioweapon. Although F. tularensis has a low infectious dose and high associated mortality, it possesses few classical virulence factors. An analysis of the F. tularensis subspecies tularensis genome sequence has revealed the presence of a region containing genes with low sequence homology to part of the capBCADE operon of Bacillus anthracis. We have generated an isogenic capB mutant of F. tularensis subspecies tularensis SchuS4 and shown it to be attenuated. Furthermore, using BALB/c mice, we have demonstrated that this capB strain affords protection against significant homologous challenge with the wild-type strain. These data have important implications for the development of a defined and efficacious tularaemia vaccine. PMID:20651039

  8. Bacillus anthracis physiology and genetics.

    PubMed

    Koehler, Theresa M

    2009-12-01

    Bacillus anthracis is a member of the Bacillus cereus group species (also known as the "group 1 bacilli"), a collection of Gram-positive spore-forming soil bacteria that are non-fastidious facultative anaerobes with very similar growth characteristics and natural genetic exchange systems. Despite their close physiology and genetics, the B. cereus group species exhibit certain species-specific phenotypes, some of which are related to pathogenicity. B. anthracis is the etiologic agent of anthrax. Vegetative cells of B. anthracis produce anthrax toxin proteins and a poly-d-glutamic acid capsule during infection of mammalian hosts and when cultured in conditions considered to mimic the host environment. The genes associated with toxin and capsule synthesis are located on the B. anthracis plasmids, pXO1 and pXO2, respectively. Although plasmid content is considered a defining feature of the species, pXO1- and pXO2-like plasmids have been identified in strains that more closely resemble other members of the B. cereus group. The developmental nature of B. anthracis and its pathogenic (mammalian host) and environmental (soil) lifestyles of make it an interesting model for study of niche-specific bacterial gene expression and physiology. PMID:19654018

  9. Evaluation of two multiplex real-time PCR screening capabilities for the detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis in blood samples generated from murine infection models.

    PubMed

    Weller, Simon A; Cox, Victoria; Essex-Lopresti, Angela; Hartley, Margaret G; Parsons, Tanya M; Rachwal, Phillip A; Stapleton, Helen L; Lukaszewski, Roman A

    2012-11-01

    Two multiplex PCR screening capabilities (TaqMan Array Cards and FilmArray) were evaluated for their ability to detect Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis in blood samples obtained from respective murine infection models. Blood samples were obtained from infected mice at 24 h intervals after exposure. Multiplex PCR results were compared with standard blood culture and singleplex real-time PCR. Across all three models, 71 mice were tested in total, within which a subset of 43 samples was shown to contain an infecting agent by at least one of the detection technologies. Within this subset of positive samples, for each model studied, the detection rates of each technology were compared. The B. anthracis model blood culture (14 of 15 agent-containing samples tested) and FilmArray PCR (12 of 15) were shown to have equivalent detection rates, which were significantly higher (at the 95 % confidence level) than singleplex (five of 14) or Array Card (two of 14) PCRs. The F. tularensis model blood culture (12 of 12) was shown to have a significantly higher (at 95 % confidence level) detection rate than all PCR technologies, with FilmArray (seven of 11) and singleplex (seven of 12) PCRs shown to have significantly higher (at 95 % confidence level) detection rates than the Array Card PCR (two of 11). Within the Y. pestis model, there was no significant difference in detection rates between blood culture (10 of 16), singleplex PCR (14 of 16), Array Card PCR (10 of 16) and FilmArray PCR (10 of 13). PMID:22899777

  10. Routine Markerless Gene Replacement in Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Janes, Brian K.; Stibitz, Scott

    2006-01-01

    An improved genetic tool suitable for routine markerless allelic exchange in Bacillus anthracis has been constructed. Its utility was demonstrated by the introduction of insertions, deletions, and missense mutations on the chromosome and plasmid pXO1 of the Sterne strain of B. anthracis. PMID:16495572

  11. MOBILE LABORATORY FOR BACILLUS ANTHRACIS DETECTION

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In response to a bioterrorism event in the Washington, DC area in October 2001 a mobile laboratory (ML) was set up in the city to conduct rapid molecular tests on environmental samples for the detection of Bacillus anthracis spores. The ML contained two Class I laminar flow hoods, a small autoclave,...

  12. Methyl Iodide Fumigation of Bacillus anthracis Spores.

    PubMed

    Sutton, Mark; Kane, Staci R; Wollard, Jessica R

    2015-09-01

    Fumigation techniques such as chlorine dioxide, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and paraformaldehyde previously used to decontaminate items, rooms, and buildings following contamination with Bacillus anthracis spores are often incompatible with materials (e.g., porous surfaces, organics, and metals), causing damage or residue. Alternative fumigation with methyl bromide is subject to U.S. and international restrictions due to its ozone-depleting properties. Methyl iodide, however, does not pose a risk to the ozone layer and has previously been demonstrated as a fumigant for fungi, insects, and nematodes. Until now, methyl iodide has not been evaluated against Bacillus anthracis. Sterne strain Bacillus anthracis spores were subjected to methyl iodide fumigation at room temperature and at 550C. Efficacy was measured on a log-scale with a 6-log reduction in CFUs being considered successful compared to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biocide standard. Such efficacies were obtained after just one hour at 55 °C and after 12 hours at room temperature. No detrimental effects were observed on glassware, PTFE O-rings, or stainless steel. This is the first reported efficacy of methyl iodide in the reduction of Bacillus anthracis spore contamination at ambient and elevated temperatures. PMID:26502561

  13. What sets Bacillus anthracis apart from other Bacillus species?

    PubMed

    Kolstø, Anne-Brit; Tourasse, Nicolas J; Økstad, Ole Andreas

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19514852

  14. Glutamate Racemase Mutants of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Oh, So-Young; Richter, Stefan G.; Missiakas, Dominique M.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT d-Glutamate is an essential component of bacterial peptidoglycan and a building block of the poly-γ-d-glutamic acid (PDGA) capsule of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. Earlier work suggested that two glutamate racemases, encoded by racE1 and racE2, are each essential for growth of B. anthracis, supplying d-glutamic acid for the synthesis of peptidoglycan and PDGA capsule. Earlier work could not explain, however, why two enzymes that catalyze the same reaction may be needed for bacterial growth. Here, we report that deletion of racE1 or racE2 did not prevent growth of B. anthracis Sterne (pXO1+ pXO2−), the noncapsulating vaccine strain, or of B. anthracis Ames (pXO1+ pXO2+), a fully virulent, capsulating isolate. While mutants with deletions in racE1 and racE2 were not viable, racE2 deletion delayed vegetative growth of B. anthracis following spore germination and caused aberrant cell shapes, phenotypes that were partially restored by exogenous d-glutamate. Deletion of racE1 or racE2 from B. anthracis Ames did not affect the production or stereochemical composition of the PDGA capsule. A model is presented whereby B. anthracis, similar to Bacillus subtilis, utilizes two functionally redundant racemase enzymes to synthesize d-glutamic acid for peptidoglycan synthesis. IMPORTANCE Glutamate racemases, enzymes that convert l-glutamate to d-glutamate, are targeted for antibiotic development. Glutamate racemase inhibitors may be useful for the treatment of bacterial infections such as anthrax, where the causative agent, B. anthracis, requires d-glutamate for the synthesis of peptidoglycan and poly-γ-d-glutamic acid (PDGA) capsule. Here we show that B. anthracis possesses two glutamate racemase genes that can be deleted without abolishing either bacterial growth or PDGA synthesis. These data indicate that drug candidates must inhibit both glutamate racemases, RacE1 and RacE2, in order to block B. anthracis growth and achieve therapeutic

  15. Bacillus anthracis Bioterrorism Incident, Kameido, Tokyo, 1993

    PubMed Central

    Keim, Paul; Kaufmann, Arnold F.; Keys, Christine; Smith, Kimothy L.; Taniguchi, Kiyosu; Inouye, Sakae; Kurata, Takeshi

    2004-01-01

    In July 1993, a liquid suspension of Bacillus anthracis was aerosolized from the roof of an eight-story building in Kameido, Tokyo, Japan, by the religious group Aum Shinrikyo. During 1999 to 2001, microbiologic tests were conducted on a liquid environmental sample originally collected during the 1993 incident. Nonencapsulated isolates of B. anthracis were cultured from the liquid. Multiple-locus, variable-number tandem repeat analysis found all isolates to be identical to a strain used in Japan to vaccinate animals against anthrax, which was consistent with the Aum Shinrikyo members’ testimony about the strain source. In 1999, a retrospective case-detection survey was conducted to identify potential human anthrax cases associated with the incident, but none were found. The use of an attenuated B. anthracis strain, low spore concentrations, ineffective dispersal, a clogged spray device, and inactivation of the spores by sunlight are all likely contributing factors to the lack of human cases. PMID:15112666

  16. Capsule depolymerase overexpression reduces Bacillus anthracis virulence.

    PubMed

    Scorpio, Angelo; Chabot, Donald J; Day, William A; Hoover, Timothy A; Friedlander, Arthur M

    2010-05-01

    Capsule depolymerase (CapD) is a gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and a product of the Bacillus anthracis capsule biosynthesis operon. In this study, we examined the effect of modulating capD expression on B. anthracis capsule phenotype, interaction with phagocytic cells and virulence in guinea pigs. Transcriptional fusions of capD were made to the genes encoding heat-shock protein 60 (hsp60) and elongation factor Tu (EFTu), and to capA, a B. anthracis capsule biosynthesis gene. Translation signals were altered to improve expression of capD, including replacing the putative ribosome-binding site with a consensus sequence and the TTG start codon with ATG. CapD was not detected by immunoblotting in lysates from wild-type B. anthracis Ames but was detected in strains engineered with a consensus ribosome-binding site for capD. Strains overexpressing capD at amounts detected by immunoblotting were found to have less surface-associated capsule and released primarily lower-molecular-mass capsule into culture supernatants. Overexpression of capD increased susceptibility to neutrophil phagocytic killing and adherence to macrophages and resulted in reduced fitness in a guinea pig model of infection. These data suggest that B. anthracis may have evolved weak capD expression resulting in optimized capsule-mediated virulence. PMID:20110296

  17. The genome and variation of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Keim, Paul; Gruendike, Jeffrey M; Klevytska, Alexandra M; Schupp, James M; Challacombe, Jean; Okinaka, Richard

    2009-12-01

    The Bacillus anthracis genome reflects its close genetic ties to Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis but has been shaped by its own unique biology and evolutionary forces. The genome is comprised of a chromosome and two large virulence plasmids, pXO1 and pXO2. The chromosome is mostly co-linear among B. anthracis strains and even with the closest near neighbor strains. An exception to this pattern has been observed in a large inversion in an attenuated strain suggesting that chromosome co-linearity is important to the natural biology of this pathogen. In general, there are few polymorphic nucleotides among B. anthracis strains reflecting the short evolutionary time since its derivation from a B. cereus-like ancestor. The exceptions to this lack of diversity are the variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) loci that exist in genic and non genic regions of the chromosome and both plasmids. Their variation is associated with high mutability that is driven by rapid insertion and deletion of the repeats within an array. A notable example is found in the vrrC locus which is homologous to known DNA translocase genes from other bacteria. PMID:19729033

  18. Identification of Bacillus anthracis PurE inhibitors with antimicrobial activity.

    PubMed

    Kim, Anna; Wolf, Nina M; Zhu, Tian; Johnson, Michael E; Deng, Jiangping; Cook, James L; Fung, Leslie W-M

    2015-04-01

    N(5)-carboxy-amino-imidazole ribonucleotide (N(5)-CAIR) mutase (PurE), a bacterial enzyme in the de novo purine biosynthetic pathway, has been suggested to be a target for antimicrobial agent development. We have optimized a thermal shift method for high-throughput screening of compounds binding to Bacillus anthracis PurE. We used a low ionic strength buffer condition to accentuate the thermal shift stabilization induced by compound binding to Bacillus anthracis PurE. The compounds identified were then subjected to computational docking to the active site to further select compounds likely to be inhibitors. A UV-based enzymatic activity assay was then used to select inhibitory compounds. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were subsequently obtained for the inhibitory compounds against Bacillus anthracis (ΔANR strain), Escherichia coli (BW25113 strain, wild-type and ΔTolC), Francisella tularensis, Staphylococcus aureus (both methicillin susceptible and methicillin-resistant strains) and Yersinia pestis. Several compounds exhibited excellent (0.05-0.15μg/mL) MIC values against Bacillus anthracis. A common core structure was identified for the compounds exhibiting low MIC values. The difference in concentrations for inhibition and MIC suggest that another enzyme(s) is also targeted by the compounds that we identified. PMID:25737087

  19. Characterization of Bacillus anthracis Persistence In Vivo

    PubMed Central

    Jenkins, Sarah A.; Xu, Yi

    2013-01-01

    Pulmonary exposure to Bacillus anthracis spores initiates inhalational anthrax, a life-threatening infection. It is known that dormant spores can be recovered from the lungs of infected animals months after the initial spore exposure. Consequently, a 60-day course antibiotic treatment is recommended for exposed individuals. However, there has been little information regarding details or mechanisms of spore persistence in vivo. In this study, we investigated spore persistence in a mouse model. The results indicated that weeks after intranasal inoculation with B. anthracis spores, substantial amounts of spores could be recovered from the mouse lung. Moreover, spores of B. anthracis were significantly better at persisting in the lung than spores of a non-pathogenic Bacillus subtilis strain. The majority of B. anthracis spores in the lung were tightly associated with the lung tissue, as they could not be readily removed by lavage. Immunofluorescence staining of lung sections showed that spores associated with the alveolar and airway epithelium. Confocal analysis indicated that some of the spores were inside epithelial cells. This was further confirmed by differential immunofluorescence staining of lung cells harvested from the infected lungs, suggesting that association with lung epithelial cells may provide an advantage to spore persistence in the lung. There was no or very mild inflammation in the infected lungs. Furthermore, spores were present in the lung tissue as single spores rather than in clusters. We also showed that the anthrax toxins did not play a role in persistence. Together, the results suggest that B. anthracis spores have special properties that promote their persistence in the lung, and that there may be multiple mechanisms contributing to spore persistence. PMID:23750280

  20. Genome Sequence of Bacillus anthracis Strain Tangail-1 from Bangladesh

    PubMed Central

    Rume, Farzana Islam; Braun, Peter; Biswas, Paritosh Kumar; Yasmin, Mahmuda; Grass, Gregor; Ahsan, Chowdhury Rafiqul; Hanczaruk, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Soil was collected in July 2013 at a site where a cow infected with anthrax had been the month before. Selective culturing yielded Bacillus anthracis strain Tangail-1. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of this Bacillus anthracis isolate that belongs to the canonical A.Br.001/002 clade. PMID:27469968

  1. Genome Sequence of Bacillus anthracis Strain Tangail-1 from Bangladesh.

    PubMed

    Rume, Farzana Islam; Antwerpen, Markus; Braun, Peter; Biswas, Paritosh Kumar; Yasmin, Mahmuda; Grass, Gregor; Ahsan, Chowdhury Rafiqul; Hanczaruk, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Soil was collected in July 2013 at a site where a cow infected with anthrax had been the month before. Selective culturing yielded Bacillus anthracis strain Tangail-1. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of this Bacillus anthracis isolate that belongs to the canonical A.Br.001/002 clade. PMID:27469968

  2. Rapid targeted gene disruption in Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Anthrax is a zoonotic disease recognized to affect herbivores since Biblical times and has the widest range of susceptible host species of any known pathogen. The ease with which the bacterium can be weaponized and its recent deliberate use as an agent of terror, have highlighted the importance of gaining a deeper understanding and effective countermeasures for this important pathogen. High quality sequence data has opened the possibility of systematic dissection of how genes distributed on both the bacterial chromosome and associated plasmids have made it such a successful pathogen. However, low transformation efficiency and relatively few genetic tools for chromosomal manipulation have hampered full interrogation of its genome. Results Group II introns have been developed into an efficient tool for site-specific gene inactivation in several organisms. We have adapted group II intron targeting technology for application in Bacillus anthracis and generated vectors that permit gene inactivation through group II intron insertion. The vectors developed permit screening for the desired insertion through PCR or direct selection of intron insertions using a selection scheme that activates a kanamycin resistance marker upon successful intron insertion. Conclusions The design and vector construction described here provides a useful tool for high throughput experimental interrogation of the Bacillus anthracis genome and will benefit efforts to develop improved vaccines and therapeutics. PMID:24047152

  3. Bacillus anthracis: current knowledge in relation to contamination of food.

    PubMed

    Erickson, M C; Kornacki, J L

    2003-04-01

    In this article, information related to anthrax and its etiologic agent, Bacillus anthracis, in food is reviewed. The major topics discussed include the taxonomic relationship of B. anthracis to other Bacillus species, methods used for the recovery of the organism from surfaces and foods, routes of infection, the pathogenesis of the organism, the microbial ecology of the vegetative cell and spore in foods and the environment, chemical and physical treatments for spore inactivation, and the control of the disease in animals. PMID:12696699

  4. Environmental Persistence of Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis Spores

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Joseph P.; Meyer, Kathryn M.; Kelly, Thomas J.; Choi, Young W.; Rogers, James V.; Riggs, Karen B.; Willenberg, Zachary J.

    2015-01-01

    There is a lack of data for how the viability of biological agents may degrade over time in different environments. In this study, experiments were conducted to determine the persistence of Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis spores on outdoor materials with and without exposure to simulated sunlight, using ultraviolet (UV)-A/B radiation. Spores were inoculated onto glass, wood, concrete, and topsoil and recovered after periods of 2, 14, 28, and 56 days. Recovery and inactivation kinetics for the two species were assessed for each surface material and UV exposure condition. Results suggest that with exposure to UV, decay of spore viability for both Bacillus species occurs in two phases, with an initial rapid decay, followed by a slower inactivation period. The exception was with topsoil, in which there was minimal loss of spore viability in soil over 56 days, with or without UV exposure. The greatest loss in viable spore recovery occurred on glass with UV exposure, with nearly a four log10 reduction after just two days. In most cases, B. subtilis had a slower rate of decay than B. anthracis, although less B. subtilis was recovered initially. PMID:26372011

  5. Environmental Persistence of Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis Spores.

    PubMed

    Wood, Joseph P; Meyer, Kathryn M; Kelly, Thomas J; Choi, Young W; Rogers, James V; Riggs, Karen B; Willenberg, Zachary J

    2015-01-01

    There is a lack of data for how the viability of biological agents may degrade over time in different environments. In this study, experiments were conducted to determine the persistence of Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis spores on outdoor materials with and without exposure to simulated sunlight, using ultraviolet (UV)-A/B radiation. Spores were inoculated onto glass, wood, concrete, and topsoil and recovered after periods of 2, 14, 28, and 56 days. Recovery and inactivation kinetics for the two species were assessed for each surface material and UV exposure condition. Results suggest that with exposure to UV, decay of spore viability for both Bacillus species occurs in two phases, with an initial rapid decay, followed by a slower inactivation period. The exception was with topsoil, in which there was minimal loss of spore viability in soil over 56 days, with or without UV exposure. The greatest loss in viable spore recovery occurred on glass with UV exposure, with nearly a four log10 reduction after just two days. In most cases, B. subtilis had a slower rate of decay than B. anthracis, although less B. subtilis was recovered initially. PMID:26372011

  6. FORMALDEHYDE GAS INACTIVATION OF BACILLUS ANTHRACIS, BACILLUS SUBTILIS AND GEOBACILLUS STEAROTHERMOPHILUS SPORES ON INDOOR SURFACE MATERIALS.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Research evaluated the decontamination of Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus subtilis, and Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores on indoor surface material using formaldehyde gas. Spores were dried on seven types of indoor surfaces and exposed to 1100 ppm formaldehyde gas for 10 hr. Fo...

  7. DECONTAMINATION ASSESSMENT OF BACILLUS ANTHRACIS, BACILLUS SUBTILIS, AND GEOBACILLUS STEAROTHERMOPHILUS SPORES ON INDOOR SURFACTS USING A HYDROGEN PERIOXIDE GAS GENERATOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aims: To evaluate the decontamination of Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus subtilis, and Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores on indoor surface materials using hydrogen peroxide gas. Methods and Results: B. anthracis, B. subtilis, and G. Stearothermophilus spores were dried on seven...

  8. Alveolar Macrophages Infected with Ames or Sterne Strain of Bacillus anthracis Elicit Differential Molecular Expression Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Lane, Douglas; Kenny, Tara; Ojeda, Jenifer F.; Zhong, Yang; Che, Jianwei; Zhou, Yingyao; Ribot, Wilson; Kota, Krishna P.; Bavari, Sina; Panchal, Rekha G.

    2014-01-01

    Alveolar macrophages (AMs) phagocytose Bacillus anthracis following inhalation and induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines to mediate the activation of innate immunity. Ames, the virulent strain of B. anthracis, contains two plasmids that encode the antiphagocytic poly-γ-d-glutamic acid capsule and the lethal toxin. The attenuated Sterne strain of B. anthracis, which lacks the plasmid encoding capsule, is widely adapted as a vaccine strain. Although differences in the outcome of infection with the two strains may have originated from the presence or absence of an anti-phagocytic capsule, the disease pathogenesis following infection will be manifested via the host responses, which is not well understood. To gain understanding of the host responses at cellular level, a microarray analysis was performed using primary rhesus macaque AMs infected with either Ames or Sterne spores. Notably, 528 human orthologs were identified to be differentially expressed in AMs infected with either strain of the B. anthracis. Meta-analyses revealed genes differentially expressed in response to B. anthracis infection were also induced upon infections with multiple pathogens such as Francisella Novicida or Staphylococcus aureus. This suggests the existence of a common molecular signature in response to pathogen infections. Importantly, the microarray and protein expression data for certain cytokines, chemokines and host factors provide further insights on how cellular processes such as innate immune sensing pathways, anti-apoptosis versus apoptosis may be differentially modulated in response to the virulent or vaccine strain of B. anthracis. The reported differences may account for the marked difference in pathogenicity between these two strains. PMID:24516547

  9. Determination of the most closely related bacillus isolates to Bacillus anthracis by multilocus sequence typing.

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Kijeong; Cheon, Eunhee; Wheeler, Katherine E.; Youn, Youngchul; Leighton, Terrance J.; Park, Chulmin; Kim, Wonyong; Chung, Sang-In

    2005-01-01

    There have been many efforts to develop Bacillus anthracis detection assays, but the problem of false-positive results has often been encountered. Therefore, to validate an assay for B. anthracis detection, it is critical to examine its specificity with the most closely related Bacillus isolates that are available. To define the most closely related Bacillus isolates to B. anthracis in our Bacillus collections, we analyzed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) the phylogeny of 77 closely related Bacillus isolates selected from 264 Bacillus isolates. The selection includes all the Bacillus isolates that have been shown in our previous studies to produce false-positive results by some anthrax-detection assays. The MLST phylogenetic analyses revealed that 27 of the non-B. anthracis isolates clustered within the B. anthracis clade, and four of them (three sequence types, STs) had the highest degree of genetic relatedness with B. anthracis, 18 (11 STs) had the second highest, and five (five STs) had the third highest. We anticipate that the inclusion of the 19 ST isolates when analyzing B. anthracis detection assays will prove to be useful for screening for their specificity to detect B. anthracis. PMID:16197725

  10. Identifying experimental surrogates for Bacillus anthracis spores: a review

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a proven biological weapon. In order to study this threat, a number of experimental surrogates have been used over the past 70 years. However, not all surrogates are appropriate for B. anthracis, especially when investigating transport, fate and survival. Although B. atrophaeus has been widely used as a B. anthracis surrogate, the two species do not always behave identically in transport and survival models. Therefore, we devised a scheme to identify a more appropriate surrogate for B. anthracis. Our selection criteria included risk of use (pathogenicity), phylogenetic relationship, morphology and comparative survivability when challenged with biocides. Although our knowledge of certain parameters remains incomplete, especially with regards to comparisons of spore longevity under natural conditions, we found that B. thuringiensis provided the best overall fit as a non-pathogenic surrogate for B. anthracis. Thus, we suggest focusing on this surrogate in future experiments of spore fate and transport modelling. PMID:21092338

  11. Bacillus anthracis Aerosolization Associated with a Contaminated Mail Sorting Machine

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Kathy E.; Kournikakis, Bill; Whitney, Ellen A.S.; Boulet, Camille A.; Ho, Jim Y.W.; Ogston, Jim; Spence, Mel R.; MacKenzie, Megan M.; Phelan, Maureen A.; Popovic, Tanja; Ashford, David

    2002-01-01

    On October 12, 2001, two envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores passed through a sorting machine in a postal facility in Washington, D.C. When anthrax infection was identified in postal workers 9 days later, the facility was closed. To determine if exposure to airborne B. anthracis spores continued to occur, we performed air sampling around the contaminated sorter. One CFU of B. anthracis was isolated from 990 L of air sampled before the machine was activated. Six CFUs were isolated during machine activation and processing of clean dummy mail. These data indicate that an employee working near this machine might inhale approximately 30 B. anthracis-containing particles during an 8-h work shift. What risk this may have represented to postal workers is not known, but the risk is approximately 20-fold less than estimates of sub-5 micron B. anthracis-containing particles routinely inhaled by asymptomatic, unvaccinated workers in a goat-hair mill. PMID:12396913

  12. Bacillus anthracis Lethal Toxin Reduces Human Alveolar Epithelial Barrier Function

    PubMed Central

    Langer, Marybeth; Duggan, Elizabeth Stewart; Booth, John Leland; Patel, Vineet Indrajit; Zander, Ryan A.; Silasi-Mansat, Robert; Ramani, Vijay; Veres, Tibor Zoltan; Prenzler, Frauke; Sewald, Katherina; Williams, Daniel M.; Coggeshall, Kenneth Mark; Awasthi, Shanjana; Lupu, Florea; Burian, Dennis; Ballard, Jimmy Dale; Braun, Armin

    2012-01-01

    The lung is the site of entry for Bacillus anthracis in inhalation anthrax, the deadliest form of the disease. Bacillus anthracis produces virulence toxins required for disease. Alveolar macrophages were considered the primary target of the Bacillus anthracis virulence factor lethal toxin because lethal toxin inhibits mouse macrophages through cleavage of MEK signaling pathway components, but we have reported that human alveolar macrophages are not a target of lethal toxin. Our current results suggest that, unlike human alveolar macrophages, the cells lining the respiratory units of the lung, alveolar epithelial cells, are a target of lethal toxin in humans. Alveolar epithelial cells expressed lethal toxin receptor protein, bound the protective antigen component of lethal toxin, and were subject to lethal-toxin-induced cleavage of multiple MEKs. These findings suggest that human alveolar epithelial cells are a target of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin. Further, no reduction in alveolar epithelial cell viability was observed, but lethal toxin caused actin rearrangement and impaired desmosome formation, consistent with impaired barrier function as well as reduced surfactant production. Therefore, by compromising epithelial barrier function, lethal toxin may play a role in the pathogenesis of inhalation anthrax by facilitating the dissemination of Bacillus anthracis from the lung in early disease and promoting edema in late stages of the illness. PMID:23027535

  13. Interactions between Bacillus anthracis and Plants May Promote Anthrax Transmission

    PubMed Central

    Ganz, Holly H.; Turner, Wendy C.; Brodie, Eoin L.; Kusters, Martina; Shi, Ying; Sibanda, Heniritha; Torok, Tamas; Getz, Wayne M.

    2014-01-01

    Environmental reservoirs are essential in the maintenance and transmission of anthrax but are poorly characterized. The anthrax agent, Bacillus anthracis was long considered an obligate pathogen that is dormant and passively transmitted in the environment. However, a growing number of laboratory studies indicate that, like some of its close relatives, B. anthracis has some activity outside of its vertebrate hosts. Here we show in the field that B. anthracis has significant interactions with a grass that could promote anthrax spore transmission to grazing hosts. Using a local, virulent strain of B. anthracis, we performed a field experiment in an enclosure within a grassland savanna. We found that B. anthracis increased the rate of establishment of a native grass (Enneapogon desvauxii) by 50% and that grass seeds exposed to blood reached heights that were 45% taller than controls. Further we detected significant effects of E. desvauxii, B. anthracis, and their interaction on soil bacterial taxa richness and community composition. We did not find any evidence for multiplication or increased longevity of B. anthracis in bulk soil associated with grass compared to controls. Instead interactions between B. anthracis and plants may result in increased host grazing and subsequently increased transmission to hosts. PMID:24901846

  14. Fluorescent Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis of Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis Isolates

    PubMed Central

    Hill, Karen K.; Ticknor, Lawrence O.; Okinaka, Richard T.; Asay, Michelle; Blair, Heather; Bliss, Katherine A.; Laker, Mariam; Pardington, Paige E.; Richardson, Amber P.; Tonks, Melinda; Beecher, Douglas J.; Kemp, John D.; Kolstø, Anne-Brit; Wong, Amy C. Lee; Keim, Paul; Jackson, Paul J.

    2004-01-01

    DNA from over 300 Bacillus thuringiensis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus anthracis isolates was analyzed by fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). B. thuringiensis and B. cereus isolates were from diverse sources and locations, including soil, clinical isolates and food products causing diarrheal and emetic outbreaks, and type strains from the American Type Culture Collection, and over 200 B. thuringiensis isolates representing 36 serovars or subspecies were from the U.S. Department of Agriculture collection. Twenty-four diverse B. anthracis isolates were also included. Phylogenetic analysis of AFLP data revealed extensive diversity within B. thuringiensis and B. cereus compared to the monomorphic nature of B. anthracis. All of the B. anthracis strains were more closely related to each other than to any other Bacillus isolate, while B. cereus and B. thuringiensis strains populated the entire tree. Ten distinct branches were defined, with many branches containing both B. cereus and B. thuringiensis isolates. A single branch contained all the B. anthracis isolates plus an unusual B. thuringiensis isolate that is pathogenic in mice. In contrast, B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki (ATCC 33679) and other isolates used to prepare insecticides mapped distal to the B. anthracis isolates. The interspersion of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis isolates within the phylogenetic tree suggests that phenotypic traits used to distinguish between these two species do not reflect the genomic content of the different isolates and that horizontal gene transfer plays an important role in establishing the phenotype of each of these microbes. B. thuringiensis isolates of a particular subspecies tended to cluster together. PMID:14766590

  15. Mastitis caused by Bacillus anthracis in a beef cow.

    PubMed

    Hawkes, Ross; Pederson, Eldon; Ngeleka, Musangu

    2008-09-01

    A mixed-breed beef cow was presented with swelling of the front and hind left quarters of the mammary gland and mild depression. Direct examination and culture of the serosanguinous-like milk samples collected from these quarters were consistent with Bacillus anthracis infection. PMID:19043486

  16. Phosphate starvation enhances the pathogenesis of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Aggarwal, Somya; Somani, Vikas Kumar; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2015-09-01

    Identifying the factors responsible for survival and virulence of Bacillus anthracis within the host is prerequisite for the development of therapeutics against anthrax. Host provides several stresses as well as many advantages to the invading pathogen. Inorganic phosphate (Pi) starvation within the host has been considered as one of the major contributing factors in the establishment of infection by pathogenic microorganisms. Here, we report for the first time that Pi fluctuation encountered by B. anthracis at different stages of its life cycle within the host, contributes significantly in its pathogenesis. In this study, Pi starvation was found to hasten the onset of infection cycle by promoting spore germination. After germination, it was found to impede cell growth. In addition, phosphate starved bacilli showed more antibiotic tolerance. Interestingly, phosphate starvation enhanced the pathogenicity of B. anthracis by augmenting its invasiveness in macrophages in vitro. B. anthracis grown under phosphate starvation were also found to be more efficient in establishing lethal infections in mouse model as well. Phosphate starvation increased B. anthracis virulence by promoting the secretion of primary virulence factors like protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF). Thus, this study affirms that besides other host mediated factors, phosphate limitation may also contribute B. anthracis for successfully establishing itself within the host. This study is a step forward in delineating its pathophysiology that might help in understanding the pathogenesis of anthrax. PMID:26143397

  17. The Bacillus anthracis Exosporium: What's the Big "Hairy" Deal?

    PubMed

    Bozue, Joel A; Welkos, Susan; Cote, Christopher K

    2015-10-01

    In some Bacillus species, including Bacillus subtilis, the coat is the outermost layer of the spore. In others, such as the Bacillus cereus family, there is an additional layer that envelops the coat, called the exosporium. In the case of Bacillus anthracis, a series of fine hair-like projections, also referred to as a "hairy" nap, extends from the exosporium basal layer. The exact role of the exosporium in B. anthracis, or for any of the Bacillus species possessing this structure, remains unclear. However, it has been assumed that the exosporium would play some role in infection for B. anthracis, because it is the outermost structure of the spore and would make initial contact with host and immune cells during infection. Therefore, the exosporium has been a topic of great interest, and over the past decade much progress has been made to understand its composition, biosynthesis, and potential roles. Several key aspects of this spore structure, however, are still debated and remain undetermined. Although insights have been gained on the interaction of exosporium with the host during infection, the exact role and significance of this complex structure remain to be determined. Furthermore, because the exosporium is a highly antigenic structure, future strategies for the next-generation anthrax vaccine should pursue its inclusion as a component to provide protection against the spore itself during the initial stages of anthrax. PMID:26542035

  18. Proteomic Profiling and Identification of Immunodominant Spore Antigens of Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis‡

    PubMed Central

    DelVecchio, Vito G.; Connolly, Joseph P.; Alefantis, Timothy G.; Walz, Alexander; Quan, Marian A.; Patra, Guy; Ashton, John M.; Whittington, Jessica T.; Chafin, Ryan D.; Liang, Xudong; Grewal, Paul; Khan, Akbar S.; Mujer, Cesar V.

    2006-01-01

    Differentially expressed and immunogenic spore proteins of the Bacillus cereus group of bacteria, which includes Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis, were identified. Comparative proteomic profiling of their spore proteins distinguished the three species from each other as well as the virulent from the avirulent strains. A total of 458 proteins encoded by 232 open reading frames were identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry analysis for all the species. A number of highly expressed proteins, including elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), elongation factor G, 60-kDa chaperonin, enolase, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, and others exist as charge variants on two-dimensional gels. These charge variants have similar masses but different isoelectric points. The majority of identified proteins have cellular roles associated with energy production, carbohydrate transport and metabolism, amino acid transport and metabolism, posttranslational modifications, and translation. Novel vaccine candidate proteins were identified using B. anthracis polyclonal antisera from humans postinfected with cutaneous anthrax. Fifteen immunoreactive proteins were identified in B. anthracis spores, whereas 7, 14, and 7 immunoreactive proteins were identified for B. cereus and in the virulent and avirulent strains of B. thuringiensis spores, respectively. Some of the immunodominant antigens include charge variants of EF-Tu, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, dihydrolipoamide acetyltransferase, Δ-1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, and a dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase. Alanine racemase and neutral protease were uniquely immunogenic to B. anthracis. Comparative analysis of the spore immunome will be of significance for further nucleic acid- and immuno-based detection systems as well as next-generation vaccine development. PMID:16957262

  19. Susceptibilities of Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, and avirulent Bacillus anthracis spores to liquid biocides.

    PubMed

    Hilgren, J; Swanson, K M J; Diez-Gonzalez, F; Cords, B

    2009-02-01

    The susceptibility of spores of Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, and avirulent Bacillus anthracis to treatment with hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic acid, a peroxy-fatty acid mixture, sodium hypochlorite, and acidified sodium chlorite was investigated. Results indicated that B. cereus spores may be reasonable predictors of B. anthracis spore inactivation by peroxyacetic acid-based biocides. However, B. cereus was not a reliable predictor of B. anthracis inactivation by the other biocides. In studies comparing B. cereus and B. subtilis, B. cereus spores were more resistant (by 1.5 to 2.5 log CFU) than B. subtilis spores to peroxyacetic acid, the peroxy-fatty acid mixture, and acidified sodium chlorite. Conversely, B. subtilis spores were more resistant than B. cereus spores to hydrogen peroxide. These findings indicated the relevance of side-by-side testing of target organisms and potential surrogates against categories of biocides to determine whether both have similar properties and to validate the use of the surrogate microorganisms. PMID:19350981

  20. Natural dissemination of Bacillus anthracis spores in northern Canada.

    PubMed

    Dragon, D C; Bader, D E; Mitchell, J; Woollen, N

    2005-03-01

    Soil samples were collected from around fresh and year-old bison carcasses and areas not associated with known carcasses in Wood Buffalo National Park during an active anthrax outbreak in the summer of 2001. Sample selection with a grid provided the most complete coverage of a site. Soil samples were screened for viable Bacillus anthracis spores via selective culture, phenotypic analysis, and PCR. Bacillus anthracis spores were isolated from 28.4% of the samples. The highest concentrations of B. anthracis spores were found directly adjacent to fresh carcasses and invariably corresponded to locations where the soil had been saturated with body fluids escaping the carcass through either natural body orifices or holes torn by scavengers. The majority of positive samples were found within 2 m of both year-old and fresh carcasses and probably originated from scavengers churning up and spreading the body fluid-saturated soil as they fed. Trails of lesser contamination radiating from the carcasses probably resulted from spore dissemination through adhesion to scavengers and through larger scavengers dragging away disarticulated limbs. Comparison of samples from minimally scavenged and fully necropsied carcass sites revealed no statistically significant difference in the level of B. anthracis spore contamination. Therefore, the immediate area around a suspected anthrax carcass should be considered substantially contaminated regardless of the condition of the carcass. PMID:15746366

  1. Decontamination of Bacillus anthracis Spores: Evaluation of Various Disinfectants

    PubMed Central

    Heninger, Sara J.; Anderson, Christine A.; Beltz, Gerald; Onderdonk, Andrew B.

    2009-01-01

    The present study compares the efficacy of various disinfectants against Bacillus anthracis spores. While Bleach Rite® and 10% bleach reduce spore numbers by 90% within 10 minutes, a long contact time is required for complete disinfection. By contrast, although SporGon® did not initially reduce the number of spores as quickly as Bleach Rite or 10% bleach, shorter contact times were required for complete eradication of viable spores. PMID:20967138

  2. Multigeneration Cross-Contamination of Mail with Bacillus anthracis Spores

    PubMed Central

    Edmonds, Jason; Lindquist, H. D. Alan; Sabol, Jonathan; Martinez, Kenneth; Shadomy, Sean; Cymet, Tyler; Emanuel, Peter

    2016-01-01

    The release of biological agents, including those which could be used in biowarfare or bioterrorism in large urban areas, has been a concern for governments for nearly three decades. Previous incidents from Sverdlosk and the postal anthrax attack of 2001 have raised questions on the mechanism of spread of Bacillus anthracis spores as an aerosol or contaminant. Prior studies have demonstrated that Bacillus atrophaeus is easily transferred through simulated mail handing, but no reports have demonstrated this ability with Bacillus anthracis spores, which have morphological differences that may affect adhesion properties between spore and formite. In this study, equipment developed to simulate interactions across three generations of envelopes subjected to tumbling and mixing was used to evaluate the potential for cross-contamination of B. anthracis spores in simulated mail handling. In these experiments, we found that the potential for cross-contamination through letter tumbling from one generation to the next varied between generations while the presence of a fluidizer had no statistical impact on the transfer of material. Likewise, the presence or absence of a fluidizer had no statistically significant impact on cross-contamination levels or reaerosolization from letter opening. PMID:27123934

  3. Multigeneration Cross-Contamination of Mail with Bacillus anthracis Spores.

    PubMed

    Edmonds, Jason; Lindquist, H D Alan; Sabol, Jonathan; Martinez, Kenneth; Shadomy, Sean; Cymet, Tyler; Emanuel, Peter

    2016-01-01

    The release of biological agents, including those which could be used in biowarfare or bioterrorism in large urban areas, has been a concern for governments for nearly three decades. Previous incidents from Sverdlosk and the postal anthrax attack of 2001 have raised questions on the mechanism of spread of Bacillus anthracis spores as an aerosol or contaminant. Prior studies have demonstrated that Bacillus atrophaeus is easily transferred through simulated mail handing, but no reports have demonstrated this ability with Bacillus anthracis spores, which have morphological differences that may affect adhesion properties between spore and formite. In this study, equipment developed to simulate interactions across three generations of envelopes subjected to tumbling and mixing was used to evaluate the potential for cross-contamination of B. anthracis spores in simulated mail handling. In these experiments, we found that the potential for cross-contamination through letter tumbling from one generation to the next varied between generations while the presence of a fluidizer had no statistical impact on the transfer of material. Likewise, the presence or absence of a fluidizer had no statistically significant impact on cross-contamination levels or reaerosolization from letter opening. PMID:27123934

  4. Phages Preying on Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis: Past, Present and Future

    PubMed Central

    Gillis, Annika; Mahillon, Jacques

    2014-01-01

    Many bacteriophages (phages) have been widely studied due to their major role in virulence evolution of bacterial pathogens. However, less attention has been paid to phages preying on bacteria from the Bacillus cereus group and their contribution to the bacterial genetic pool has been disregarded. Therefore, this review brings together the main information for the B. cereus group phages, from their discovery to their modern biotechnological applications. A special focus is given to phages infecting Bacillus anthracis, B. cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. These phages belong to the Myoviridae, Siphoviridae, Podoviridae and Tectiviridae families. For the sake of clarity, several phage categories have been made according to significant characteristics such as lifestyles and lysogenic states. The main categories comprise the transducing phages, phages with a chromosomal or plasmidial prophage state, γ-like phages and jumbo-phages. The current genomic characterization of some of these phages is also addressed throughout this work and some promising applications are discussed here. PMID:25010767

  5. Phages preying on Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis: past, present and future.

    PubMed

    Gillis, Annika; Mahillon, Jacques

    2014-07-01

    Many bacteriophages (phages) have been widely studied due to their major role in virulence evolution of bacterial pathogens. However, less attention has been paid to phages preying on bacteria from the Bacillus cereus group and their contribution to the bacterial genetic pool has been disregarded. Therefore, this review brings together the main information for the B. cereus group phages, from their discovery to their modern biotechnological applications. A special focus is given to phages infecting Bacillus anthracis, B. cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. These phages belong to the Myoviridae, Siphoviridae, Podoviridae and Tectiviridae families. For the sake of clarity, several phage categories have been made according to significant characteristics such as lifestyles and lysogenic states. The main categories comprise the transducing phages, phages with a chromosomal or plasmidial prophage state, γ-like phages and jumbo-phages. The current genomic characterization of some of these phages is also addressed throughout this work and some promising applications are discussed here. PMID:25010767

  6. Secretion Genes as Determinants of Bacillus anthracis Chain Length

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen-Mau, Sao-Mai; Oh, So-Young; Kern, Valerie J.; Missiakas, Dominique M.

    2012-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis grows in chains of rod-shaped cells, a trait that contributes to its escape from phagocytic clearance in host tissues. Using a genetic approach to search for determinants of B. anthracis chain length, we identified mutants with insertional lesions in secA2. All isolated secA2 mutants exhibited an exaggerated chain length, whereas the dimensions of individual cells were not changed. Complementation studies revealed that slaP (S-layer assembly protein), a gene immediately downstream of secA2 on the B. anthracis chromosome, is also a determinant of chain length. Both secA2 and slaP are required for the efficient secretion of Sap and EA1 (Eag), the two S-layer proteins of B. anthracis, but not for the secretion of S-layer-associated proteins or of other secreted products. S-layer assembly via secA2 and slaP contributes to the proper positioning of BslO, the S-layer-associated protein, and murein hydrolase, which cleaves septal peptidoglycan to separate chains of bacilli. SlaP was found to be both soluble in the bacterial cytoplasm and associated with the membrane. The purification of soluble SlaP from B. anthracis-cleared lysates did not reveal a specific ligand, and the membrane association of SlaP was not dependent on SecA2, Sap, or EA1. We propose that SecA2 and SlaP promote the efficient secretion of S-layer proteins by modifying the general secretory pathway of B. anthracis to transport large amounts of Sap and EA1. PMID:22609926

  7. [Bacillus anthracis: causative agent of anthrax].

    PubMed

    Boutiba-Ben Boubaker, I; Ben Redjeb, S

    2001-12-01

    Anthrax, an acute infectious disease of historical importance, is once again regaining interest with its use as a biological weapon. It is caused by B. anthracis, a Gram positive spore forming rod usually surrounded by a capsule and producing toxin. It occurs most frequently as an epizootic or enzootic disease of herbivores that acquire spores form direct contact with contaminated soil. Spores can survive for many years in soil. Animal vaccination programs have reduced drastically the disease in developed countries. In humans, the disease is acquired following contact with anthrax infected animals or their products. 3 types of anthrax infection can occur: cutaneous, inhalational and gastro intestinal. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common observed form. When germination occurs, replicating bacteria release toxin leading to hemorrhage, edema, necrosis and death. Full virulence of B. anthracis requires the presence of both antiphagocytic capsule and 3 toxin components (protective antigen, lethal factor and edema factor). Most naturally occurring anthrax strains are sensitive to penicillin but resistant to third generation cephalosporins. Post exposure prophylaxis is indicated to prevent inhalational anthrax. PMID:11892436

  8. Experimental Validation of Bacillus anthracis A16R Proteogenomics.

    PubMed

    Gao, Zhiqi; Wang, Zhiqiang; Zhang, Kun; Li, Yanchang; Zhang, Tao; Wang, Dongshu; Liu, Xiankai; Feng, Erling; Chang, Lei; Xu, Junjie; He, Simin; Xu, Ping; Zhu, Li; Wang, Hengliang

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax, caused by the pathogenic bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is a zoonosis that causes serious disease and is of significant concern as a biological warfare agent. Validating annotated genes and reannotating misannotated genes are important to understand its biology and mechanisms of pathogenicity. Proteomics studies are, to date, the best method for verifying and improving current annotations. To this end, the proteome of B. anthracis A16R was analyzed via one-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). In total, we identified 3,712 proteins, including many regulatory and key functional proteins at relatively low abundance, representing the most complete proteome of B. anthracis to date. Interestingly, eight sequencing errors were detected by proteogenomic analysis and corrected by resequencing. More importantly, three unannotated peptide fragments were identified in this study and validated by synthetic peptide mass spectrum mapping and green fluorescent protein fusion experiments. These data not only give a more comprehensive understanding of B. anthracis A16R but also demonstrate the power of proteomics to improve genome annotations and determine true translational elements. PMID:26423727

  9. Experimental Validation of Bacillus anthracis A16R Proteogenomics

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Zhiqi; Wang, Zhiqiang; Zhang, Kun; Li, Yanchang; Zhang, Tao; Wang, Dongshu; Liu, Xiankai; Feng, Erling; Chang, Lei; Xu, Junjie; He, Simin; Xu, Ping; Zhu, Li; Wang, Hengliang

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax, caused by the pathogenic bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is a zoonosis that causes serious disease and is of significant concern as a biological warfare agent. Validating annotated genes and reannotating misannotated genes are important to understand its biology and mechanisms of pathogenicity. Proteomics studies are, to date, the best method for verifying and improving current annotations. To this end, the proteome of B. anthracis A16R was analyzed via one-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). In total, we identified 3,712 proteins, including many regulatory and key functional proteins at relatively low abundance, representing the most complete proteome of B. anthracis to date. Interestingly, eight sequencing errors were detected by proteogenomic analysis and corrected by resequencing. More importantly, three unannotated peptide fragments were identified in this study and validated by synthetic peptide mass spectrum mapping and green fluorescent protein fusion experiments. These data not only give a more comprehensive understanding of B. anthracis A16R but also demonstrate the power of proteomics to improve genome annotations and determine true translational elements. PMID:26423727

  10. Method for screening inhibitors of the toxicity of Bacillus anthracis

    DOEpatents

    Cirino, Nick M.; Jackson, Paul J.; Lehnert, Bruce E.

    2001-01-01

    The protective antigen (PA) of Bacillus anthracis is integral to the mechanism of anthrax poisoning. The cloning, expression and purification of a 32 kDa B. anthracis PA fragment (PA32) is described. This fragment has also been expressed as a fusion construct to stabilized green fluorescent protein (EGFP-PA32). Both proteins were capable of binding to specific cell surface receptors as determined by fluorescent microscopy and a flow cytometric assay. To confirm binding specificity in the flow cytometric assay, non-fluorescent PA83 or PA32 was used to competitively inhibit fluorescent EGFP-PA32 binding to cell receptors. This assay can be employed as a rapid screen for compounds which disrupts binding of PA to cells. Additionally, the high intracellular expression levels and ease of purification make this recombinant protein an attractive vaccine candidate or therapeutic treatment for anthrax poisoning.

  11. Historical distribution and molecular diversity of Bacillus anthracis, Kazakhstan.

    PubMed

    Aikembayev, Alim M; Lukhnova, Larissa; Temiraliyeva, Gulnara; Meka-Mechenko, Tatyana; Pazylov, Yerlan; Zakaryan, Sarkis; Denissov, Georgiy; Easterday, W Ryan; Van Ert, Matthew N; Keim, Paul; Francesconi, Stephen C; Blackburn, Jason K; Hugh-Jones, Martin; Hadfield, Ted

    2010-05-01

    To map the distribution of anthrax outbreaks and strain subtypes in Kazakhstan during 1937-2005, we combined geographic information system technology and genetic analysis by using archived cultures and data. Biochemical and genetic tests confirmed the identity of 93 archived cultures in the Kazakhstan National Culture Collection as Bacillus anthracis. Multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis genotyping identified 12 genotypes. Cluster analysis comparing these genotypes with previously published genotypes indicated that most (n = 78) isolates belonged to the previously described A1.a genetic cluster, 6 isolates belonged to the A3.b cluster, and 2 belonged to the A4 cluster. Two genotypes in the collection appeared to represent novel genetic sublineages; 1 of these isolates was from Krygystan. Our data provide a description of the historical, geographic, and genetic diversity of B. anthracis in this Central Asian region. PMID:20409368

  12. Surface sampling methods for Bacillus anthracis spore contamination.

    PubMed

    Sanderson, Wayne T; Hein, Misty J; Taylor, Lauralynn; Curwin, Brian D; Kinnes, Gregory M; Seitz, Teresa A; Popovic, Tanja; Holmes, Harvey T; Kellum, Molly E; McAllister, Sigrid K; Whaley, David N; Tupin, Edward A; Walker, Timothy; Freed, Jennifer A; Small, Dorothy S; Klusaritz, Brian; Bridges, John H

    2002-10-01

    During an investigation conducted December 17-20, 2001, we collected environmental samples from a U.S. postal facility in Washington, D.C., known to be extensively contaminated with Bacillus anthracis spores. Because methods for collecting and analyzing B. anthracis spores have not yet been validated, our objective was to compare the relative effectiveness of sampling methods used for collecting spores from contaminated surfaces. Comparison of wipe, wet and dry swab, and HEPA vacuum sock samples on nonporous surfaces indicated good agreement between results with HEPA vacuum and wipe samples. However, results from HEPA vacuum sock and wipe samples agreed poorly with the swab samples. Dry swabs failed to detect spores >75% of the time when they were detected by wipe and HEPA vacuum samples. Wipe samples collected after HEPA vacuum samples and HEPA vacuum samples collected after wipe samples indicated that neither method completely removed spores from the sampled surfaces. PMID:12396930

  13. [Bacillus anthracis: a molecular look at a famous pathogen].

    PubMed

    Pavan, María E; Pettinari, María J; Cairó, Fabián; Pavan, Esteban E; Cataldi, Angel A

    2011-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, a gram-positive rod belonging to the Bacillus cereus group, has an extremely monomorphic genome, and presents high structural and physiological similarity with B. cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. In this work, the new molecular methods for the identification and typing of B. anthracis developed in the last years, based on variable number tandem repeats or on genetic differences detected through sequencing, are described. The molecular aspects of traditional virulence factors: capsule, protective antigen, lethal factor and edema factor are described in depth, together with virulence factors recently proposed, such as the siderophores petrobactin and bacillibactin, the S-layer adhesin and the MntA lipoprotein. It is detailed the molecular organization of megaplasmids pXO1 and pXO2, including the pathogenicity island of pXO1. The genetic skeleton of these plasmids has been observed in related species, and this could be attributed to lateral gene transfer. Finally, the two anthrax toxin protective antigen receptors, ANTXR1/TEM8 and ANTXR2/CMG2, essential for the interaction of the pathogen with the host, are presented. The molecular studies performed in recent years have greatly increased knowledge in different aspects of this microorganism and its relationship with the host, but at the same time they have raised new questions about this noted pathogen. PMID:22274828

  14. Antimicrobial susceptibility of Bacillus anthracis strains from Hungary.

    PubMed

    Kreizinger, Zsuzsa; Sulyok, Kinga Mária; Makrai, László; Rónai, Zsuzsanna; Fodor, László; Jánosi, Szilárd; Gyuranecz, Miklós

    2016-06-01

    The susceptibility of 29 Bacillus anthracis strains, collected in Hungary between 1933 and 2014, was tested to 10 antibiotics with commercially available minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) test strips. All strains were susceptible to amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, doxycycline, gentamicin, penicillin, rifampicin, and vancomycin. Intermediate susceptibility to erythromycin and cefotaxime was detected in 17.2% (5/29) and 58.6% (17/29) of the strains, respectively. Correlations were not observed between the isolation date, location, host species, genotype, and antibiotic susceptibility profile of strains. PMID:27342086

  15. Molecular characterization of the circulating Bacillus anthracis in Jordan.

    PubMed

    Aqel, Amin Abdelfattah; Hailat, Ekhlas; Serrecchia, Luigina; Aqel, Suad; Campese, Emanuele; Vicari, Nadia; Fasanella, Antonio

    2015-12-01

    To understand the biomolecular charcteristics of Bacillus anthracis in Jordan, 20 blood smear slides from dead animals with suspected anthrax were analyzed using conventional and molecular approaches. All slides were positive for B. anthracis by conventional staining but no growth of the organism on selective media was detected. However, of the 20 samples, 16 were B. anthracis DNA-positive using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Seven samples provided enough quantity and quality of DNA, and their multilocus variable tandem repeat analysis (MLVA)-15 loci analysis revealed two different genotypes. All genotypes were belonging to A.B..r. 008/009 which is very common in Asia and Europe. Single nucleotide repeat (SNR) analysis revealed that there were no sub genotypes. Molecular diagnosis of animal anthrax in Jordan is not used routinely; henceforth, official diagnosis of anthrax is based on the observation of the slides by optical microscope and this can often cause reading errors. Therefore, the prevalence of the disease in Jordan might be slightly lower than that reported by the official bodies. PMID:26156620

  16. Formation and Composition of the Bacillus anthracis Endospore†

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Hongbin; Bergman, Nicholas H.; Thomason, Brendan; Shallom, Shamira; Hazen, Alyson; Crossno, Joseph; Rasko, David A.; Ravel, Jacques; Read, Timothy D.; Peterson, Scott N.; Yates III, John; Hanna, Philip C.

    2004-01-01

    The endospores of Bacillus anthracis are the infectious particles of anthrax. Spores are dormant bacterial morphotypes able to withstand harsh environments for decades, which contributes to their ability to be formulated and dispersed as a biological weapon. We monitored gene expression in B. anthracis during growth and sporulation using full genome DNA microarrays and matched the results against a comprehensive analysis of the mature anthrax spore proteome. A large portion (∼36%) of the B. anthracis genome is regulated in a growth phase-dependent manner, and this regulation is marked by five distinct waves of gene expression as cells proceed from exponential growth through sporulation. The identities of more than 750 proteins present in the spore were determined by multidimensional chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Comparison of data sets revealed that while the genes responsible for assembly and maturation of the spore are tightly regulated in discrete stages, many of the components ultimately found in the spore are expressed throughout and even before sporulation, suggesting that gene expression during sporulation may be mainly related to the physical construction of the spore, rather than synthesis of eventual spore content. The spore also contains an assortment of specialized, but not obviously related, metabolic and protective proteins. These findings contribute to our understanding of spore formation and function and will be useful in the detection, prevention, and early treatment of anthrax. This study also highlights the complementary nature of genomic and proteomic analyses and the benefits of combining these approaches in a single study. PMID:14679236

  17. Evaluation of tools for environmental sampling of Bacillus anthracis spores.

    PubMed

    Fujinami, Yoshihito; Hosokawa-Muto, Junji; Mizuno, Natsuko

    2015-12-01

    This study describes the validation of sampling techniques used to detect biological warfare agents used in terror attacks. For this purpose, we tested the efficiencies of different sampling media and extraction solutions for the recovery of bacterial pathogens. We first used Bacillus cereus ATCC 4342 spores as a surrogate for highly pathogenic B. anthracis to compare recovery efficiencies of spores from four different surfaces. We used three different types of sampling swabs and four different solutions to extract spores from the swabs. The most effective sampling method employed rayon swabs moistened with water. The efficencies of the four extraction solutions did not differ significantly, although yields were highest using phosphate-buffered saline containing Tween 80 (PBS-T). Using rayon swabs and sterile water, we recovered B. cereus ATCC 4342 and B. anthracis spores with equivalent efficiencies. These findings indicate that because of its reduced pathogenicity and relative ease in handling (Biosafety Level 1), use of B. cereus ATCC 4342 will facilitate further optimization of techniques to detect B. anthracis. PMID:26528669

  18. Genotype Analysis of Bacillus anthracis Strains Circulating in Bangladesh

    PubMed Central

    Rume, Farzana Islam; Affuso, Alessia; Serrecchia, Luigina; Rondinone, Valeria; Manzulli, Viviana; Campese, Emanuele; Di Taranto, Pietro; Biswas, Paritosh Kumar; Ahsan, Chowdhury Rafiqul; Yasmin, Mahmuda; Fasanella, Antonio; Hugh-Jones, Martin

    2016-01-01

    In Bangladesh, anthrax, caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is considered an endemic disease affecting ruminants with sporadic zoonotic occurrences in humans. Due to the lack of knowledge about risks from an incorrect removal of infected carcasses, the disease is not properly monitored, and because of the socio-economic conditions, the situation is under-reported and under-diagnosed. For sensitive species, anthrax represents a fatal outcome with sudden death and sometimes bleeding from natural orifices. The most common source of infection for ruminants is ingestion of spores during grazing in contaminated pastures or through grass and water contaminated with anthrax spores. Domestic cattle, sheep and goats can also become infected through contaminated bone meal (used as feed) originating from anthrax-infected carcasses. The present investigation was conducted to isolate B. anthracis organisms from 169 samples (73 soil, 1 tissue, 4 bone and 91 bone meal samples) collected from 12 different districts of Bangladesh. The sampling was carried out from 2012 to 2015. Twelve samples resulted positive for B. anthracis. Biomolecular analyses were conducted starting from the Canonical Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (CanSNP) to analyze the phylogenetic origin of strains. The analysis of genotype, obtained through the Multiple Locus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA) with the analysis of 15 Variable Number Tandem Repeats (VNTR), demonstrated four different genotypes: two of them were previously identified in the district of Sirajganj. The sub-genotyping, conducted with Single Nucleotide Repeats analysis, revealed the presence of eight subgenotypes. The data of the present study concluded that there was no observed correlation between imported cattle feed and anthrax occurrence in Bangladesh and that the remarkable genetic variations of B. anthracis were found in the soil of numerous outbreaks in this country. PMID:27082248

  19. Genotype Analysis of Bacillus anthracis Strains Circulating in Bangladesh.

    PubMed

    Rume, Farzana Islam; Affuso, Alessia; Serrecchia, Luigina; Rondinone, Valeria; Manzulli, Viviana; Campese, Emanuele; Di Taranto, Pietro; Biswas, Paritosh Kumar; Ahsan, Chowdhury Rafiqul; Yasmin, Mahmuda; Fasanella, Antonio; Hugh-Jones, Martin

    2016-01-01

    In Bangladesh, anthrax, caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is considered an endemic disease affecting ruminants with sporadic zoonotic occurrences in humans. Due to the lack of knowledge about risks from an incorrect removal of infected carcasses, the disease is not properly monitored, and because of the socio-economic conditions, the situation is under-reported and under-diagnosed. For sensitive species, anthrax represents a fatal outcome with sudden death and sometimes bleeding from natural orifices. The most common source of infection for ruminants is ingestion of spores during grazing in contaminated pastures or through grass and water contaminated with anthrax spores. Domestic cattle, sheep and goats can also become infected through contaminated bone meal (used as feed) originating from anthrax-infected carcasses. The present investigation was conducted to isolate B. anthracis organisms from 169 samples (73 soil, 1 tissue, 4 bone and 91 bone meal samples) collected from 12 different districts of Bangladesh. The sampling was carried out from 2012 to 2015. Twelve samples resulted positive for B. anthracis. Biomolecular analyses were conducted starting from the Canonical Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (CanSNP) to analyze the phylogenetic origin of strains. The analysis of genotype, obtained through the Multiple Locus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA) with the analysis of 15 Variable Number Tandem Repeats (VNTR), demonstrated four different genotypes: two of them were previously identified in the district of Sirajganj. The sub-genotyping, conducted with Single Nucleotide Repeats analysis, revealed the presence of eight subgenotypes. The data of the present study concluded that there was no observed correlation between imported cattle feed and anthrax occurrence in Bangladesh and that the remarkable genetic variations of B. anthracis were found in the soil of numerous outbreaks in this country. PMID:27082248

  20. Bacillus anthracis Multiplication, Persistence, and Genetic Exchange in the Rhizosphere of Grass Plants

    PubMed Central

    Saile, Elke; Koehler, Theresa M.

    2006-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is known for its rapid proliferation and dissemination in mammalian hosts. In contrast, little information exists regarding the lifestyle of this important pathogen outside of the host. Considering that Bacillus species, including close relatives of B. anthracis, are saprophytic soil organisms, we investigated the capacity of B. anthracis spores to germinate in the rhizosphere and to establish populations of vegetative cells that could support horizontal gene transfer in the soil. Using a simple grass plant-soil model system, we show that B. anthracis strains germinate on and around roots, growing in characteristic long filaments. From 2 to 4 days postinoculation, approximately one-half of the B. anthracis CFU recovered from soil containing grass seedlings arose from heat-sensitive organisms, while B. anthracis CFU retrieved from soil without plants consisted of primarily heat-resistant spores. Coinoculation of the plant-soil system with spores of a fertile B. anthracis strain carrying the tetracycline resistance plasmid pBC16 and a selectable B. anthracis recipient strain resulted in transfer of pBC16 from the donor to the recipient as early as 3 days postinoculation. Our findings demonstrate that B. anthracis can survive as a saprophyte outside of the host. The data suggest that horizontal gene transfer in the rhizosphere of grass plants may play a role in the evolution of the Bacillus cereus group species. PMID:16672454

  1. Genome Sequence of Bacillus anthracis Larissa, Associated with a Case of Cutaneous Anthrax in Greece

    PubMed Central

    Grass, Gregor; Hanczaruk, Matthias

    2015-01-01

    We report the genome sequence of Bacillus anthracis strain Larissa, isolated from a diseased sheep associated with a human case of cutaneous anthrax in Central Greece from 2012. Genome sequence analysis of strain Larissa may aid in describing phylogenetic relationships of B. anthracis isolates in Southeastern European countries. PMID:26564034

  2. Hal Is a Bacillus anthracis heme acquisition protein.

    PubMed

    Balderas, Miriam A; Nobles, Christopher L; Honsa, Erin S; Alicki, Embriette R; Maresso, Anthony W

    2012-10-01

    The metal iron is a limiting nutrient for bacteria during infection. Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax and a potential weapon of bioterrorism, grows rapidly in mammalian hosts, which suggests that it efficiently attains iron during infection. Recent studies have uncovered both heme (isd) and siderophore-mediated (asb) iron transport pathways in this pathogen. Whereas deletion of the asb genes results in reduced virulence, the loss of three surface components from isd had no effect, thereby leaving open the question of what additional factors in B. anthracis are responsible for iron uptake from the most abundant iron source for mammals, heme. Here, we describe the first functional characterization of bas0520, a gene recently implicated in anthrax disease progression. bas0520 encodes a single near-iron transporter (NEAT) domain and several leucine-rich repeats. The NEAT domain binds heme, despite lacking a stabilizing tyrosine common to the NEAT superfamily of hemoproteins. The NEAT domain also binds hemoglobin and can acquire heme from hemoglobin in solution. Finally, deletion of bas0520 resulted in bacilli unable to grow efficiently on heme or hemoglobin as an iron source and yielded the most significant phenotype relative to that for other putative heme uptake systems, a result that suggests that this protein plays a prominent role in the replication of B. anthracis in hematogenous environments. Thus, we have assigned the name of Hal (heme-acquisition leucine-rich repeat protein) to BAS0520. These studies advance our understanding of heme acquisition by this dangerous pathogen and justify efforts to determine the mechanistic function of this novel protein for vaccine or inhibitor development. PMID:22865843

  3. Genome Sequence of Bacillus anthracis Strain Stendal, Isolated from an Anthrax Outbreak in Cattle in Germany

    PubMed Central

    Elschner, Mandy; Gaede, Wolfgang; Schliephake, Annette; Grass, Gregor; Tomaso, Herbert

    2016-01-01

    In July 2012, an anthrax outbreak occurred among cattle in northern Germany resulting in ten losses. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of Bacillus anthracis strain Stendal, isolated from one of the diseased cows. PMID:27056225

  4. ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE TO INTENTIONAL DISSEMINATION OF BACILLUS ANTHRACIS SPORES IN THE UNITED STATES--2001

    EPA Science Inventory

    The intentional dissemination of Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores at multiple locations in the United States in the Fall of 2001 resulted not only in several deaths and illnesses (including psychological effects), but likely changed lifestyles and attitudes, and increased the ...

  5. Genetic analysis of petrobactin transport in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Carlson, Paul E; Dixon, Shandee D; Janes, Brian K; Carr, Katherine A; Nusca, Tyler D; Anderson, Erica C; Keene, Sarra E; Sherman, David H; Hanna, Philip C

    2010-02-01

    Iron acquisition mechanisms play an important role in the pathogenesis of many infectious microbes. In Bacillus anthracis, the siderophore petrobactin is required for both growth in iron-depleted conditions and for full virulence of the bacterium. Here we demonstrate the roles of two putative petrobactin binding proteins FatB and FpuA (encoded by GBAA5330 and GBAA4766 respectively) in B. anthracis iron acquisition and pathogenesis. Markerless deletion mutants were created using allelic exchange. The Delta fatB strain was capable of wild-type levels of growth in iron-depleted conditions, indicating that FatB does not play an essential role in petrobactin uptake. In contrast, Delta fpuA bacteria exhibited a significant decrease in growth under low-iron conditions when compared with wild-type bacteria. This mutant could not be rescued by the addition of exogenous purified petrobactin. Further examination of this strain demonstrated increased levels of petrobactin accumulation in the culture supernatants, suggesting no defect in siderophore synthesis or export but, instead, an inability of Delta fpuA to import this siderophore. Delta fpuA spores were also significantly attenuated in a murine model of inhalational anthrax. These results provide the first genetic evidence demonstrating the role of FpuA in petrobactin uptake. PMID:20487286

  6. Crystal structure of Bacillus anthracis transpeptidase enzyme CapD.

    SciTech Connect

    Wu, R.; Richter, S.; Zhang, R.; Anderson, V. J.; Missiakas, D.; Joachimiak, A.; Biosciences Division; Univ. of Chicago

    2009-09-04

    Bacillus anthracis elaborates a poly-{gamma}-d-glutamic acid capsule that protects bacilli from phagocytic killing during infection. The enzyme CapD generates amide bonds with peptidoglycan cross-bridges to anchor capsular material within the cell wall envelope of B. anthracis. The capsular biosynthetic pathway is essential for virulence during anthrax infections and can be targeted for anti-infective inhibition with small molecules. Here, we present the crystal structures of the {gamma}-glutamyltranspeptidase CapD with and without {alpha}-l-Glu-l-Glu dipeptide, a non-hydrolyzable analog of poly-{gamma}-d-glutamic acid, in the active site. Purified CapD displays transpeptidation activity in vitro, and its structure reveals an active site broadly accessible for poly-{gamma}-glutamate binding and processing. Using structural and biochemical information, we derive a mechanistic model for CapD catalysis whereby Pro{sup 427}, Gly{sup 428}, and Gly{sup 429} activate the catalytic residue of the enzyme, Thr{sup 352}, and stabilize an oxyanion hole via main chain amide hydrogen bonds.

  7. Bacillus anthracis genome organization in light of whole transcriptome sequencing

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, Jeffrey; Zhu, Wenhan; Passalacqua, Karla D.; Bergman, Nicholas; Borodovsky, Mark

    2010-03-22

    Emerging knowledge of whole prokaryotic transcriptomes could validate a number of theoretical concepts introduced in the early days of genomics. What are the rules connecting gene expression levels with sequence determinants such as quantitative scores of promoters and terminators? Are translation efficiency measures, e.g. codon adaptation index and RBS score related to gene expression? We used the whole transcriptome shotgun sequencing of a bacterial pathogen Bacillus anthracis to assess correlation of gene expression level with promoter, terminator and RBS scores, codon adaptation index, as well as with a new measure of gene translational efficiency, average translation speed. We compared computational predictions of operon topologies with the transcript borders inferred from RNA-Seq reads. Transcriptome mapping may also improve existing gene annotation. Upon assessment of accuracy of current annotation of protein-coding genes in the B. anthracis genome we have shown that the transcriptome data indicate existence of more than a hundred genes missing in the annotation though predicted by an ab initio gene finder. Interestingly, we observed that many pseudogenes possess not only a sequence with detectable coding potential but also promoters that maintain transcriptional activity.

  8. A Novel Multiplex PCR Discriminates Bacillus anthracis and Its Genetically Related Strains from Other Bacillus cereus Group Species

    PubMed Central

    Ogawa, Hirohito; Fujikura, Daisuke; Ohnuma, Miyuki; Ohnishi, Naomi; Hang'ombe, Bernard M.; Mimuro, Hitomi; Ezaki, Takayuki; Mweene, Aaron S.; Higashi, Hideaki

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax is an important zoonotic disease worldwide that is caused by Bacillus anthracis, a spore-forming pathogenic bacterium. A rapid and sensitive method to detect B. anthracis is important for anthrax risk management and control in animal cases to address public health issues. However, it has recently become difficult to identify B. anthracis by using previously reported molecular-based methods because of the emergence of B. cereus, which causes severe extra-intestinal infection, as well as the human pathogenic B. thuringiensis, both of which are genetically related to B. anthracis. The close genetic relation of chromosomal backgrounds has led to complexity of molecular-based diagnosis. In this study, we established a B. anthracis multiplex PCR that can screen for the presence of B. anthracis virulent plasmids and differentiate B. anthracis and its genetically related strains from other B. cereus group species. Six sets of primers targeting a chromosome of B. anthracis and B. anthracis-like strains, two virulent plasmids, pXO1 and pXO2, a bacterial gene, 16S rRNA gene, and a mammalian gene, actin-beta gene, were designed. The multiplex PCR detected approximately 3.0 CFU of B. anthracis DNA per PCR reaction and was sensitive to B. anthracis. The internal control primers also detected all bacterial and mammalian DNAs examined, indicating the practical applicability of this assay as it enables monitoring of appropriate amplification. The assay was also applied for detection of clinical strains genetically related to B. anthracis, which were B. cereus strains isolated from outbreaks of hospital infections in Japan, and field strains isolated in Zambia, and the assay differentiated B. anthracis and its genetically related strains from other B. cereus group strains. Taken together, the results indicate that the newly developed multiplex PCR is a sensitive and practical method for detecting B. anthracis. PMID:25774512

  9. Decontamination Options for Drinking Water Contaminated with Bacillus anthracis Spores

    SciTech Connect

    Raber, E; Burklund, A

    2010-02-16

    Five parameters were evaluated with surrogates of Bacillus anthracis spores to determine effective decontamination options for use in a contaminated drinking water supply. The parameters were: (1) type of Bacillus spore surrogate (B. thuringiensis or B. atrophaeus); (2) spore concentration in suspension (10{sup 2} to 10{sup 6} spores/ml); (3) chemical characteristics of decontaminant [sodium dicholor-s-triazinetrione dihydrate (Dichlor), hydrogen peroxide, potassium peroxymonosulfate (Oxone), sodium hypochlorite, and VirkonS{reg_sign}]; (4) decontaminant concentration (0.01% to 5%); and (5) decontaminant exposure time (10 min to 24 hr). Results from 162 suspension tests with appropriate controls are reported. Hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 5%, and Dichlor and sodium hypochlorite at a concentration of 2%, were effective at spore inactivation regardless of spore type tested, spore exposure time, or spore concentration evaluated. This is the first reported study of Dichlor as an effective decontaminant for B. anthracis spore surrogates. Dichlor's desirable characteristics of high oxidation potential, high level of free chlorine, and more neutral pH than that of other oxidizers evaluated appear to make it an excellent alternative. All three oxidizers were effective against B. atrophaeus spores in meeting EPA's biocide standard of greater than a 6 log kill after a 10-minute exposure time and at lower concentrations than typically reported for biocide use. Solutions of 5% VirkonS{reg_sign} and Oxone were less effective decontaminants than other options evaluated in this study and did not meet the EPA's efficacy standard for biocides. Differences in methods and procedures reported by other investigators make quantitative comparisons among studies difficult.

  10. The Pathogenomic Sequence Analysis of B. cereus and B. Thuringiensis isolates closely related to Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Han, C S; Xie, G; Challacombe, J F; Altherr, M R; Bhotika, S S; Bruce, D; Campbell, C S; Campbell, M L; Chen, J; Chertkov, O; Cleland, C; Dimitrijevic-Bussod, M; Doggett, N A; Fawcett, J J; Glavina, T; Goodwin, L A; Hill, K K; Hitchcock, P; Jackson, P J; Keim, P; Kewalramani, A R; Longmire, J; Lucas, S; Malfatti, S; McMurry, K; Meincke, L J; Misra, M; Moseman, B L; Mundt, M; Munk, A C; Okinaka, R T; Parson-Quintana, B; Reilly, L P; Richardson, P; Robinson, D L; Rubin, E; Saunders, E; Tapia, R; Tesmer, J G; Thayer, N; Thompson, L S; Tice, H; Ticknor, L O; Wills, P L; Gilna, P; Brettin, T S

    2005-10-12

    The sequencing and analysis of two close relatives of Bacillus anthracis are reported. AFLP analysis of over 300 isolates of B. cereus, B. thuringiensis and B. anthracis identified two isolates as being very closely related to B. anthracis. One, a B. cereus, BcE33L, was isolated from a zebra carcass in Nambia; the second, a B. thuringiensis, 97-27, was isolated from a necrotic human wound. The B. cereus appears to be the closest anthracis relative sequenced to date. A core genome of over 3,900 genes was compiled for the Bacillus cereus group, including B anthracis. Comparative analysis of these two genomes with other members of the B. cereus group provides insight into the evolutionary relationships among these organisms. Evidence is presented that differential regulation modulates virulence, rather than simple acquisition of virulence factors. These genome sequences provide insight into the molecular mechanisms contributing to the host range and virulence of this group of organisms.

  11. Development of a Rapid and Sensitive Immunoassay for Detection and Subsequent Recovery of Bacillus anthracis Spores in Environmental Samples

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bacillus anthracis is considered a major threat as an agent of bioterrorism. B. anthracis spores are readily dispersed as aerosols, are very persistent, and are resistant to normal disinfection treatments. Immunoassays have been developed to rapidly detect B. anthracis spores at high concentration...

  12. Distribution and molecular evolution of bacillus anthracis genotypes in Namibia.

    PubMed

    Beyer, Wolfgang; Bellan, Steve; Eberle, Gisela; Ganz, Holly H; Getz, Wayne M; Haumacher, Renate; Hilss, Karen A; Kilian, Werner; Lazak, Judith; Turner, Wendy C; Turnbull, Peter C B

    2012-01-01

    The recent development of genetic markers for Bacillus anthracis has made it possible to monitor the spread and distribution of this pathogen during and between anthrax outbreaks. In Namibia, anthrax outbreaks occur annually in the Etosha National Park (ENP) and on private game and livestock farms. We genotyped 384 B. anthracis isolates collected between 1983-2010 to identify the possible epidemiological correlations of anthrax outbreaks within and outside the ENP and to analyze genetic relationships between isolates from domestic and wild animals. The isolates came from 20 animal species and from the environment and were genotyped using a 31-marker multi-locus-VNTR-analysis (MLVA) and, in part, by twelve single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and four single nucleotide repeat (SNR) markers. A total of 37 genotypes (GT) were identified by MLVA, belonging to four SNP-groups. All GTs belonged to the A-branch in the cluster- and SNP-analyses. Thirteen GTs were found only outside the ENP, 18 only within the ENP and 6 both inside and outside. Genetic distances between isolates increased with increasing time between isolations. However, genetic distance between isolates at the beginning and end of the study period was relatively small, indicating that while the majority of GTs were only found sporadically, three genetically close GTs, accounting for more than four fifths of all the ENP isolates, appeared dominant throughout the study period. Genetic distances among isolates were significantly greater for isolates from different host species, but this effect was small, suggesting that while species-specific ecological factors may affect exposure processes, transmission cycles in different host species are still highly interrelated. The MLVA data were further used to establish a model of the probable evolution of GTs within the endemic region of the ENP. SNR-analysis was helpful in correlating an isolate with its source but did not elucidate epidemiological

  13. Genetic diversity among Bacillus anthracis soil isolates at fine geographic scales.

    PubMed

    Stratilo, Chad W; Bader, Douglas E

    2012-09-01

    Environmental samples were collected from carcass sites during and after anthrax outbreaks in 2000 and 2001 in the bison (Bison bison) population within Wood Buffalo National Park and the Hook Lake Region north of Wood Buffalo National Park. Bacillus anthracis spores were isolated from these samples and confirmed using phenotypic characterization and real-time PCR. Confirmed B. anthracis isolates were typed using multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA15) and single-nucleotide-repeat analysis (SNRA). B. anthracis isolates split into two clades based on MLVA15, while SNRA allowed some isolates between carcass sites to be distinguished from each other. SNRA polymorphisms were also present within a single carcass site. Some isolates from different carcass sites having the same SNRA type had divergent MLVA types; this finding leads to questions about hierarchical typing methods and the robustness of the fine-scale typing of Bacillus anthracis. PMID:22773624

  14. Synthetic and Crystallographic Studies of a New Inhibitor Series Targeting Bacillus anthracis Dihydrofolate Reductase

    SciTech Connect

    Beierlein, J.; Frey, K; Bolstad, D; Pelphrey, P; Joska, T; Smith, A; Priestley, N; Wright, D; Anderson, A

    2008-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, poses a significant biodefense danger. Serious limitations in approved therapeutics and the generation of resistance have produced a compelling need for new therapeutic agents against this organism. Bacillus anthracis is known to be insensitive to the clinically used antifolate, trimethoprim, because of a lack of potency against the dihydrofolate reductase enzyme. Herein, we describe a novel lead series of B. anthracis dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors characterized by an extended trimethoprim-like scaffold. The best lead compound adds only 22 Da to the molecular weight and is 82-fold more potent than trimethoprim. An X-ray crystal structure of this lead compound bound to B. anthracis dihydrofolate reductase in the presence of NADPH was determined to 2.25 A resolution. The structure reveals several features that can be exploited for further development of this lead series.

  15. Decontamination Efficacy and Skin Toxicity of Two Decontaminants against Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Stratilo, Chad W; Crichton, Melissa K F; Sawyer, Thomas W

    2015-01-01

    Decontamination of bacterial endospores such as Bacillus anthracis has traditionally required the use of harsh or caustic chemicals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a chlorine dioxide decontaminant in killing Bacillus anthracis spores in solution and on a human skin simulant (porcine cadaver skin), compared to that of commonly used sodium hypochlorite or soapy water decontamination procedures. In addition, the relative toxicities of these decontaminants were compared in human skin keratinocyte primary cultures. The chlorine dioxide decontaminant was similarly effective to sodium hypochlorite in reducing spore numbers of Bacillus anthracis Ames in liquid suspension after a 10 minute exposure. After five minutes, the chlorine dioxide product was significantly more efficacious. Decontamination of isolated swine skin contaminated with Bacillus anthracis Sterne with the chlorine dioxide product resulted in no viable spores sampled. The toxicity of the chlorine dioxide decontaminant was up to two orders of magnitude less than that of sodium hypochlorite in human skin keratinocyte cultures. In summary, the chlorine dioxide based decontaminant efficiently killed Bacillus anthracis spores in liquid suspension, as well as on isolated swine skin, and was less toxic than sodium hypochlorite in cultures of human skin keratinocytes. PMID:26394165

  16. Decontamination Efficacy and Skin Toxicity of Two Decontaminants against Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Stratilo, Chad W.; Crichton, Melissa K. F.; Sawyer, Thomas W.

    2015-01-01

    Decontamination of bacterial endospores such as Bacillus anthracis has traditionally required the use of harsh or caustic chemicals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a chlorine dioxide decontaminant in killing Bacillus anthracis spores in solution and on a human skin simulant (porcine cadaver skin), compared to that of commonly used sodium hypochlorite or soapy water decontamination procedures. In addition, the relative toxicities of these decontaminants were compared in human skin keratinocyte primary cultures. The chlorine dioxide decontaminant was similarly effective to sodium hypochlorite in reducing spore numbers of Bacillus anthracis Ames in liquid suspension after a 10 minute exposure. After five minutes, the chlorine dioxide product was significantly more efficacious. Decontamination of isolated swine skin contaminated with Bacillus anthracis Sterne with the chlorine dioxide product resulted in no viable spores sampled. The toxicity of the chlorine dioxide decontaminant was up to two orders of magnitude less than that of sodium hypochlorite in human skin keratinocyte cultures. In summary, the chlorine dioxide based decontaminant efficiently killed Bacillus anthracis spores in liquid suspension, as well as on isolated swine skin, and was less toxic than sodium hypochlorite in cultures of human skin keratinocytes. PMID:26394165

  17. THE BEHAVIOR OF BACILLUS ANTHRACIS STRAINS STERNE (AVIRULENT) AND AMES K01610 (VIRULENT) IN STERILE RAW GOUND BEEF

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The behavior of Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores, encompassing bacterial growth and death, was measured in sterile raw ground beef at storage temperatures, 2 degrees to 70 degrees C. Bacillus anthracis Sterne was killed at a slow rate of -0.003 to -0.014 log10 cfu/h at storage temperatures of 2 degr...

  18. Glyconanobiotics: Novel carbohydrated nanoparticle antibiotics for MRSA and Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Abeylath, Sampath C; Turos, Edward; Dickey, Sonja; Lim, Daniel V

    2008-03-01

    This report describes the synthesis and evaluation of glycosylated polyacrylate nanoparticles that have covalently-bound antibiotics within their framework. The requisite glycosylated drug monomers were prepared from one of three known antibiotics, an N-sec-butylthio beta-lactam, ciprofloxacin, and a penicillin, by acylation with 3-O-acryloyl-1,2-O-isopropylidene-5,6 bis((chlorosuccinyl)oxy)-d-glucofuranose (7) or 6-O-acetyl-3-O-acryloyl-1,2-O-isopropylidene-5-(chlorosuccinyl)oxy-alpha-d-glucofuranose (10). These acrylated monomers were subjected to emulsion polymerization in a 7:3 (w:w) mixture of butyl acrylate-styrene in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate as surfactant (3 weight %) and potassium persulfate as a radical initiator (1 weight %). The resulting nanoparticle emulsions were characterized by dynamic light scattering and found to have similar diameters ( approximately 40 nm) and size distributions to those of our previously studied systems. Microbiological testing showed that the N-sec-butylthio beta-lactam and ciprofloxacin nanoparticles both have powerful in vitro activities against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus anthracis, while the penicillin-bound nanoparticles have no antimicrobial activity. This indicates the need for matching a suitable antibiotic with the nanoparticle carrier. Overall, the study shows that even relatively large, polar acrylate monomers (MW>1000 amu) can be efficiently incorporated into the nanoparticle matrix by emulsion polymerization, providing opportunities for further advances in nanomedicine. PMID:18063370

  19. Glyconanobiotics: Novel carbohydrated nanoparticle antibiotics for MRSA and Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Abeylath, Sampath C.; Turos, Edward; Dickey, Sonja; Limb, Daniel V.

    2008-01-01

    This report describes the synthesis and evaluation of glycosylated polyacrylate nanoparticles that have covalently-bound antibiotics within their framework. The requisite glycosylated drug monomers were prepared from one of three known antibiotics, an N-sec-butylthio β-lactam, ciprofloxacin, and a penicillin, by acylation with 3-O-acryloyl-1,2-O-isopropylidene-5,6 bis((chlorosuccinyl)oxy)-D-glucofuranose (7) or 6-O-acetyl-3-O-acryloyl-1,2-O-isopropylidene-5-(chlorosuccinyl)oxy-α-D-glucofuranose (10). These acrylated monomers were subjected to emulsion polymerization in a 7:3 (w:w) mixture of butyl acrylate-styrene in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate as surfactant (3 weight %) and potassium persulfate as a radical initiator (1 weight %). The resulting nanoparticle emulsions were characterized by dynamic light scattering and found to have similar diameters (~40 nm) and size distributions to those of our previously studied systems. Microbiological testing showed that the N-sec-butylthio β-lactam and ciprofloxacin nanoparticles both have powerful in vitro activities against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus anthracis, while the penicillin-bound nanoparticles have no antimicrobial activity. This indicates the need for matching a suitable antibiotic with the nanoparticle carrier. Overall, the study shows that even relatively large, polar acrylate monomers (MW>1000 amu) can be efficiently incorporated into the nanoparticle matrix by emulsion polymerization, providing opportunities for further advances in nanomedicine. PMID:18063370

  20. Scalable purification of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen from Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Gwinn, William; Zhang, Mei; Mon, Sandii; Sampey, Darryl; Zukauskas, David; Kassebaum, Corby; Zmuda, Jonathan F; Tsai, Amos; Laird, Michael W

    2006-01-01

    The anthrax toxin consists of three proteins, protective antigen (PA), lethal factor, and edema factor that are produced by the Gram-positive bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. Current vaccines against anthrax use PA as their primary component. In this study, we developed a scalable process to produce and purify multi-gram quantities of highly pure, recombinant PA (rPA) from Escherichia coli. The rPA protein was produced in a 50-L fermentor and purified to >99% purity using anion-exchange, hydrophobic interaction, and hydroxyapatite chromatography. The final yield of purified rPA from medium cell density fermentations resulted in approximately 2.7 g of rPA per kg of cell paste (approximately 270 mg/L) of highly pure, biologically active rPA protein. The results presented here exhibit the ability to generate multi-gram quantities of rPA from E. coli that may be used for the development of new anthrax vaccines and anthrax therapeutics. PMID:15935696

  1. Structure of nicotinic acid mononucleotide adenylyltransferase from Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Shanyun; Smith, Craig D.; Yang, Zhengrong; Pruett, Pamela S.; Nagy, Lisa; McCombs, Deborah; DeLucas, Lawrence J.; Brouillette, Wayne J.; Brouillette, Christie G.

    2008-01-01

    Nicotinic acid mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (NaMNAT; EC 2.7.7.18) is the penultimate enzyme in the biosynthesis of NAD+ and catalyzes the adenylation of nicotinic acid mononucleotide (NaMN) by ATP to form nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide (NaAD). This enzyme is regarded as a suitable candidate for antibacterial drug development; as such, Bacillus anthracis NaMNAT (BA NaMNAT) was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli for the purpose of inhibitor discovery and crystallography. The crystal structure of BA NaMNAT was determined by molecular replacement, revealing two dimers per asymmetric unit, and was refined to an R factor and R free of 0.228 and 0.263, respectively, at 2.3 Å resolution. The structure is very similar to that of B. subtilis NaMNAT (BS NaMNAT), which is also a dimer, and another independently solved structure of BA NaMNAT recently released from the PDB along with two ligated forms. Comparison of these and other less related bacterial NaMNAT structures support the presence of considerable conformational heterogeneity and flexibility in three loops surrounding the substrate-binding area. PMID:18931430

  2. Structure of nicotinic acid mononucleotide adenylyltransferase from Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Lu, S.; Smith, C.; Yang, Z.; Pruett, P.; Nagy, L.; McCombs, D; DeLucas, L.; Brouillette, W.; Brouillette, C.

    2008-11-25

    Nicotinic acid mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (NaMNAT; EC 2.7.7.18) is the penultimate enzyme in the biosynthesis of NAD{sup +} and catalyzes the adenylation of nicotinic acid mononucleotide (NaMN) by ATP to form nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide (NaAD). This enzyme is regarded as a suitable candidate for antibacterial drug development; as such, Bacillus anthracis NaMNAT (BA NaMNAT) was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli for the purpose of inhibitor discovery and crystallography. The crystal structure of BA NaMNAT was determined by molecular replacement, revealing two dimers per asymmetric unit, and was refined to an R factor and R{sub free} of 0.228 and 0.263, respectively, at 2.3 {angstrom} resolution. The structure is very similar to that of B. subtilis NaMNAT (BS NaMNAT), which is also a dimer, and another independently solved structure of BA NaMNAT recently released from the PDB along with two ligated forms. Comparison of these and other less related bacterial NaMNAT structures support the presence of considerable conformational heterogeneity and flexibility in three loops surrounding the substrate-binding area.

  3. The Complete Genome Sequence of Bacillus anthracis Ames “Ancestor”▿

    PubMed Central

    Ravel, Jacques; Jiang, Lingxia; Stanley, Scott T.; Wilson, Mark R.; Decker, R. Scott; Read, Timothy D.; Worsham, Patricia; Keim, Paul S.; Salzberg, Steven L.; Fraser-Liggett, Claire M.; Rasko, David A.

    2009-01-01

    The pathogenic bacterium Bacillus anthracis has become the subject of intense study as a result of its use in a bioterrorism attack in the United States in September and October 2001. Previous studies suggested that B. anthracis Ames Ancestor, the original Ames fully virulent plasmid-containing isolate, was the ideal reference. This study describes the complete genome sequence of that original isolate, derived from a sample kept in cold storage since 1981. PMID:18952800

  4. Identification and Validation of Specific Markers of Bacillus anthracis Spores by Proteomics and Genomics Approaches*

    PubMed Central

    Chenau, Jérôme; Fenaille, François; Caro, Valérie; Haustant, Michel; Diancourt, Laure; Klee, Silke R.; Junot, Christophe; Ezan, Eric; Goossens, Pierre L.; Becher, François

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis is the causative bacteria of anthrax, an acute and often fatal disease in humans. The infectious agent, the spore, represents a real bioterrorism threat and its specific identification is crucial. However, because of the high genomic relatedness within the Bacillus cereus group, it is still a real challenge to identify B. anthracis spores confidently. Mass spectrometry-based tools represent a powerful approach to the efficient discovery and identification of such protein markers. Here we undertook comparative proteomics analyses of Bacillus anthracis, cereus and thuringiensis spores to identify proteoforms unique to B. anthracis. The marker discovery pipeline developed combined peptide- and protein-centric approaches using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry experiments using a high resolution/high mass accuracy LTQ-Orbitrap instrument. By combining these data with those from complementary bioinformatics approaches, we were able to highlight a dozen novel proteins consistently observed across all the investigated B. anthracis spores while being absent in B. cereus/thuringiensis spores. To further demonstrate the relevance of these markers and their strict specificity to B. anthracis, the number of strains studied was extended to 55, by including closely related strains such as B. thuringiensis 9727, and above all the B. cereus biovar anthracis CI, CA strains that possess pXO1- and pXO2-like plasmids. Under these conditions, the combination of proteomics and genomics approaches confirms the pertinence of 11 markers. Genes encoding these 11 markers are located on the chromosome, which provides additional targets complementary to the commonly used plasmid-encoded markers. Last but not least, we also report the development of a targeted liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry method involving the selection reaction monitoring mode for the monitoring of the 4 most suitable protein markers. Within a proof

  5. PemK Toxin of Bacillus anthracis Is a Ribonuclease

    PubMed Central

    Agarwal, Shivangi; Mishra, Neeraj Kumar; Bhatnagar, Sonika; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2010-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis genome harbors a toxin-antitoxin (TA) module encoding pemI (antitoxin) and pemK (toxin). This study describes the rPemK as a potent ribonuclease with a preference for pyrimidines (C/U), which is consistent with our previous study that demonstrated it as a translational attenuator. The in silico structural modeling of the PemK in conjunction with the site-directed mutagenesis confirmed the role of His-59 and Glu-78 as an acid-base couple in mediating the ribonuclease activity. The rPemK is shown to form a complex with the rPemI, which is in line with its function as a TA module. This rPemI-rPemK complex becomes catalytically inactive when both the proteins interact in a molar stoichiometry of 1. The rPemI displays vulnerability to proteolysis but attains conformational stability only upon rPemK interaction. The pemI-pemK transcript is shown to be up-regulated upon stress induction with a concomitant increase in the amount of PemK and a decline in the PemI levels, establishing the role of these modules in stress. The artificial perturbation of TA interaction could unleash the toxin, executing bacterial cell death. Toward this end, synthetic peptides are designed to disrupt the TA interaction. The peptides are shown to be effective in abrogating TA interaction in micromolar range in vitro. This approach can be harnessed as a potential antibacterial strategy against anthrax in the future. PMID:20022964

  6. Immunomagnetic capture of Bacillus anthracis spores from food.

    PubMed

    Shields, Michael J; Hahn, Kristen R; Janzen, Timothy W; Goji, Noriko; Thomas, Matthew C; Kingombe, Cesar Bin I; Paquet, Chantal; Kell, Arnold J; Amoako, Kingsley K

    2012-07-01

    Food is a vulnerable target for potential bioterrorist attacks; therefore, a critical mitigation strategy is needed for the rapid concentration and detection of biothreat agents from food matrices. Magnetic beads offer a unique advantage in that they have a large surface area for efficient capture of bacteria. We have demonstrated the efficient capture and concentration of Bacillus anthracis (Sterne) spores using immunomagnetic beads for a potential food application. Magnetic beads from three different sources, with varying sizes and surface chemistries, were functionalized with monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal antibodies from commercial sources and used to capture and concentrate anthrax spores from spiked food matrices, including milk, apple juice, bagged salad, processed meat, and bottled water. The results indicated that the Pathatrix beads were more effective in the binding and capture of anthrax spores than the other two bead types investigated. Furthermore, it was observed that the use of polyclonal antibodies resulted in a more efficient recovery of anthrax spores than the use of monoclonal antibodies. Three different magnetic capture methods, inversion, the Pathatrix Auto system, and the new i CropTheBug system, were investigated. The i CropTheBug system yielded a much higher recovery of spores than the Pathatrix Auto system. Spore recoveries ranged from 80 to 100% for the i CropTheBug system when using pure spore preparations, whereas the Pathatrix Auto system had recoveries from 20 to 30%. Spore capture from food samples inoculated at a level of 1 CFU/ml resulted in 80 to 100% capture for milk, bottled water, and juice samples and 60 to 80% for processed meat and bagged salad when using the i CropTheBug system. This efficient capture of anthrax spores at very low concentrations without enrichment has the potential to enhance the sensitivity of downstream detection technologies and will be a useful method in a foodborne bioterrorism response. PMID

  7. Real-Time PCR Assay for a Unique Chromosomal Sequence of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Bode, Elizabeth; Hurtle, William; Norwood, David

    2004-01-01

    Real-time PCR has become an important method for the rapid identification of Bacillus anthracis since the 2001 anthrax mailings. Most real-time PCR assays for B. anthracis have been developed to detect virulence genes located on the pXO1 and pXO2 plasmids. In contrast, only two published chromosomal targets exist, the rpoB gene and the gyrA gene. In the present study, subtraction-hybridization with a plasmid-cured B. anthracis tester strain and a Bacillus cereus driver was used to find a unique chromosomal sequence. By targeting this region, a real-time assay was developed with the Ruggedized Advanced Pathogen Identification Device. Further testing has revealed that the assay has 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity, with a limit of detection of 50 fg of DNA. The results of a search for sequences with homology with the BLAST program demonstrated significant alignment to the recently published B. anthracis Ames strain, while an inquiry for protein sequence similarities indicated homology with an abhydrolase from B. anthracis strain A2012. The importance of this chromosomal assay will be to verify the presence of B. anthracis independently of plasmid occurrence. PMID:15583318

  8. Daptomycin exerts rapid bactericidal activity against Bacillus anthracis without disrupting membrane integrity

    PubMed Central

    Xing, Yu-hua; Wang, Wei; Dai, Su-qin; Liu, Ti-yan; Tan, Jun-jie; Qu, Guo-long; Li, Yu-xia; Ling, Yan; Liu, Gang; Fu, Xue-qi; Chen, Hui-peng

    2014-01-01

    Aim: To examine whether the novel cyclic lipopeptide antibiotic daptomycin could be used to treat anthrax and to study the mechanisms underlying its bactericidal action against Bacillus anthracis. Methods: Spore-forming B anthracis AP422 was tested. MIC values of antibiotics were determined. Cell membrane potential was measured using flow cytometric assays with membrane potential-sensitive fluorescent dyes. Cell membrane integrity was detected using To-Pro-3 iodide staining and transmission electron microscopy. K+ efflux and Na+ influx were measured using the fluorescent probes PBFI and SBFI-AM, respectively. Results: Daptomycin exhibited rapid bactericidal activity against vegetative B anthracis with a MIC value of 0.78 μg/mL, which was comparable to those of ciprofloxacin and penicillin G. Furthermore, daptomycin prevented the germinated spores from growing into vegetative bacteria. Daptomycin concentration-dependently dissipated the membrane potential of B anthracis and caused K+ efflux and Na+ influx without disrupting membrane integrity. In contrast, both ciprofloxacin and penicillin G did not change the membrane potential of vegetative bacteria or spores. Penicillin G disrupted membrane integrity of B anthracis, whereas ciprofloxacin had no such effect. Conclusion: Daptomycin exerts rapid bactericidal action against B anthracis via reducing membrane potential without disrupting membrane integrity. This antibiotic can be used as an alternate therapy for B anthracis infections. PMID:24362329

  9. Structures of two superoxide dismutases from Bacillus anthracis reveal a novel active centre

    SciTech Connect

    Boucher, Ian W.; Kalliomaa, Anne K.; Levdikov, Vladimir M.; Blagova, Elena V.; Fogg, Mark J.; Brannigan, James A. Wilson, Keith S.; Wilkinson, Anthony J.

    2005-07-01

    The crystal structures of two manganese superoxide dismutases from B. anthracis were solved by X-ray crystallography using molecular replacement. The BA4499 and BA5696 genes of Bacillus anthracis encode proteins homologous to manganese superoxide dismutase, suggesting that this organism has an expanded repertoire of antioxidant proteins. Differences in metal specificity and quaternary structure between the dismutases of prokaryotes and higher eukaryotes may be exploited in the development of therapeutic antibacterial compounds. Here, the crystal structure of two Mn superoxide dismutases from B. anthracis solved to high resolution are reported. Comparison of their structures reveals that a highly conserved residue near the active centre is substituted in one of the proteins and that this is a characteristic feature of superoxide dismutases from the B. cereus/B. anthracis/B. thuringiensis group of organisms.

  10. Colonic Immune Suppression, Barrier Dysfunction, and Dysbiosis by Gastrointestinal Bacillus anthracis Infection

    PubMed Central

    Sahay, Bikash; Zadeh, Mojgan; Cheng, Sam X.; Wang, Gary P.; Owen, Jennifer L.; Mohamadzadeh, Mansour

    2014-01-01

    Gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax results from the ingestion of Bacillus anthracis. Herein, we investigated the pathogenesis of GI anthrax in animals orally infected with toxigenic non-encapsulated B. anthracis Sterne strain (pXO1+ pXO2−) spores that resulted in rapid animal death. B. anthracis Sterne induced significant breakdown of intestinal barrier function and led to gut dysbiosis, resulting in systemic dissemination of not only B. anthracis, but also of commensals. Disease progression significantly correlated with the deterioration of innate and T cell functions. Our studies provide critical immunologic and physiologic insights into the pathogenesis of GI anthrax infection, whereupon cleavage of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in immune cells may play a central role in promoting dysfunctional immune responses against this deadly pathogen. PMID:24945934

  11. Glycosylation of BclA Glycoprotein from Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis Exosporium Is Domain-specific.

    PubMed

    Maes, Emmanuel; Krzewinski, Frederic; Garenaux, Estelle; Lequette, Yannick; Coddeville, Bernadette; Trivelli, Xavier; Ronse, Annette; Faille, Christine; Guerardel, Yann

    2016-04-29

    The spores of the Bacillus cereus group (B. cereus, Bacillus anthracis, and Bacillus thuringiensis) are surrounded by a paracrystalline flexible yet resistant layer called exosporium that plays a major role in spore adhesion and virulence. The major constituent of its hairlike surface, the trimerized glycoprotein BclA, is attached to the basal layer through an N-terminal domain. It is then followed by a repetitive collagen-like neck bearing a globular head (C-terminal domain) that promotes glycoprotein trimerization. The collagen-like region of B. anthracis is known to be densely substituted by unusual O-glycans that may be used for developing species-specific diagnostics of B. anthracis spores and thus targeted therapeutic interventions. In the present study, we have explored the species and domain specificity of BclA glycosylation within the B. cereus group. First, we have established that the collagen-like regions of both B. anthracis and B. cereus are similarly substituted by short O-glycans that bear the species-specific deoxyhexose residues anthrose and the newly observed cereose, respectively. Second we have discovered that the C-terminal globular domains of BclA from both species are substituted by polysaccharide-like O-linked glycans whose structures are also species-specific. The presence of large carbohydrate polymers covering the surface of Bacillus spores may have a profound impact on the way that spores regulate their interactions with biotic and abiotic surfaces and represents potential new diagnostic targets. PMID:26921321

  12. Siderophore-mediated iron acquisition in Bacillus anthracis and related strains.

    PubMed

    Hotta, Kinya; Kim, Chu-Young; Fox, David T; Koppisch, Andrew T

    2010-07-01

    Recent observations have shed light on some of the endogenous iron-acquisition mechanisms of members of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group. In particular, pathogens in the B. cereus group use siderophores with both unique chemical structures and biological roles. This review will focus on recent discoveries in siderophore biosynthesis and biology in this group, which contains numerous human pathogens, most notably the causative agent of anthrax, Bacillus anthracis. PMID:20466767

  13. Removal of Bacillus anthracis sterne spore from commercial unpasteurized liquid egg white using crossflow microfiltration

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Current pasteurization technology used by the egg industry is ineffective for destruction of spores such as those of Bacillus anthracis (BA). The validity of a cross-flow microfiltration (MF) process for separation of the attenuated strain of BA (Sterne) spores from commercial unpasteurized liquid ...

  14. Feeding Anthrax: The Crystal Structure of Bacillus anthracis InhA Protease.

    PubMed

    Schacherl, Magdalena; Baumann, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Pathogenic bacteria secrete proteases to evade host defense and to acquire nutrients. In this issue of Structure, Arolas et al. (2016) describe the structural basis of activation and latency of InhA, a major secreted protease of Bacillus anthracis. PMID:26745525

  15. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Bacillus anthracis Strains from Etosha National Park, Namibia

    PubMed Central

    Valseth, Karoline; Nesbø, Camilla L.; Easterday, W. Ryan; Turner, Wendy C.; Olsen, Jaran S.; Stenseth, Nils C.

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis strains K1 and K2 were isolated from two plains zebra anthrax carcasses in Etosha National Park, Namibia. These are draft genomes obtained by Illumina MiSeq sequencing of isolates collected from culture of blood-soaked soil from each carcass. PMID:27563043

  16. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Bacillus anthracis Strains from Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    PubMed

    Valseth, Karoline; Nesbø, Camilla L; Easterday, W Ryan; Turner, Wendy C; Olsen, Jaran S; Stenseth, Nils C; Haverkamp, Thomas H A

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis strains K1 and K2 were isolated from two plains zebra anthrax carcasses in Etosha National Park, Namibia. These are draft genomes obtained by Illumina MiSeq sequencing of isolates collected from culture of blood-soaked soil from each carcass. PMID:27563043

  17. Beta-lactamase gene expression in a penicillin-resistant Bacillus anthracis strain.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yahua; Tenover, Fred C; Koehler, Theresa M

    2004-12-01

    Expression of the bla1 and bla2 genes in an archetypal Bacillus anthracis strain is insufficient for penicillin resistance. In a penicillin-resistant clinical isolate, both genes are highly transcribed, but bla1 is the major contributor to high-level resistance to ampicillin. Differential expression of the bla genes is dependent upon strain background. PMID:15561870

  18. DETECTION AND FATE OF BACILLUS ANTHRACIS (STERNE) VEGETATIVE CELLS AND SPORES ADDED TO BULK TANK MILK

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A preparation of spores of Bacillus anthracis (Sterne strain) was utilized to evaluate commercially available reagents and portable equipment for detecting anthrax contamination using real time PCR and to assess the fate of spores added directly to bulk tank milk. The Ruggedized Automated Pathogen ...

  19. Peptidoglycan N-acetylglucosamine deacetylases from Bacillus cereus, highly conserved proteins in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Psylinakis, Emmanuel; Boneca, Ivo G; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Deli, Alexandra; Hayhurst, Emma; Foster, Simon J; Vårum, Kjell M; Bouriotis, Vassilis

    2005-09-01

    The genomes of Bacillus cereus and its closest relative Bacillus anthracis contain 10 polysaccharide deacetylase homologues. Six of these homologues have been proposed to be peptidoglycan N-acetylglucosamine deacetylases. Two of these genes, namely bc1960 and bc3618, have been cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant enzymes have been purified to homogeneity and further characterized. Both enzymes were effective in deacetylating cell wall peptidoglycan from the Gram(+) Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis and the Gram(-) Helicobacter pylori as well as soluble chitin substrates and N-acetylchitooligomers. However, the enzymes were not active on acetylated xylan. These results provide insight into the substrate specificity of carbohydrate esterase family 4 enzymes. It was revealed that both enzymes deacetylated only the GlcNAc residue of the synthetic muropeptide N-acetyl-D-glucosamine-(beta-1,4)-N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine-D-isoglutamine. Analysis of the constituent muropeptides of peptidoglycan from B. subtilis and H. pylori resulting from incubation of the enzymes BC1960 and BC3618 with these polymers and subsequent hydrolysis by Cellosyl and mutanolysin, respectively, similarly revealed that both enzymes deacetylate GlcNAc residues of peptidoglycan. Kinetic analysis toward GlcNAc(2-6) revealed that GlcNAc4 was the favorable substrate for both enzymes. Identification of the sequence of N-acetychitooligosaccharides (GlcNAc(2-4)) following enzymatic deacetylation by using 1H NMR revealed that both enzymes deacetylate all GlcNAc residues of the oligomers except the reducing end ones. Enzymatic deacetylation of chemically acetylated vegetative peptidoglycan from B. cereus by BC1960 and BC3618 resulted in increased resistance to lysozyme digestion. This is the first biochemical study of bacterial peptidoglycan N-acetylglucosamine deacetylases. PMID:15961396

  20. Bacillus thuringiensis as a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis in aerosol research.

    PubMed

    Tufts, Jenia A M; Calfee, M Worth; Lee, Sang Don; Ryan, Shawn P

    2014-05-01

    Characterization of candidate surrogate spores prior to experimental use is critical to confirm that the surrogate characteristics are as closely similar as possible to those of the pathogenic agent of interest. This review compares the physical properties inherent to spores of Bacillus anthracis (Ba) and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that impact their movement in air and interaction with surfaces, including size, shape, density, surface morphology, structure and hydrophobicity. Also evaluated is the impact of irradiation on the physical properties of both Bacillus species. Many physical features of Bt and Ba have been found to be similar and, while Bt is considered typically non-pathogenic, it is in the B. cereus group, as is Ba. When cultured and sporulated under similar conditions, both microorganisms share a similar cylindrical pellet shape, an aerodynamic diameter of approximately 1 μm (in the respirable size range), have an exosporium with a hairy nap, and have higher relative hydrophobicities than other Bacillus species. While spore size, morphology, and other physical properties can vary among strains of the same species, the variations can be due to growth/sporulation conditions and may, therefore, be controlled. Growth and sporulation conditions are likely among the most important factors that influence the representativeness of one species, or preparation, to another. All Bt spores may, therefore, not be representative of all Ba spores. Irradiated spores do not appear to be a good surrogate to predict the behavior of non-irradiated spores due to structural damage caused by the irradiation. While the use of Bt as a surrogate for Ba in aerosol testing appears to be well supported, this review does not attempt to narrow selection between Bt strains. Comparative studies should be performed to test the hypothesis that viable Ba and Bt spores will behave similarly when suspended in the air (as an aerosol) and to compare the known microscale characteristics

  1. Rapid detection methods for Bacillus anthracis in environmental samples: a review.

    PubMed

    Irenge, Léonid M; Gala, Jean-Luc

    2012-02-01

    Bacillus anthracis is a Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium, which causes anthrax, an often lethal disease of animals and humans. Although the disease has been well studied since the nineteenth century, it has witnessed a renewed interest during the past decade, due to its use as a bioterrorist agent in the fall of 2001 in the USA. A number of techniques aimed at rapidly detecting B. anthracis, in environmental samples as well as in point-of-care settings for humans suspected of exposure to the pathogen, are now available. These technologies range from culture-based methods to portable DNA amplification devices. Despite recent developments, specific identification of B. anthracis still remains difficult because of its phenotypic and genotypic similarities with other Bacillus species. Accordingly, many efforts are being made to improve the specificity of B. anthracis identification. This mini-review discusses the current challenges around B. anthracis identification, not only in reach-back laboratories but also in the field (in operational conditions). PMID:22262227

  2. Role of luxS in Bacillus anthracis growth and virulence factor expression

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, Scott N; Benn, Rosslyn; Braisted, John C; Jarrahi, Behnam; Shatzkes, Kenneth; Ren, Dacheng; Wood, Thomas K; Blaser, Martin J

    2010-01-01

    Quorum-sensing (QS), the regulation of bacterial gene expression in response to changes in cell density, involves pathways that synthesize signaling molecules (auto-inducers). The luxS/AI-2-mediated QS system has been identified in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, possesses genes involved in luxS/AI-2-mediated QS, and deletion of luxS in B. anthracis Sterne strain 34F2 results in inhibition of AI-2 synthesis and a growth defect. In the present study, we created a ΔluxS B. anthracis strain complemented in trans by insertion of a cassette, including luxS and a gene encoding erythromycin resistance, into the truncated plcR regulator locus. The complemented ΔluxS strain has restored AI-2 synthesis and wild-type growth. A B. anthracis microarray study revealed consistent differential gene expression between the wild-type and ΔluxS strain, including downregulation of the B. anthracis S-layer protein gene EA1 and pXO1 virulence genes. These data indicate that B. anthracis may use luxS/AI-2-mediated QS to regulate growth, density-dependent gene expression and virulence factor expression. PMID:21178420

  3. Circulating lethal toxin decreases the ability of neutrophils to respond to Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Weiner, Zachary P; Ernst, Stephen M; Boyer, Anne E; Gallegos-Candela, Maribel; Barr, John R; Glomski, Ian J

    2014-04-01

    Polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMNs) play a protective role during Bacillus anthracis infection. However, B. anthracis is able to subvert the PMN response effectively as evidenced by the high mortality rates of anthrax. One major virulence factor produced by B. anthracis, lethal toxin (LT), is necessary for dissemination in the BSL2 model of mouse infection. While human and mouse PMNs kill vegetative B. anthracis, short in vitro half-lives of PMNs have made it difficult to determine how or if LT alters their bactericidal function. Additionally, the role of LT intoxication on PMN's ability to migrate to inflammatory signals remains controversial. LF concentrations in both serum and major organs were determined from mice infected with B. anthracis Sterne strain at defined stages of infection to guide subsequent administration of purified toxin. Bactericidal activity of PMNs assessed using ex vivo cell culture assays showed significant defects in killing B. anthracis. In vivo PMN recruitment to inflammatory stimuli was significantly impaired at 24 h as assessed by real-time analysis of light-producing PMNs within the mouse. The observations described above suggest that LT serves dual functions; it both attenuates accumulation of PMNs at sites of inflammation and impairs PMNs bactericidal activity against vegetative B. anthracis. PMID:24152301

  4. Inflammatory cytokine response to Bacillus anthracis peptidoglycan requires phagocytosis and lysosomal trafficking.

    PubMed

    Iyer, Janaki K; Khurana, Taruna; Langer, Marybeth; West, Christopher M; Ballard, Jimmy D; Metcalf, Jordan P; Merkel, Tod J; Coggeshall, K Mark

    2010-06-01

    During advanced stages of inhalation anthrax, Bacillus anthracis accumulates at high levels in the bloodstream of the infected host. This bacteremia leads to sepsis during late-stage anthrax; however, the mechanisms through which B. anthracis-derived factors contribute to the pathology of infected hosts are poorly defined. Peptidoglycan, a major component of the cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria, can provoke symptoms of sepsis in animal models. We have previously shown that peptidoglycan of B. anthracis can induce the production of proinflammatory cytokines by cells in human blood. Here, we show that biologically active peptidoglycan is shed from an active culture of encapsulated B. anthracis strain Ames in blood. Peptidoglycan is able to bind to surfaces of responding cells, and internalization of peptidoglycan is required for the production of inflammatory cytokines. We also show that the peptidoglycan traffics to lysosomes, and lysosomal function is required for cytokine production. We conclude that peptidoglycan of B. anthracis is initially bound by an unknown extracellular receptor, is phagocytosed, and traffics to lysosomes, where it is degraded to a product recognized by an intracellular receptor. Binding of the peptidoglycan product to the intracellular receptor causes a proinflammatory response. These findings provide new insight into the mechanism by which B. anthracis triggers sepsis during a critical stage of anthrax disease. PMID:20308305

  5. The Secret Life of the Anthrax Agent Bacillus anthracis: Bacteriophage-Mediated Ecological Adaptations

    PubMed Central

    Schuch, Raymond; Fischetti, Vincent A.

    2009-01-01

    Ecological and genetic factors that govern the occurrence and persistence of anthrax reservoirs in the environment are obscure. A central tenet, based on limited and often conflicting studies, has long held that growing or vegetative forms of Bacillus anthracis survive poorly outside the mammalian host and must sporulate to survive in the environment. Here, we present evidence of a more dynamic lifecycle, whereby interactions with bacterial viruses, or bacteriophages, elicit phenotypic alterations in B. anthracis and the emergence of infected derivatives, or lysogens, with dramatically altered survival capabilities. Using both laboratory and environmental B. anthracis strains, we show that lysogeny can block or promote sporulation depending on the phage, induce exopolysaccharide expression and biofilm formation, and enable the long-term colonization of both an artificial soil environment and the intestinal tract of the invertebrate redworm, Eisenia fetida. All of the B. anthracis lysogens existed in a pseudolysogenic-like state in both the soil and worm gut, shedding phages that could in turn infect non-lysogenic B. anthracis recipients and confer survival phenotypes in those environments. Finally, the mechanism behind several phenotypic changes was found to require phage-encoded bacterial sigma factors and the expression of at least one host-encoded protein predicted to be involved in the colonization of invertebrate intestines. The results here demonstrate that during its environmental phase, bacteriophages provide B. anthracis with alternatives to sporulation that involve the activation of soil-survival and endosymbiotic capabilities. PMID:19672290

  6. Bacillus anthracis comparative genome analysis in support of the Amerithrax investigation

    PubMed Central

    Rasko, David A.; Worsham, Patricia L.; Abshire, Terry G.; Stanley, Scott T.; Bannan, Jason D.; Wilson, Mark R.; Langham, Richard J.; Decker, R. Scott; Jiang, Lingxia; Read, Timothy D.; Phillippy, Adam M.; Salzberg, Steven L.; Pop, Mihai; Van Ert, Matthew N.; Kenefic, Leo J.; Keim, Paul S.; Fraser-Liggett, Claire M.; Ravel, Jacques

    2011-01-01

    Before the anthrax letter attacks of 2001, the developing field of microbial forensics relied on microbial genotyping schemes based on a small portion of a genome sequence. Amerithrax, the investigation into the anthrax letter attacks, applied high-resolution whole-genome sequencing and comparative genomics to identify key genetic features of the letters’ Bacillus anthracis Ames strain. During systematic microbiological analysis of the spore material from the letters, we identified a number of morphological variants based on phenotypic characteristics and the ability to sporulate. The genomes of these morphological variants were sequenced and compared with that of the B. anthracis Ames ancestor, the progenitor of all B. anthracis Ames strains. Through comparative genomics, we identified four distinct loci with verifiable genetic mutations. Three of the four mutations could be directly linked to sporulation pathways in B. anthracis and more specifically to the regulation of the phosphorylation state of Spo0F, a key regulatory protein in the initiation of the sporulation cascade, thus linking phenotype to genotype. None of these variant genotypes were identified in single-colony environmental B. anthracis Ames isolates associated with the investigation. These genotypes were identified only in B. anthracis morphotypes isolated from the letters, indicating that the variants were not prevalent in the environment, not even the environments associated with the investigation. This study demonstrates the forensic value of systematic microbiological analysis combined with whole-genome sequencing and comparative genomics. PMID:21383169

  7. Bacillus anthracis: molecular taxonomy, population genetics, phylogeny and patho-evolution.

    PubMed

    Pilo, Paola; Frey, Joachim

    2011-08-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, manifests a particular bimodal lifestyle. This bacterial species alternates between short replication phases of 20-40 generations that strictly require infection of the host, normally causing death, interrupted by relatively long, mostly dormant phases as spores in the environment. Hence, the B. anthracis genome is highly homogeneous. This feature and the fact that strains from nearly all parts of the world have been analysed for canonical single nucleotide polymorphisms (canSNPs) and variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) has allowed the development of molecular epidemiological and molecular clock models to estimate the age of major diversifications in the evolution of B. anthracis and to trace the global spread of this pathogen, which was mostly promoted by movement of domestic cattle with settlers and by international trade of contaminated animal products. From a taxonomic and phylogenetic point of view, B. anthracis is a member of the Bacillus cereus group. The differentiation of B. anthracis from B. cereus sensu stricto, solely based on chromosomal markers, is difficult. However, differences in pathogenicity clearly differentiate B. anthracis from B. cereus and are marked by the strict presence of virulence genes located on the two virulence plasmids pXO1 and pXO2, which both are required by the bacterium to cause anthrax. Conversely, anthrax-like symptoms can also be caused by organisms with chromosomal features that are more closely related to B. cereus, but which carry these virulence genes on two plasmids that largely resemble the B. anthracis virulence plasmids. PMID:21640849

  8. Ecological Niche Modelling of the Bacillus anthracis A1.a sub-lineage in Kazakhstan

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a globally distributed zoonotic pathogen that continues to be a veterinary and human health problem in Central Asia. We used a database of anthrax outbreak locations in Kazakhstan and a subset of genotyped isolates to model the geographic distribution and ecological associations of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan. The aims of the study were to test the influence of soil variables on a previous ecological niche based prediction of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan and to determine if a single sub-lineage of B. anthracis occupies a unique ecological niche. Results The addition of soil variables to the previously developed ecological niche model did not appreciably alter the limits of the predicted geographic or ecological distribution of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan. The A1.a experiment predicted the sub-lineage to be present over a larger geographic area than did the outbreak based experiment containing multiple lineages. Within the geographic area predicted to be suitable for B. anthracis by all ten best subset models, the A1.a sub-lineage was associated with a wider range of ecological tolerances than the outbreak-soil experiment. Analysis of rule types showed that logit rules predominate in the outbreak-soil experiment and range rules in the A1.a sub-lineage experiment. Random sub-setting of locality points suggests that models of B. anthracis distribution may be sensitive to sample size. Conclusions Our analysis supports careful consideration of the taxonomic resolution of data used to create ecological niche models. Further investigations into the environmental affinities of individual lineages and sub-lineages of B. anthracis will be useful in understanding the ecology of the disease at large and small scales. With model based predictions serving as approximations of disease risk, these efforts will improve the efficacy of public health interventions for anthrax prevention and control. PMID:22152056

  9. Confirmation of Bacillus anthracis from flesh-eating flies collected during a West Texas anthrax season.

    PubMed

    Blackburn, Jason K; Curtis, Andrew; Hadfield, Ted L; O'Shea, Bob; Mitchell, Mark A; Hugh-Jones, Martin E

    2010-07-01

    This case study confirms the interaction between necrophilic flies and white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, during an anthrax outbreak in West Texas (summer 2005). Bacillus anthracis was identified by culture and PCR from one of eight pooled fly collections from deer carcasses on a deer ranch with a well-documented history of anthrax. These results provide the first known isolation of B. anthracis from flesh-eating flies associated with a wildlife anthrax outbreak in North America and are discussed in the context of wildlife ecology and anthrax epizootics. PMID:20688697

  10. Structure of purine nucleoside phosphorylase (DeoD) from Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Grenha, Rosa; Levdikov, Vladimir M.; Fogg, Mark J.; Blagova, Elena V.; Brannigan, James A.; Wilkinson, Anthony J.; Wilson, Keith S.

    2005-01-01

    Protein structures from the causative agent of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) are being determined as part of a structural genomics programme. Amongst initial candidates for crystallographic analysis are enzymes involved in nucleotide biosynthesis, since these are recognized as potential targets in antibacterial therapy. Purine nucleoside phosphorylase is a key enzyme in the purine-salvage pathway. The crystal structure of purine nucleoside phosphorylase (DeoD) from B. anthracis has been solved by molecular replacement at 2.24 Å resolution and refined to an R factor of 18.4%. This is the first report of a DeoD structure from a Gram-positive bacterium. PMID:16511068

  11. Identification and Classification of bcl Genes and Proteins of Bacillus cereus Group Organisms and Their Application in Bacillus anthracis Detection and Fingerprinting▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Leski, Tomasz A.; Caswell, Clayton C.; Pawlowski, Marcin; Klinke, David J.; Bujnicki, Janusz M.; Hart, Sean J.; Lukomski, Slawomir

    2009-01-01

    The Bacillus cereus group includes three closely related species, B. anthracis, B. cereus, and B. thuringiensis, which form a highly homogeneous subdivision of the genus Bacillus. One of these species, B. anthracis, has been identified as one of the most probable bacterial biowarfare agents. Here, we evaluate the sequence and length polymorphisms of the Bacillus collagen-like protein bcl genes as a basis for B. anthracis detection and fingerprinting. Five genes, designated bclA to bclE, are present in B. anthracis strains. Examination of bclABCDE sequences identified polymorphisms in bclB alleles of the B. cereus group organisms. These sequence polymorphisms allowed specific detection of B. anthracis strains by PCR using both genomic DNA and purified Bacillus spores in reactions. By exploiting the length variation of the bcl alleles it was demonstrated that the combined bclABCDE PCR products generate markedly different fingerprints for the B. anthracis Ames and Sterne strains. Moreover, we predict that bclABCDE length polymorphism creates unique signatures for B. anthracis strains, which facilitates identification of strains with specificity and confidence. Thus, we present a new diagnostic concept for B. anthracis detection and fingerprinting, which can be used alone or in combination with previously established typing platforms. PMID:19767469

  12. Structures of two superoxide dismutases from Bacillus anthracis reveal a novel active centre

    PubMed Central

    Boucher, Ian W.; Kalliomaa, Anne K.; Levdikov, Vladimir M.; Blagova, Elena V.; Fogg, Mark J.; Brannigan, James A.; Wilson, Keith S.; Wilkinson, Anthony J.

    2005-01-01

    The BA4499 and BA5696 genes of Bacillus anthracis encode proteins homologous to manganese superoxide dismutase, suggesting that this organism has an expanded repertoire of antioxidant proteins. Differences in metal specificity and quaternary structure between the dismutases of prokaryotes and higher eukaryotes may be exploited in the development of therapeutic antibacterial compounds. Here, the crystal structure of two Mn superoxide dismutases from B. anthracis solved to high resolution are reported. Comparison of their structures reveals that a highly conserved residue near the active centre is substituted in one of the proteins and that this is a characteristic feature of superoxide dismutases from the B. cereus/B. anthracis/B. thuringiensis group of organisms. PMID:16511113

  13. Structure of purine nucleoside phosphorylase (DeoD) from Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Grenha, Rosa; Levdikov, Vladimir M.; Fogg, Mark J.; Blagova, Elena V.; Brannigan, James A. Wilkinson, Anthony J.; Wilson, Keith S.

    2005-05-01

    The crystal structure of purine nucleoside phosphorylase (DeoD) from B. anthracis was solved by X-ray crystallography using molecular replacement and refined at a resolution of 2.24 Å. Protein structures from the causative agent of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) are being determined as part of a structural genomics programme. Amongst initial candidates for crystallographic analysis are enzymes involved in nucleotide biosynthesis, since these are recognized as potential targets in antibacterial therapy. Purine nucleoside phosphorylase is a key enzyme in the purine-salvage pathway. The crystal structure of purine nucleoside phosphorylase (DeoD) from B. anthracis has been solved by molecular replacement at 2.24 Å resolution and refined to an R factor of 18.4%. This is the first report of a DeoD structure from a Gram-positive bacterium.

  14. Structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase from Bacillus anthracis (BA4489)

    SciTech Connect

    Meier, Christoph; Carter, Lester G.; Winter, Graeme; Owens, Ray J.; Stuart, David I.; Esnouf, Robert M.

    2007-03-01

    The structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase from B. anthracis determined by X-ray crystallography at a resolution of 1.6 Å is described. Bacillus anthracis is a spore-forming bacterium and the causative agent of the disease anthrax. The Oxford Protein Production Facility has been targeting proteins from B. anthracis in order to develop high-throughput technologies within the Structural Proteomics in Europe project. As part of this work, the structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase (BA4489) has been determined by X-ray crystallography to 1.6 Å resolution. The structure, solved in complex with magnesium-ion-bound ADP and phosphate, gives a detailed picture of the proposed catalytic mechanism of the enzyme. Chemical differences from other cyclo-ligase structures close to the active site that could be exploited to design specific inhibitors are also highlighted.

  15. Endospore surface properties of commonly used Bacillus anthracis surrogates vary in aqueous solution.

    PubMed

    White, Colin P; Popovici, Jonathan; Lytle, Darren A; Rice, Eugene W

    2014-08-01

    The hydrophobic character and electrophoretic mobility (EPM) of microorganisms are vital aspects of understanding their interactions with the environment. These properties are fundamental in fate-and-transport, physiological, and virulence studies, and thus integral in surrogate selection. Hydrophobic and electrostatic forces are significant contributors to particle and microorganism mobility in the environment. Herein, the surface properties of commonly used Bacillus anthracis surrogate endospores were tested under comparable conditions with respect to culture, endospore purification, buffer type and strength. Additionally, data is presented of endospores suspended in dechlorinated tap water to evaluate the surrogates in regard to a breach of water infrastructure security. The surface properties of B. anthracis were found to be the most hydrophobic and least electronegative among the six Bacillus species tested across buffer strength. The effect of EPM on hydrophobicity varies in a species-specific manner. This study demonstrates that surrogate surface properties differ and care must be taken when choosing the most suitable surrogate. Moreover, it is shown that Bacillus thuringensis best represents Bacillus anthracis-Sterne with respect to both EPM and hydrophobicity across all test buffers. PMID:24817579

  16. Bacillus anthracis tagO Is Required for Vegetative Growth and Secondary Cell Wall Polysaccharide Synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Lunderberg, J. Mark; Liszewski Zilla, Megan; Missiakas, Dominique

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Bacillus anthracis elaborates a linear secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP) that retains surface (S)-layer and associated proteins via their S-layer homology (SLH) domains. The SCWP is comprised of trisaccharide repeats [→4)-β-ManNAc-(1→4)-β-GlcNAc-(1→6)-α-GlcNAc-(1→] and tethered via acid-labile phosphodiester bonds to peptidoglycan. Earlier work identified UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerases GneY (BAS5048) and GneZ (BAS5117), which act as catalysts of ManNAc synthesis, as well as a polysaccharide deacetylase (BAS5051), as factors contributing to SCWP synthesis. Here, we show that tagO (BAS5050), which encodes a UDP-N-acetylglucosamine:undecaprenyl-P N-acetylglucosaminyl 1-P transferase, the enzyme that initiates the synthesis of murein linkage units, is required for B. anthracis SCWP synthesis and S-layer assembly. Similar to gneY-gneZ mutants, B. anthracis strains lacking tagO cannot maintain cell shape or support vegetative growth. In contrast, mutations in BAS5051 do not affect B. anthracis cell shape, vegetative growth, SCWP synthesis, or S-layer assembly. These data suggest that TagO-mediated murein linkage unit assembly supports SCWP synthesis and attachment to the peptidoglycan via acid-labile phosphodiester bonds. Further, B. anthracis variants unable to synthesize SCWP trisaccharide repeats cannot sustain cell shape and vegetative growth. IMPORTANCE Bacillus anthracis elaborates an SCWP to support vegetative growth and envelope assembly. Here, we show that some, but not all, SCWP synthesis is dependent on tagO-derived murein linkage units and subsequent attachment of SCWP to peptidoglycan. The data implicate secondary polymer modifications of peptidoglycan and subcellular distributions as a key feature of the cell cycle in Gram-positive bacteria and establish foundations for work on the molecular functions of the SCWP and on inhibitors with antibiotic attributes. PMID:26324447

  17. Rapid detection of Bacillus anthracis by γ phage amplification and lateral flow immunochromatography.

    PubMed

    Cox, Christopher R; Jensen, Kirk R; Mondesire, Roy R; Voorhees, Kent J

    2015-11-01

    New, rapid point-of-need diagnostic methods for Bacillus anthracis detection can enhance civil and military responses to accidental or deliberate dispersal of anthrax as a biological weapon. Current laboratory-based methods for clinical identification of B. anthracis require 12 to 120h, and are confirmed by plaque assay using the well-characterized γ typing phage, which requires an additional minimum of 24h for bacterial culture. To reduce testing time, the natural specificity of γ phage amplification was investigated in combination with lateral flow immunochromatography (LFI) for rapid, point-of-need B. anthracis detection. Phage-based LFI detection of B. anthracis Sterne was validated over a range of bacterial and phage concentrations with optimal detection achieved in as little as 2h from the onset of amplification with a threshold sensitivity of 2.5×10(4)cfu/mL. The novel use of γ phage amplification detected with a simple, inexpensive LFI assay provides a rapid, sensitive, highly accurate, and field-deployable method for diagnostic ID of B. anthracis in a fraction of the time required by conventional techniques, and without the need for extensive laboratory culture. PMID:26310605

  18. Sensitive detection of Bacillus anthracis using a binding protein originating from gamma-phage.

    PubMed

    Fujinami, Yoshihito; Hirai, Yoshikazu; Sakai, Ikuko; Yoshino, Mineo; Yasuda, Jiro

    2007-01-01

    Detection of biological weapons is a primary concern in force protection, treaty verification, and safeguarding civilian populations against domestic terrorism. One great concern is the detection of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop novel methods for rapid, simple, and precise detection of B. anthracis. Here, we report that the C-terminal region of gamma-phage lysin protein (PlyG) binds specifically to the cell wall of B. anthracis and the recombinant protein corresponding to this region (positions, 156-233), PlyGB, is available as a bioprobe for detection of B. anthracis. Our detection method, based on a membrane direct blot assay using recombinant PlyGB, was more rapid and sensitive than the gamma-phage test and was simpler and more inexpensive than genetic methods such as PCR, or immunological methods using specific antibodies. Furthermore, its specificity was comparable to the gamma-phage test. PlyGB is applicable in conventional methods instead of antibodies and could be a potent tool for detection of B. anthracis. PMID:17310083

  19. Crossing of the epithelial barriers by Bacillus anthracis: the Known and the Unknown

    PubMed Central

    Goossens, Pierre L.; Tournier, Jean-Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax, caused by Bacillus anthracis, a Gram-positive spore-forming bacterium, is initiated by the entry of spores into the host body. There are three types of human infection: cutaneous, inhalational, and gastrointestinal. For each form, B. anthracis spores need to cross the cutaneous, respiratory or digestive epithelial barriers, respectively, as a first obligate step to establish infection. Anthrax is a toxi-infection: an association of toxemia and rapidly spreading infection progressing to septicemia. The pathogenicity of Bacillus anthracis mainly depends on two toxins and a capsule. The capsule protects bacilli from the immune system, thus promoting systemic dissemination. The toxins alter host cell signaling, thereby paralyzing the immune response of the host and perturbing the endocrine and endothelial systems. In this review, we will mainly focus on the events and mechanisms leading to crossing of the respiratory epithelial barrier, as the majority of studies have addressed inhalational infection. We will discuss the critical gaps of knowledge that need to be addressed to gain a comprehensive view of the initial steps of inhalational anthrax. We will then discuss the few data available on B. anthracis crossing the cutaneous and digestive epithelia. PMID:26500645

  20. Functional characterization of WalRK: A two-component signal transduction system from Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Dhiman, Alisha; Bhatnagar, Sonika; Kulshreshtha, Parul; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2014-01-01

    Two-component signal transduction systems (TCS), consisting of a sensor histidine protein kinase and its cognate response regulator, are an important mode of environmental sensing in bacteria. Additionally, they have been found to regulate virulence determinants in several pathogens. Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax and a bioterrorism agent, harbours 41 pairs of TCS. However, their role in its pathogenicity has remained largely unexplored. Here, we show that WalRK of B. anthracis forms a functional TCS which exhibits some species-specific functions. Biochemical studies showed that domain variants of WalK, the histidine kinase, exhibit classical properties of autophosphorylation and phosphotransfer to its cognate response regulator WalR. Interestingly, these domain variants also show phosphatase activity towards phosphorylated WalR, thereby making WalK a bifunctional histidine kinase/phosphatase. An in silico regulon determination approach, using a consensus binding sequence from Bacillus subtilis, provided a list of 30 genes that could form a putative WalR regulon in B. anthracis. Further, electrophoretic mobility shift assay was used to show direct binding of purified WalR to the upstream regions of three putative regulon candidates, an S-layer protein EA1, a cell division ABC transporter FtsE and a sporulation histidine kinase KinB3. Our work lends insight into the species-specific functions and mode of action of B. anthracis WalRK. PMID:24490131

  1. Toxin-Independent Virulence of Bacillus anthracis in Rabbits

    PubMed Central

    Levy, Haim; Glinert, Itai; Weiss, Shay; Sittner, Assa; Schlomovitz, Josef; Altboum, Zeev; Kobiler, David

    2014-01-01

    The accepted paradigm states that anthrax is both an invasive and toxinogenic disease and that the toxins play a major role in pathogenicity. In the guinea pig (GP) model we have previously shown that deletion of all three toxin components results in a relatively moderate attenuation in virulence, indicating that B. anthracis possesses an additional toxin-independent virulence mechanism. To characterize this toxin-independent mechanism in anthrax disease, we developed a new rabbit model by intravenous injection (IV) of B. anthracis encapsulated vegetative cells, artificially creating bacteremia. Using this model we were able to demonstrate that also in rabbits, B. anthracis mutants lacking the toxins are capable of killing the host within 24 hours. This virulent trait depends on the activity of AtxA in the presence of pXO2, as, in the absence of the toxin genes, deletion of either component abolishes virulence. Furthermore, this IV virulence depends mainly on AtxA rather than the whole pXO1. A similar pattern was shown in the GP model using subcutaneous (SC) administration of spores of the mutant strains, demonstrating the generality of the phenomenon. The virulent strains showed higher bacteremia levels and more efficient tissue dissemination; however our interpretation is that tissue dissemination per se is not the main determinant of virulence whose exact nature requires further elucidation. PMID:24416317

  2. Laboratory Studies on Surface Sampling of Bacillus anthracis Contamination: Summary, Gaps, and Recommendations

    SciTech Connect

    Piepel, Gregory F.; Amidan, Brett G.; Hu, Rebecca

    2011-11-28

    This report summarizes previous laboratory studies to characterize the performance of methods for collecting, storing/transporting, processing, and analyzing samples from surfaces contaminated by Bacillus anthracis or related surrogates. The focus is on plate culture and count estimates of surface contamination for swab, wipe, and vacuum samples of porous and nonporous surfaces. Summaries of the previous studies and their results were assessed to identify gaps in information needed as inputs to calculate key parameters critical to risk management in biothreat incidents. One key parameter is the number of samples needed to make characterization or clearance decisions with specified statistical confidence. Other key parameters include the ability to calculate, following contamination incidents, the (1) estimates of Bacillus anthracis contamination, as well as the bias and uncertainties in the estimates, and (2) confidence in characterization and clearance decisions for contaminated or decontaminated buildings. Gaps in knowledge and understanding identified during the summary of the studies are discussed and recommendations are given for future studies.

  3. Characterization of Bacillus cereus isolates associated with fatal pneumonias: strains are closely related to Bacillus anthracis and harbor B. anthracis virulence genes.

    PubMed

    Hoffmaster, Alex R; Hill, Karen K; Gee, Jay E; Marston, Chung K; De, Barun K; Popovic, Tanja; Sue, David; Wilkins, Patricia P; Avashia, Swati B; Drumgoole, Rahsaan; Helma, Charles H; Ticknor, Lawrence O; Okinaka, Richard T; Jackson, Paul J

    2006-09-01

    Bacillus cereus is ubiquitous in nature, and while most isolates appear to be harmless, some are associated with food-borne illnesses, periodontal diseases, and other more serious infections. In one such infection, B. cereus G9241 was identified as the causative agent of a severe pneumonia in a Louisiana welder in 1994. This isolate was found to harbor most of the B. anthracis virulence plasmid pXO1 (13). Here we report the characterization of two clinical and one environmental B. cereus isolate collected during an investigation of two fatal pneumonia cases in Texas metal workers. Molecular subtyping revealed that the two cases were not caused by the same strain. However, one of the three isolates was indistinguishable from B. cereus G9241. PCR analysis demonstrated that both clinical isolates contained B. anthracis pXO1 toxin genes. One clinical isolate and the environmental isolate collected from that victim's worksite contained the cap A, B, and C genes required for capsule biosynthesis in B. anthracis. Both clinical isolates expressed a capsule; however, neither was composed of poly-D-glutamic acid. Although most B. cereus isolates are not opportunistic pathogens and only a limited number cause food-borne illnesses, these results demonstrate that some B. cereus strains can cause severe and even fatal infections in patients who appear to be otherwise healthy. PMID:16954272

  4. New aspects of the infection mechanisms of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Zakowska, Dorota; Bartoszcze, Michał; Niemcewicz, Marcin; Bielawska-Drózd, Agata; Kocik, Janusz

    2012-01-01

    Articles concerning new aspects of B. anthracis mechanisms of infection were reviewed. It was found, that the hair follicle plays an important role in the spore germination process. The hair follicle represent an important portal of entry in the course of the cutaneous form of disease infections. After mouse exposition to aerosol of spores prepared from B. anthracis strains, an increase in the level of TNF-α cytokines was observed. The TNF-α cytokines were produced after intrusion into the host by the microorganism. This process may play a significant role in the induced migration of infected cells APCs (Antigen Presenting Cells) via chemotactic signals to the lymph nodes. It was explained that IgG, which binds to the spore surface, activates the adaptive immune system response. As a result, the release C3b opsonin from the spore surface, and mediating of C3 protein fragments of B. anthracis spores phagocytosis by human macrophages, was observed. The genes coding germination spores protein in mutant strains of B. anthracis MIGD was a crucial discovery. According to this, it could be assumed that the activity of B. anthracis spores germination process is dependent upon the sleB, cwlJ1 and cwlJ2 genes, which code the GSLEs lithic enzymes. It was also discovered that the specific antibody for PA20, which binds to the PA20 antigenic determinant, are able to block further PA83 proteolytic fission on the surface of cells. This process neutralized PA functions and weakened the activity of free PA20, which is produced during the PA83 enzyme fission process. Interaction between PA63 monomer and LF may be helpful in the PA63 oligomerization and grouping process, and the creation of LF/PA63 complexes may be a part of an alternative process of assembling the anthrax toxin on the surface of cells. It was found that actin-dependent endocytosis plays an important role in the PA heptamerisation process and leads to blocking the toxin activity. Chaperones, a protein derived from

  5. Molecular modeling toward selective inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase from the biological warfare agent Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Giacoppo, Juliana O S; Mancini, Daiana T; Guimarães, Ana P; Gonçalves, Arlan S; da Cunha, Elaine F F; França, Tanos C C; Ramalho, Teodorico C

    2015-02-16

    In the present work, we applied docking and molecular dynamics techniques to study 11 compounds inside the enzymes dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) from the biological warfare agent Bacillus anthracis (BaDHFR) and Homo sapiens sapiens (HssDHFR). Six of these compounds were selected for a study with the mutant BaF96IDHFR. Our results corroborated with experimental data and allowed the proposition of a new molecule with potential activity and better selectivity for BaDHFR. PMID:24985033

  6. DNA probe functionalized QCM biosensor based on gold nanoparticle amplification for Bacillus anthracis detection.

    PubMed

    Hao, Rong-Zhang; Song, Hong-Bin; Zuo, Guo-Min; Yang, Rui-Fu; Wei, Hong-Ping; Wang, Dian-Bing; Cui, Zong-Qiang; Zhang, ZhiPing; Cheng, Zhen-Xing; Zhang, Xian-En

    2011-04-15

    The rapid detection of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax disease, has gained much attention since the anthrax spore bioterrorism attacks in the United States in 2001. In this work, a DNA probe functionalized quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) biosensor was developed to detect B. anthracis based on the recognition of its specific DNA sequences, i.e., the 168 bp fragment of the Ba813 gene in chromosomes and the 340 bp fragment of the pag gene in plasmid pXO1. A thiol DNA probe was immobilized onto the QCM gold surface through self-assembly via Au-S bond formation to hybridize with the target ss-DNA sequence obtained by asymmetric PCR. Hybridization between the target DNA and the DNA probe resulted in an increase in mass and a decrease in the resonance frequency of the QCM biosensor. Moreover, to amplify the signal, a thiol-DNA fragment complementary to the other end of the target DNA was functionalized with gold nanoparticles. The results indicate that the DNA probe functionalized QCM biosensor could specifically recognize the target DNA fragment of B. anthracis from that of its closest species, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, and that the limit of detection (LOD) reached 3.5 × 10(2)CFU/ml of B. anthracis vegetative cells just after asymmetric PCR amplification, but without culture enrichment. The DNA probe functionalized QCM biosensor demonstrated stable, pollution-free, real-time sensing, and could find application in the rapid detection of B. anthracis. PMID:21315574

  7. Modulation of the Bacillus anthracis secretome by the immune inhibitor A1 protease.

    PubMed

    Pflughoeft, Kathryn J; Swick, Michelle C; Engler, David A; Yeo, Hye-Jeong; Koehler, Theresa M

    2014-01-01

    The Bacillus anthracis secretome includes protective antigen, lethal factor, and edema factor, which are the components of anthrax toxin, and other proteins with known or potential roles in anthrax disease. Immune inhibitor A1 (InhA1) is a secreted metalloprotease that is unique to pathogenic members of the Bacillus genus and has been associated with cleavage of host proteins during infection. Here, we report the effect of InhA1 on the B. anthracis secretome. Differential in-gel electrophoresis of proteins present in culture supernatants from a parent strain and an isogenic inhA1-null mutant revealed multiple differences. Of the 1,340 protein spots observed, approximately one-third were less abundant and one-third were more abundant in the inhA1 secretome than in the parent strain secretome. Proteases were strongly represented among those proteins exhibiting a 9-fold or greater change. InhA1 purified from a B. anthracis culture supernatant directly cleaved each of the anthrax toxin proteins as well as an additional secreted protease, Npr599. The conserved zinc binding motif HEXXH of InhA1 (HEYGH) was critical for its proteolytic activity. Our data reveal that InhA1 directly and indirectly modulates the form and/or abundance of over half of all the secreted proteins of B. anthracis. The proteolytic activity of InhA1 on established secreted virulence factors, additional proteases, and other secreted proteins suggests that this major protease plays an important role in virulence not only by cleaving mammalian substrates but also by modulating the B. anthracis secretome itself. PMID:24214942

  8. Antimicrobial Effects of Interferon-Inducible CXC Chemokines against Bacillus anthracis Spores and Bacilli▿

    PubMed Central

    Crawford, Matthew A.; Zhu, Yinghua; Green, Candace S.; Burdick, Marie D.; Sanz, Patrick; Alem, Farhang; O'Brien, Alison D.; Mehrad, Borna; Strieter, Robert M.; Hughes, Molly A.

    2009-01-01

    Based on previous studies showing that host chemokines exert antimicrobial activities against bacteria, we sought to determine whether the interferon-inducible Glu-Leu-Arg-negative CXC chemokines CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 exhibit antimicrobial activities against Bacillus anthracis. In vitro analysis demonstrated that all three CXC chemokines exerted direct antimicrobial effects against B. anthracis spores and bacilli including marked reductions in spore and bacillus viability as determined using a fluorometric assay of bacterial viability and CFU determinations. Electron microscopy studies revealed that CXCL10-treated spores failed to undergo germination as judged by an absence of cytological changes in spore structure that occur during the process of germination. Immunogold labeling of CXCL10-treated spores demonstrated that the chemokine was located internal to the exosporium in association primarily with the spore coat and its interface with the cortex. To begin examining the potential biological relevance of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity, we used a murine model of inhalational anthrax. Upon spore challenge, the lungs of C57BL/6 mice (resistant to inhalational B. anthracis infection) had significantly higher levels of CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 than did the lungs of A/J mice (highly susceptible to infection). Increased CXC chemokine levels were associated with significantly reduced levels of spore germination within the lungs as determined by in vivo imaging. Taken together, our data demonstrate a novel antimicrobial role for host chemokines against B. anthracis that provides unique insight into host defense against inhalational anthrax; these data also support the notion for an innovative approach in treating B. anthracis infection as well as infections caused by other spore-forming organisms. PMID:19179419

  9. Transient Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Resistance to Aerosolized Bacillus anthracis in New Zealand White Rabbits

    PubMed Central

    Yee, Steven B; Dyer, David N; Twenhafel, Nancy A; Pitt, M Louise M

    2013-01-01

    Previous studies have demonstrated that prior infection by various bacterial pathogens induces nonspecific resistance to subsequent infection by other gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial pathogens. In the present study, we evaluated whether underlying inflammation enhanced host resistance to inhalational Bacillus anthracis infection in New Zealand White rabbits (SPF; Bordetella- and Pasteurella-free). Accordingly, rabbits were pretreated with either the inflammagen bacterial LPS (60,000 EU/kg), a component of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria, or saline (vehicle). Administration of LPS resulted in brief pyrexia and a significant increase in the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα, thus confirming LPS-induced inflammation. At 24 h after LPS treatment, rabbits were exposed to aerosolized B. anthracis spores (Ames strain; approximately 300 LD50). Blood samples collected at various times after challenge were cultured. Compared with their saline-pretreated counterparts, LPS-pretreated, B. anthracis-challenged rabbits exhibited delays in 2 biomarkers of B. anthracis infection—anthrax-induced pyrexia (25 h versus 66 h after challenge, respectively) and bacteremia (26 h versus 63 h, respectively)—and survived longer (41 h versus 90 h, respectively). Similar to control animals, all LPS-pretreated, B. anthracis-challenged rabbits exhibited pathology consistent with inhalational anthrax. Taken together, these results suggest that prior or underlying stimulation of the innate immune system induces transient host resistance to subsequent B. anthracis infection in SPF New Zealand white rabbits. In particular, our results emphasize the importance of using animals that are free of underlying infections to prevent confounding data in studies for inhalational anthrax characterization and medical countermeasure evaluation. PMID:23759528

  10. Whole genome protein microarrays for serum profiling of immunodominant antigens of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Kempsell, Karen E.; Kidd, Stephen P.; Lewandowski, Kuiama; Elmore, Michael J.; Charlton, Sue; Yeates, Annemarie; Cuthbertson, Hannah; Hallis, Bassam; Altmann, Daniel M.; Rogers, Mitch; Wattiau, Pierre; Ingram, Rebecca J.; Brooks, Tim; Vipond, Richard

    2015-01-01

    A commercial Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) whole genome protein microarray has been used to identify immunogenic Anthrax proteins (IAP) using sera from groups of donors with (a) confirmed B. anthracis naturally acquired cutaneous infection, (b) confirmed B. anthracis intravenous drug use-acquired infection, (c) occupational exposure in a wool-sorters factory, (d) humans and rabbits vaccinated with the UK Anthrax protein vaccine and compared to naïve unexposed controls. Anti-IAP responses were observed for both IgG and IgA in the challenged groups; however the anti-IAP IgG response was more evident in the vaccinated group and the anti-IAP IgA response more evident in the B. anthracis-infected groups. Infected individuals appeared somewhat suppressed for their general IgG response, compared with other challenged groups. Immunogenic protein antigens were identified in all groups, some of which were shared between groups whilst others were specific for individual groups. The toxin proteins were immunodominant in all vaccinated, infected or other challenged groups. However, a number of other chromosomally-located and plasmid encoded open reading frame proteins were also recognized by infected or exposed groups in comparison to controls. Some of these antigens e.g., BA4182 are not recognized by vaccinated individuals, suggesting that there are proteins more specifically expressed by live Anthrax spores in vivo that are not currently found in the UK licensed Anthrax Vaccine (AVP). These may perhaps be preferentially expressed during infection and represent expression of alternative pathways in the B. anthracis “infectome.” These may make highly attractive candidates for diagnostic and vaccine biomarker development as they may be more specifically associated with the infectious phase of the pathogen. A number of B. anthracis small hypothetical protein targets have been synthesized, tested in mouse immunogenicity studies and validated in parallel using human sera from

  11. Whole genome protein microarrays for serum profiling of immunodominant antigens of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Kempsell, Karen E; Kidd, Stephen P; Lewandowski, Kuiama; Elmore, Michael J; Charlton, Sue; Yeates, Annemarie; Cuthbertson, Hannah; Hallis, Bassam; Altmann, Daniel M; Rogers, Mitch; Wattiau, Pierre; Ingram, Rebecca J; Brooks, Tim; Vipond, Richard

    2015-01-01

    A commercial Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) whole genome protein microarray has been used to identify immunogenic Anthrax proteins (IAP) using sera from groups of donors with (a) confirmed B. anthracis naturally acquired cutaneous infection, (b) confirmed B. anthracis intravenous drug use-acquired infection, (c) occupational exposure in a wool-sorters factory, (d) humans and rabbits vaccinated with the UK Anthrax protein vaccine and compared to naïve unexposed controls. Anti-IAP responses were observed for both IgG and IgA in the challenged groups; however the anti-IAP IgG response was more evident in the vaccinated group and the anti-IAP IgA response more evident in the B. anthracis-infected groups. Infected individuals appeared somewhat suppressed for their general IgG response, compared with other challenged groups. Immunogenic protein antigens were identified in all groups, some of which were shared between groups whilst others were specific for individual groups. The toxin proteins were immunodominant in all vaccinated, infected or other challenged groups. However, a number of other chromosomally-located and plasmid encoded open reading frame proteins were also recognized by infected or exposed groups in comparison to controls. Some of these antigens e.g., BA4182 are not recognized by vaccinated individuals, suggesting that there are proteins more specifically expressed by live Anthrax spores in vivo that are not currently found in the UK licensed Anthrax Vaccine (AVP). These may perhaps be preferentially expressed during infection and represent expression of alternative pathways in the B. anthracis "infectome." These may make highly attractive candidates for diagnostic and vaccine biomarker development as they may be more specifically associated with the infectious phase of the pathogen. A number of B. anthracis small hypothetical protein targets have been synthesized, tested in mouse immunogenicity studies and validated in parallel using human sera from the

  12. Characterization of the Sortase Repertoire in Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Fouet, Agnès

    2011-01-01

    LPXTG proteins, present in most if not all Gram-positive bacteria, are known to be anchored by sortases to the bacterial peptidoglycan. More than one sortase gene is often encoded in a bacterial species, and each sortase is supposed to specifically anchor given LPXTG proteins, depending of the sequence of the C-terminal cell wall sorting signal (cwss), bearing an LPXTG motif or another recognition sequence. B. anthracis possesses three sortase genes. B. anthracis sortase deleted mutant strains are not affected in their virulence. To determine the sortase repertoires, we developed a genetic screen using the property of the gamma phage to lyse bacteria only when its receptor, GamR, an LPXTG protein, is exposed at the surface. We identified 10 proteins that contain a cell wall sorting signal and are covalently anchored to the peptidoglycan. Some chimeric proteins yielded phage lysis in all sortase mutant strains, suggesting that cwss proteins remained surface accessible in absence of their anchoring sortase, probably as a consequence of membrane localization of yet uncleaved precursor proteins. For definite assignment of the sortase repertoires, we consequently relied on a complementary test, using a biochemical approach, namely immunoblot experiments. The sortase anchoring nine of these proteins has thus been determined. The absence of virulence defect of the sortase mutants could be a consequence of the membrane localization of the cwss proteins. PMID:22076158

  13. Activation of the latent PlcR regulon in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Sastalla, Inka; Maltese, Lauren M; Pomerantseva, Olga M; Pomerantsev, Andrei P; Keane-Myers, Andrea; Leppla, Stephen H

    2010-10-01

    Many genes in Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis are under the control of the transcriptional regulator PlcR and its regulatory peptide, PapR. In Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, PlcR is inactivated by truncation, and consequently genes having PlcR binding sites are expressed at very low levels when compared with B. cereus. We found that activation of the PlcR regulon in B. anthracis by expression of a PlcR-PapR fusion protein does not alter sporulation in strains containing the virulence plasmid pXO1 and thereby the global regulator AtxA. Using comparative 2D gel electrophoresis, we showed that activation of the PlcR regulon in B. anthracis leads to upregulation of many proteins found in the secretome of B. cereus, including phospholipases and proteases, such as the putative protease BA1995. Transcriptional analysis demonstrated expression of BA1995 to be dependent on PlcR-PapR, even though the putative PlcR recognition site of the BA1995 gene does not exactly match the PlcR consensus sequence, explaining why this protein had escaped recognition as belonging to the PlcR regulon. Additionally, while transcription of major PlcR-dependent haemolysins, sphingomyelinase and anthrolysin O is enhanced in response to PlcR activation in B. anthracis, only anthrolysin O contributes significantly to lysis of human erythrocytes. In contrast, the toxicity of bacterial culture supernatants from a PlcR-positive strain towards murine macrophages occurred independently of anthrolysin O expression in vitro and in vivo. PMID:20688829

  14. Identification of a region of genetic variability among Bacillus anthracis strains and related species.

    PubMed Central

    Andersen, G L; Simchock, J M; Wilson, K H

    1996-01-01

    The identification of a region of sequence variability among individual isolates of Bacillus anthracis as well as the two closely related species, Bacillus cereus and Bacillus mycoides, has made a sequence-based approach for the rapid differentiation among members of this group possible. We have identified this region of sequence divergence by comparison of arbitrarily primed (AP)-PCR "fingerprints" generated by an M13 bacteriophage-derived primer and sequencing the respective forms of the only polymorphic fragment observed. The 1,480-bp fragment derived from genomic DNA of the Sterne strain of B. anthracis contained four consecutive repeats of CAATATCAACAA. The same fragment from the Vollum strain was identical except that two of these repeats were deleted. The Ames strain of B. anthracis differed from the Sterne strain by a single-nucleotide deletion. More than 150 nucleotide differences separated B. cereus and B. mycoides from B. anthracis in pairwise comparisons. The nucleotide sequence of the variable fragment from each species contained one complete open reading frame (ORF) (designated vrrA, for variable region with repetitive sequence), encoding a potential 30-kDa protein located between the carboxy terminus of an upstream ORF (designated orf1) and the amino terminus of a downstream ORF (designated lytB). The sequence variation was primarily in vrrA, which was glutamine- and proline-rich (30% of total) and contained repetitive regions. A large proportion of the nucleotide substitutions between species were synonymous. vrrA has 35% identity with the microfilarial sheath protein shp2 of the parasitic worm Litomosoides carinii. PMID:8550456

  15. Bacillus anthracis lcp Genes Support Vegetative Growth, Envelope Assembly, and Spore Formation

    PubMed Central

    Liszewski Zilla, Megan; Lunderberg, J. Mark; Schneewind, Olaf

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Bacillus anthracis, a spore-forming pathogen, replicates as chains of vegetative cells by regulating the separation of septal peptidoglycan. Surface (S)-layer proteins and B. anthracis S-layer-associated proteins (BSLs) function as chain length determinants and are assembled in the envelope by binding to the secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP). B. anthracis expresses six different genes encoding LytR-CpsA-Psr (LCP) enzymes (lcpB1 to -4, lcpC, and lcpD), which when expressed in Staphylococcus aureus promote attachment of wall teichoic acid to peptidoglycan. Mutations in B. anthracis lcpB3 and lcpD cause aberrations in cell size and chain length that can be explained as discrete defects in SCWP assembly; however, the function of the other lcp genes is not known. By deleting combinations of lcp genes from the B. anthracis genome, we generated variants with single lcp genes. B. anthracis expressing lcpB3 alone displayed physiological cell size, vegetative growth, spore formation, and S-layer assembly. Strains expressing lcpB1 or lcpB4 displayed defects in cell size and shape, S-layer assembly, and spore formation yet sustained vegetative growth. In contrast, the lcpB2 strain was unable to grow unless the gene was expressed from a multicopy plasmid (lcpB2++), and variants expressing lcpC or lcpD displayed severe defects in growth and cell shape. The lcpB2++, lcpC, or lcpD strains supported neither S-layer assembly nor spore formation. We propose a model whereby LCP enzymes fulfill partially overlapping functions in transferring SCWP molecules to discrete sites within the bacterial envelope. IMPORTANCE Products of genes essential for bacterial envelope assembly represent targets for antibiotic development. The LytR-CpsA-Psr (LCP) enzymes tether bactoprenol-linked intermediates of secondary cell wall polymers to the C6 hydroxyl of N-acetylmuramic acid in peptidoglycan; however, the role of LCPs as a target for antibiotic therapy is not defined. We show here

  16. Beta-lactamase genes of the penicillin-susceptible Bacillus anthracis Sterne strain.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yahua; Succi, Janice; Tenover, Fred C; Koehler, Theresa M

    2003-02-01

    Susceptibility to penicillin and other beta-lactam-containing compounds is a common trait of Bacillus anthracis. Beta-lactam agents, particularly penicillin, have been used worldwide to treat anthrax in humans. Nonetheless, surveys of clinical and soil-derived strains reveal penicillin G resistance in 2 to 16% of isolates tested. Bacterial resistance to beta-lactam agents is often mediated by production of one or more types of beta-lactamases that hydrolyze the beta-lactam ring, inactivating the antimicrobial agent. Here, we report the presence of two beta-lactamase (bla) genes in the penicillin-susceptible Sterne strain of B. anthracis. We identified bla1 by functional cloning with Escherichia coli. bla1 is a 927-nucleotide (nt) gene predicted to encode a protein with 93.8% identity to the type I beta-lactamase gene of Bacillus cereus. A second gene, bla2, was identified by searching the unfinished B. anthracis chromosome sequence database of The Institute for Genome Research for open reading frames (ORFs) predicted to encode beta-lactamases. We found a partial ORF predicted to encode a protein with significant similarity to the carboxy-terminal end of the type II beta-lactamase of B. cereus. DNA adjacent to the 5' end of the partial ORF was cloned using inverse PCR. bla2 is a 768-nt gene predicted to encode a protein with 92% identity to the B. cereus type II enzyme. The bla1 and bla2 genes confer ampicillin resistance to E. coli and Bacillus subtilis when cloned individually in these species. The MICs of various antimicrobial agents for the E. coli clones indicate that the two beta-lactamase genes confer different susceptibility profiles to E. coli; bla1 is a penicillinase, while bla2 appears to be a cephalosporinase. The beta-galactosidase activities of B. cereus group species harboring bla promoter-lacZ transcriptional fusions indicate that bla1 is poorly transcribed in B. anthracis, B. cereus, and B. thuringiensis. The bla2 gene is strongly expressed in B

  17. Responding to detection of aerosolized Bacillus anthracis by autonomous detection systems in the workplace.

    PubMed

    Meehan, Patrick J; Rosenstein, Nancy E; Gillen, Matthew; Meyer, Richard F; Kiefer, Max J; Deitchman, Scott; Besser, Richard E; Ehrenberg, Richard L; Edwards, Kathleen M; Martinez, Kenneth F

    2004-06-01

    Autonomous detection systems (ADSs) are under development to detect agents of biologic and chemical terror in the environment. These systems will eventually be able to detect biologic and chemical hazards reliably and provide approximate real-time alerts that an agent is present. One type of ADS that tests specifically for Bacillus anthracis is being deployed in hundreds of postal distribution centers across the United States. Identification of aerosolized B. anthracis spores in an air sample can facilitate prompt on-site decontamination of workers and subsequent administration of postexposure prophylaxis to prevent inhalational anthrax. Every employer who deploys an ADS should develop detailed plans for responding to a positive signal. Responding to ADS detection of B. anthracis involves coordinating responses with community partners and should include drills and exercises with these partners. This report provides guidelines in the following six areas: 1) response and consequence management planning, including the minimum components of a facility response plan; 2) immediate response and evacuation; 3) decontamination of potentially exposed workers to remove spores from clothing and skin and prevent introduction of B. anthracis into the worker's home and conveyances; 4) laboratory confirmation of an ADS signal; 5) steps for evaluating potentially contaminated environments; and 6) postexposure prophylaxis and follow-up. PMID:15179360

  18. clpC operon regulates cell architecture and sporulation in Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Lalit K.; Dhasmana, Neha; Sajid, Andaleeb; Kumar, Prasun; Bhaduri, Asani; Bharadwaj, Mitasha; Gandotra, Sheetal; Kalia, Vipin C.; Das, Taposh K.; Goel, Ajay K.; Pomerantsev, Andrei P.; Misra, Richa; Gerth, Ulf; Leppla, Stephen H.; Singh, Yogendra

    2014-01-01

    The clpC operon is known to regulate several processes such as genetic competence, protein degradation and stress survival in bacteria. Here, we describe the role of clpC operon in Bacillus anthracis. We generated knock-out strains of the clpC operon genes to investigate the impact of CtsR, McsA, McsB and ClpC deletion on essential processes of B. anthracis. We observed that growth, cell division, sporulation and germination were severely affected in mcsB and clpC deleted strains, while none of deletions affected toxin secretion. Growth defect in these strains was pronounced at elevated temperature. The growth pattern gets restored on complementation of mcsB and clpC in respective mutants. Electron microscopic examination revealed that mcsB and clpC deletion also causes defect in septum formation leading to cell elongation. These vegetative cell deformities were accompanied by inability of mutant strains to generate morphologically intact spores. Higher levels of polyhydroxybutyrate granules accumulation were also observed in these deletion strains, indicating a defect in sporulation process. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, the vital role played by McsB and ClpC in physiology of B. anthracis and opens up further interest on this operon, which might be of importance to success of B. anthracis as pathogen PMID:24947607

  19. A Simple Luminescent Adenylate-Cyclase Functional Assay for Evaluation of Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor Activity.

    PubMed

    Israeli, Ma'ayan; Rotem, Shahar; Elia, Uri; Bar-Haim, Erez; Cohen, Ofer; Chitlaru, Theodor

    2016-01-01

    Edema Factor (EF), the toxic sub-unit of the Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin (ET) is a calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase whose detrimental activity in the infected host results in severe edema. EF is therefore a major virulence factor of B. anthracis. We describe a simple, rapid and reliable functional adenylate-cyclase assay based on inhibition of a luciferase-mediated luminescence reaction. The assay exploits the efficient adenylate cyclase-mediated depletion of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), and the strict dependence on ATP of the light-emitting luciferase-catalyzed luciferin-conversion to oxyluciferin, which can be easily visualized. The assay exhibits a robust EF-dose response decrease in luminescence, which may be specifically reverted by anti-EF antibodies. The application of the assay is exemplified in: (a) determining the presence of EF in B. anthracis cultures, or its absence in cultures of EF-defective strains; (b) evaluating the anti-EF humoral response in experimental animals infected/vaccinated with B. anthracis; and (c) rapid discrimination between EF producing and non-producing bacterial colonies. Furthermore, the assay may be amenable with high-throughput screening for EF inhibitory molecules. PMID:27548219

  20. A Simple Luminescent Adenylate-Cyclase Functional Assay for Evaluation of Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor Activity

    PubMed Central

    Israeli, Ma’ayan; Rotem, Shahar; Elia, Uri; Bar-Haim, Erez; Cohen, Ofer; Chitlaru, Theodor

    2016-01-01

    Edema Factor (EF), the toxic sub-unit of the Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin (ET) is a calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase whose detrimental activity in the infected host results in severe edema. EF is therefore a major virulence factor of B. anthracis. We describe a simple, rapid and reliable functional adenylate-cyclase assay based on inhibition of a luciferase-mediated luminescence reaction. The assay exploits the efficient adenylate cyclase-mediated depletion of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), and the strict dependence on ATP of the light-emitting luciferase-catalyzed luciferin-conversion to oxyluciferin, which can be easily visualized. The assay exhibits a robust EF-dose response decrease in luminescence, which may be specifically reverted by anti-EF antibodies. The application of the assay is exemplified in: (a) determining the presence of EF in B. anthracis cultures, or its absence in cultures of EF-defective strains; (b) evaluating the anti-EF humoral response in experimental animals infected/vaccinated with B. anthracis; and (c) rapid discrimination between EF producing and non-producing bacterial colonies. Furthermore, the assay may be amenable with high-throughput screening for EF inhibitory molecules. PMID:27548219

  1. The Pathogenomic Sequence Analysis of B. cereus and B.thuringiensis Isolates Closely Related to Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Han, Cliff S.; Xie, Gary; Challacombe, Jean F.; Altherr, MichaelR.; Smriti, B.; Bruce, David; Campbell, Connie S.; Campbell, Mary L.; Chen, Jin; Chertkov, Olga; Cleland, Cathy; Dimitrijevic-Bussod, M.; Doggett, Norman A.; Fawcett, John J.; Glavina, Tijana; Goodwin, Lynne A.; Hill, Karen K.; Hitchcock, Penny; Jackson, Paul J.; Keim, Paul; Kewalramani, Avinash Ramesh; Longmire, Jon; Lucas, Susan; Malfatti,Stephanie; McMurry, Kim; Meincke, Linda J.; Misra, Monica; Moseman,Bernice L.; Mundt, Mark; Munk, A. Christine; Okinaka, Richard T.; Parson-Quintana, B.; Reilly, Lee P.; Richardson, Paul; Robinson, DonnaL.; Rubin, Eddy; Saunders, Elizabeth; Tapia, Roxanne; Tesmer, Judith G.; Thayer, Nina; Thompson, Linda S.; Tice, Hope; Ticknor, Lawrence O.; Wills, Patti L.; Gilna, Payl; Brettin, Thomas S.

    2005-08-18

    The sequencing and analysis of two close relatives of Bacillus anthracis are reported. AFLP analysis of over 300 isolates of B.cereus, B. thuringiensis and B. anthracis identified two isolates as being very closely related to B. anthracis. One, a B. cereus, BcE33L, was isolated from a zebra carcass in Nambia; the second, a B. thuringiensis, 97-27, was isolated from a necrotic human wound. The B. cereus appears to be the closest anthracis relative sequenced to date. A core genome of over 3,900 genes was compiled for the Bacillus cereus group, including Banthracis. Comparative analysis of these two genomes with other members of the B. cereus group provides insight into the evolutionary relationships among these organisms. Evidence is presented that differential regulation modulates virulence, rather than simple acquisition of virulence factors. These genome sequences provide insight into the molecular mechanisms contributing to the host range and virulence of this group of organisms.

  2. Identification of anthrax-specific signature sequence from Bacillus anthracis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rastogi, Vipin K.; Cheng, Tu-chen

    2001-08-01

    The primary objective was to identify and clone novel chromosomal DNA fragments for use as B. anthracis-specific markers. Towards this goal, 300 random primers (RAPD technology, randomly amplified polymorphic DNA) were screened to identify polymorphic loci on the anthrax chromosome. Five such DNA fragments uniquely amplifying from anthrax chromosome were identified and isolated. These fragments were cloned in pCR vector and sequenced. Database (genebank) analysis of one of the cloned probe, VRTC899, revealed the presence of specific chromosomal DNA probe, Ba813 from anthrax. This prove also contains flanking DNA with no homology to known sequences. Availability of signature DNA probes for detection of antrax-causing agent in environmental samples is critical for field application of DNA-based sensor technologies. In conclusion, we have demonstrated application of RAPD technology for identification of anthrax-specific signature sequences. This strategy can be extended to identify signature sequences from other BW agents.

  3. Cloning, purification and crystallization of Bacillus anthracis class C acid phosphatase

    SciTech Connect

    Felts, Richard L.; Reilly, Thomas J.; Calcutt, Michael J.; Tanner, John J.

    2006-07-01

    Crystallization of a surface-localized acid phosphatase from Bacillus anthracis is reported. Flash annealing increased the high-resolution limit of usable data from 1.8 to 1.6 Å. Cloning, expression, purification and crystallization studies of a recombinant class C acid phosphatase from the Category A pathogen Bacillus anthracis are reported. Large diffraction-quality crystals were grown in the presence of HEPES and Jeffamine ED-2001 at pH 7.0. The crystals belong to space group P2{sub 1}2{sub 1}2{sub 1}, with unit-cell parameters a = 53.4, b = 90.1, c = 104.2 Å. The asymmetric unit is predicted to contain two protein molecules with a solvent content of 38%. Two native data sets were collected from the same crystal before and after flash-annealing. The first data set had a mosaicity of 1.6° and a high-resolution limit of 1.8 Å. After flash-annealing, the apparent mosaicity decreased to 0.9° and the high-resolution limit of usable data increased to 1.6 Å. This crystal form is currently being used to determine the structure of B. anthracis class C acid phosphatase with experimental phasing techniques.

  4. Design and Synthesis of Aryl Ether Inhibitors of the Bacillus Anthracis Enoyl–ACP Reductase

    PubMed Central

    Tipparaju, Suresh K.; Mulhearn, Debbie C.; Klein, Gary M.; Chen, Yufeng; Tapadar, Subhasish; Bishop, Molly H.; Yang, Shuo; Chen, Juan; Ghassemi, Mahmood; Santarsiero, Bernard D.; Cook, James L.; Johlfs, Mary; Mesecar, Andrew D.; Johnson, Michael E.; Kozikowski, Alan P.

    2009-01-01

    The problem of increasing bacterial resistance to the current generation of antibiotics is well documented. This includes such pathogens as methicillin–resistant Staphylococcus aureus and the potential for developing drug–resistant pathogens for use as bioweapons, such as Bacillus anthracis. The biphenyl ether, antibacterial triclosan exhibits broad–spectrum activity and provides a potential scaffold for the development of new, broad–spectrum antibiotics targeting the fatty acid biosynthetic pathway, via inhibition of enoyl–acyl carrier protein reductase (ENR). We have utilized a structure–based approach to develop novel aryl ether analogs of triclosan that target ENR, the product of the FabI gene, from Bacillus anthracis (BaENR). Structure–based design methods were used for the expansion of the compound series including X-ray crystal structure determination, molecular docking, and QSAR methods. Structural modifications were made to both phenyl rings of the 2-phenoxyphenyl core. A number of compounds were derived that exhibited improved potency against BaENR and increased efficacy against both the Sterne strain of B. anthracis and the methicillin–resistant strain of S. aureus. X-ray crystal structures of BaENR in complex with triclosan and two other compounds help explain the improved efficacy of the new compounds and suggest future rounds of optimisation that might be used to improve their potency. PMID:18663709

  5. Bacillus anthracis SlaQ Promotes S-Layer Protein Assembly

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen-Mau, Sao-Mai; Oh, So-Young; Schneewind, Daphne I.; Missiakas, Dominique

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Bacillus anthracis vegetative forms assemble an S-layer comprised of two S-layer proteins, Sap and EA1. A hallmark of S-layer proteins are their C-terminal crystallization domains, which assemble into a crystalline lattice once these polypeptides are deposited on the bacterial surface via association between their N-terminal S-layer homology domains and the secondary cell wall polysaccharide. Here we show that slaQ, encoding a small cytoplasmic protein conserved among pathogenic bacilli elaborating S-layers, is required for the efficient secretion and assembly of Sap and EA1. S-layer protein precursors cosediment with SlaQ, and SlaQ appears to facilitate Sap assembly. Purified SlaQ polymerizes and when mixed with purified Sap promotes the in vitro formation of tubular S-layer structures. A model is discussed whereby SlaQ, in conjunction with S-layer secretion factors SecA2 and SlaP, promotes localized secretion and S-layer assembly in B. anthracis. IMPORTANCE S-layer proteins are endowed with the propensity for self-assembly into crystalline arrays. Factors promoting S-layer protein assembly have heretofore not been reported. We identified Bacillus anthracis SlaQ, a small cytoplasmic protein that facilitates S-layer protein assembly in vivo and in vitro. PMID:26216847

  6. Host immunity to Bacillus anthracis lethal factor and other immunogens: implications for vaccine design.

    PubMed

    Altmann, Daniel M

    2015-03-01

    Infections of humans with Bacillus anthracis are an issue with respect to the biothreat both to civilians and military personnel, infections of individuals by infected livestock in endemic regions and, recently, infections of intravenous drug users injecting anthrax-contaminated heroin. Existing vaccination regimens are reliant on protective antigen neutralization induced by repeated boosts with the AVA or AVP vaccines. However, there is ongoing interest in updated approaches in light of the intensive booster regime and extent of reactogenicity inherent in the current protocols. Several other immunogens from the B. anthracis proteome have been characterized in recent years, including lethal factor. Lethal factor induces strong CD4 T-cell immunity and encompasses immunodominant epitopes of relevance across diverse HLA polymorphisms. Taken together, recent studies emphasize the potential benefits of vaccines able to confer synergistic immunity to protective antigen and to other immunogens, targeting both B-cell and T-cell repertoires. PMID:25400140

  7. Variable Lymphocyte Receptor Recognition of the Immunodominant Glycoprotein of Bacillus anthracis Spores

    SciTech Connect

    Kirchdoerfer, Robert N.; Herrin, Brantley R.; Han, Byung Woo; Turnbough, Jr., Charles L.; Cooper, Max D.; Wilson, Ian A.

    2012-07-25

    Variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) are the adaptive immune receptors of jawless fish, which evolved adaptive immunity independent of other vertebrates. In lieu of the immunoglobulin fold-based T and B cell receptors, lymphocyte-like cells of jawless fish express VLRs (VLRA, VLRB, or VLRC) composed of leucine-rich repeats and are similar to toll-like receptors (TLRs) in structure, but antibodies (VLRB) and T cell receptors (VLRA and VLRC) in function. Here, we present the structural and biochemical characterization of VLR4, a VLRB, in complex with BclA, the immunodominant glycoprotein of Bacillus anthracis spores. Using a combination of crystallography, mutagenesis, and binding studies, we delineate the mode of antigen recognition and binding between VLR4 and BclA, examine commonalities in VLRB recognition of antigens, and demonstrate the potential of VLR4 as a diagnostic tool for the identification of B. anthracis spores.

  8. Examination of intrinsic sulfonamide resistance in Bacillus anthracis: a novel assay for dihydropteroate synthase.

    PubMed

    Valderas, Michelle Wright; Andi, Babak; Barrow, William W; Cook, Paul F

    2008-05-01

    Dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) catalyzes the formation of dihydropteroate and Mg-pyrophosphate from 6-hydroxymethyl-7,8-dihydropterin diphosphate and para-aminobenzoic acid. The Bacillus anthracis DHPS is intrinsically resistant to sulfonamides. However, using a radioassay that monitors the dihydropteroate product, the enzyme was inhibited by the same sulfonamides. A continuous spectrophotometric assay for measuring the enzymatic activity of DHPS was developed and used to examine the effects of sulfonamides on the enzyme. The new assay couples the production of MgPPi to the pyrophosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase/aldolase/triose isomerase/alpha-glycerophosphate dehydrogenase reactions and monitors the disappearance of NADH at 340nm. The coupled enzyme assay demonstrates that resistance of the B. anthracis DHPS results in part from the use of the sulfonamides as alternative substrates, resulting in the formation of sulfonamide-pterin adducts, and not necessarily due to an inability to bind them. PMID:18342015

  9. Occurrence and Genetic Diversity of Bacillus anthracis Strains Isolated in an Active Wool-Cleaning Factory▿

    PubMed Central

    Wattiau, Pierre; Klee, Silke R.; Fretin, David; Van Hessche, Mieke; Ménart, Marie; Franz, Tatjana; Chasseur, Camille; Butaye, Patrick; Imberechts, Hein

    2008-01-01

    Culturable microorganisms from various samples taken at an active factory performing wool and goat hair cleaning were isolated and analyzed. Bacillus anthracis was found in air filter dust, wastewater, and goat hairs, where it accounted for approximately 1% of the total counts of viable bacteria. Consistent with the countries of origin of the processed material (South Caucasian and Middle Eastern), all B. anthracis isolates belonged to the same phylogenetic cluster, as determined by variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) typing at eight loci. Within this cluster, five closely related VNTR subtypes could be identified, of which two were previously unreported. Additional diversity was observed when more sensitive genetic markers were assayed, demonstrating the multifocal nature of goat hair contamination. Goat hair originating from areas where anthrax is endemic remains a material with high biological risk for modern woolworkers. PMID:18487406

  10. Protection of rhesus macaques against inhalational anthrax with a Bacillus anthracis capsule conjugate vaccine.

    PubMed

    Chabot, Donald J; Ribot, Wilson J; Joyce, Joseph; Cook, James; Hepler, Robert; Nahas, Debbie; Chua, Jennifer; Friedlander, Arthur M

    2016-07-25

    The efficacy of currently licensed anthrax vaccines is largely attributable to a single Bacillus anthracis immunogen, protective antigen. To broaden protection against possible strains resistant to protective antigen-based vaccines, we previously developed a vaccine in which the anthrax polyglutamic acid capsule was covalently conjugated to the outer membrane protein complex of Neisseria meningitidis serotype B and demonstrated that two doses of 2.5μg of this vaccine conferred partial protection of rhesus macaques against inhalational anthrax . Here, we demonstrate complete protection of rhesus macaques against inhalational anthrax with a higher 50μg dose of the same capsule conjugate vaccine. These results indicate that B. anthracis capsule is a highly effective vaccine component that should be considered for incorporation in future generation anthrax vaccines. PMID:27329184

  11. The Use of Germinants to Potentiate the Sensitivity of Bacillus anthracis Spores to Peracetic Acid.

    PubMed

    Celebi, Ozgur; Buyuk, Fatih; Pottage, Tom; Crook, Ant; Hawkey, Suzanna; Cooper, Callum; Bennett, Allan; Sahin, Mitat; Baillie, Leslie

    2016-01-01

    Elimination of Bacillus anthracis spores from the environment is a difficult and costly process due in part to the toxicity of current sporicidal agents. For this reason we investigated the ability of the spore germinants L-alanine (100 mM) and inosine (5 mM) to reduce the concentration of peracetic acid (PAA) required to inactivate B. anthracis spores. While L-alanine significantly enhanced (p = 0.0085) the bactericidal activity of 500 ppm PAA the same was not true for inosine suggesting some form of negative interaction. In contrast the germinant combination proved most effective at 100 ppm PAA (p = 0.0009). To determine if we could achieve similar results in soil we treated soil collected from the burial site of an anthrax infected animal which had been supplemented with spores of the Sterne strain of B. anthracis to increase the level of contamination to 10(4) spores/g. Treatment with germinants followed 1 h later by 5000 ppm PAA eliminated all of the spores. In contrast direct treatment of the animal burial site using this approach delivered using a back pack sprayer had no detectable effect on the level of B. anthracis contamination or on total culturable bacterial numbers over the course of the experiment. It did trigger a significant, but temporary, reduction (p < 0.0001) in the total spore count suggesting that germination had been triggered under real world conditions. In conclusion, we have shown that the application of germinants increase the sensitivity of bacterial spores to PAA. While the results of the single field trial were inconclusive, the study highlighted the potential of this approach and the challenges faced when attempting to perform real world studies on B. anthracis spores contaminated sites. PMID:26858699

  12. The Use of Germinants to Potentiate the Sensitivity of Bacillus anthracis Spores to Peracetic Acid

    PubMed Central

    Celebi, Ozgur; Buyuk, Fatih; Pottage, Tom; Crook, Ant; Hawkey, Suzanna; Cooper, Callum; Bennett, Allan; Sahin, Mitat; Baillie, Leslie

    2016-01-01

    Elimination of Bacillus anthracis spores from the environment is a difficult and costly process due in part to the toxicity of current sporicidal agents. For this reason we investigated the ability of the spore germinants L-alanine (100 mM) and inosine (5 mM) to reduce the concentration of peracetic acid (PAA) required to inactivate B. anthracis spores. While L-alanine significantly enhanced (p = 0.0085) the bactericidal activity of 500 ppm PAA the same was not true for inosine suggesting some form of negative interaction. In contrast the germinant combination proved most effective at 100 ppm PAA (p = 0.0009). To determine if we could achieve similar results in soil we treated soil collected from the burial site of an anthrax infected animal which had been supplemented with spores of the Sterne strain of B. anthracis to increase the level of contamination to 104 spores/g. Treatment with germinants followed 1 h later by 5000 ppm PAA eliminated all of the spores. In contrast direct treatment of the animal burial site using this approach delivered using a back pack sprayer had no detectable effect on the level of B. anthracis contamination or on total culturable bacterial numbers over the course of the experiment. It did trigger a significant, but temporary, reduction (p < 0.0001) in the total spore count suggesting that germination had been triggered under real world conditions. In conclusion, we have shown that the application of germinants increase the sensitivity of bacterial spores to PAA. While the results of the single field trial were inconclusive, the study highlighted the potential of this approach and the challenges faced when attempting to perform real world studies on B. anthracis spores contaminated sites. PMID:26858699

  13. Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Spores during Laboratory-Scale Composting of Feedlot Cattle Manure

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Shanwei; Harvey, Amanda; Barbieri, Ruth; Reuter, Tim; Stanford, Kim; Amoako, Kingsley K.; Selinger, Leonard B.; McAllister, Tim A.

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax outbreaks in livestock have social, economic and health implications, altering farmer’s livelihoods, impacting trade and posing a zoonotic risk. Our study investigated the survival of Bacillus thuringiensis and B. anthracis spores sporulated at 15, 20, or 37°C, over 33 days of composting. Spores (∼7.5 log10 CFU g-1) were mixed with manure and composted in laboratory scale composters. After 15 days, the compost was mixed and returned to the composter for a second cycle. Temperatures peaked at 71°C on day 2 and remained ≥55°C for an average of 7 days in the first cycle, but did not exceed 55°C in the second. For B. thuringiensis, spores generated at 15 and 21°C exhibited reduced (P < 0.05) viability of 2.7 and 2.6 log10 CFU g-1 respectively, as compared to a 0.6 log10 CFU g-1 reduction for those generated at 37°C. For B. anthracis, sporulation temperature did not impact spore survival as there was a 2.5, 2.2, and 2.8 log10 CFU g-1 reduction after composting for spores generated at 15, 21, and 37°C, respectively. For both species, spore viability declined more rapidly (P < 0.05) in the first as compared to the second composting cycle. Our findings suggest that the duration of thermophilic exposure (≥55°C) is the main factor influencing survival of B. anthracis spores in compost. As sporulation temperature did not influence survival of B. anthracis, composting may lower the viability of spores associated with carcasses infected with B. anthracis over a range of sporulation temperatures. PMID:27303388

  14. Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Spores during Laboratory-Scale Composting of Feedlot Cattle Manure.

    PubMed

    Xu, Shanwei; Harvey, Amanda; Barbieri, Ruth; Reuter, Tim; Stanford, Kim; Amoako, Kingsley K; Selinger, Leonard B; McAllister, Tim A

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax outbreaks in livestock have social, economic and health implications, altering farmer's livelihoods, impacting trade and posing a zoonotic risk. Our study investigated the survival of Bacillus thuringiensis and B. anthracis spores sporulated at 15, 20, or 37°C, over 33 days of composting. Spores (∼7.5 log10 CFU g(-1)) were mixed with manure and composted in laboratory scale composters. After 15 days, the compost was mixed and returned to the composter for a second cycle. Temperatures peaked at 71°C on day 2 and remained ≥55°C for an average of 7 days in the first cycle, but did not exceed 55°C in the second. For B. thuringiensis, spores generated at 15 and 21°C exhibited reduced (P < 0.05) viability of 2.7 and 2.6 log10 CFU g(-1) respectively, as compared to a 0.6 log10 CFU g(-1) reduction for those generated at 37°C. For B. anthracis, sporulation temperature did not impact spore survival as there was a 2.5, 2.2, and 2.8 log10 CFU g(-1) reduction after composting for spores generated at 15, 21, and 37°C, respectively. For both species, spore viability declined more rapidly (P < 0.05) in the first as compared to the second composting cycle. Our findings suggest that the duration of thermophilic exposure (≥55°C) is the main factor influencing survival of B. anthracis spores in compost. As sporulation temperature did not influence survival of B. anthracis, composting may lower the viability of spores associated with carcasses infected with B. anthracis over a range of sporulation temperatures. PMID:27303388

  15. STRUCTURE OF THE TYPE III PANTOTHENATE KINASE FROM Bacillus anthracis AT 2.0 Å RESOLUTION

    PubMed Central

    Nicely, Nathan I.; Parsonage, Derek; Paige, Carleitta; Newton, Gerald L.; Fahey, Robert C.; Leonardi, Roberta; Jackowski, Suzanne; Mallett, T. Conn; Claiborne, Al

    2008-01-01

    Coenzyme A (CoASH) is the major low-molecular weight thiol in Staphylococcus aureus and a number of other bacteria; the crystal structure of the S. aureus coenzyme A-disulfide reductase (CoADR), which maintains the reduced intracellular state of CoASH, has recently been reported [Mallett, T.C., Wallen, J.R., Karplus, P.A., Sakai, H., Tsukihara, T., and Claiborne, A. (2006) Biochemistry 45, 11278-11289]. In this report we demonstrate that CoASH is the major thiol in Bacillus anthracis; a bioinformatics analysis indicates that three of the four proteins responsible for the conversion of pantothenate (Pan) to CoASH in Escherichia coli are conserved in B. anthracis. In contrast, a novel type III pantothenate kinase (PanK) catalyzes the first committed step in the biosynthetic pathway in B. anthracis; unlike the E. coli type I PanK, this enzyme is not subject to feedback inhibition by CoASH. The crystal structure of B. anthracis PanK (BaPanK), solved using multiwavelength anomalous dispersion data and refined at a resolution of 2.0 Å, demonstrates that BaPanK is a new member of the Acetate and Sugar Kinase/Hsc70/Actin (ASKHA) superfamily. The Pan and ATP substrates have been modeled into the active-site cleft; in addition to providing a clear rationale for the absence of CoASH inhibition, analysis of the Pan-binding pocket has led to the development of two new structure-based motifs (the PAN and INTERFACE motifs). Our analyses also suggest that the type III PanK in the spore-forming B. anthracis plays an essential role in the novel thiol/disulfide redox biology of this category A biodefense pathogen. PMID:17323930

  16. HtrC Is Involved in Proteolysis of YpeB during Germination of Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis Spores

    PubMed Central

    Bernhards, Casey B.; Chen, Yan; Toutkoushian, Hannah

    2014-01-01

    Bacterial endospores can remain dormant for decades yet can respond to nutrients, germinate, and resume growth within minutes. An essential step in the germination process is degradation of the spore cortex peptidoglycan wall, and the SleB protein in Bacillus species plays a key role in this process. Stable incorporation of SleB into the spore requires the YpeB protein, and some evidence suggests that the two proteins interact within the dormant spore. Early during germination, YpeB is proteolytically processed to a stable fragment. In this work, the primary sites of YpeB cleavage were identified in Bacillus anthracis, and it was shown that the stable products are comprised of the C-terminal domain of YpeB. Modification of the predominant YpeB cleavage sites reduced proteolysis, but cleavage at other sites still resulted in loss of full-length YpeB. A B. anthracis strain lacking the HtrC protease did not generate the same stable YpeB products. In B. anthracis and Bacillus subtilis htrC mutants, YpeB was partially stabilized during germination but was still degraded at a reduced rate by other, unidentified proteases. Purified HtrC cleaved YpeB to a fragment similar to that observed in vivo, and this cleavage was stimulated by Mn2+ or Ca2+ ions. A lack of HtrC did not stabilize YpeB or SleB during spore formation in the absence of the partner protein, indicating other proteases are involved in their degradation during sporulation. PMID:25384476

  17. Recombinant expression and purification of a tumor-targeted toxin in Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Bachran, Christopher; Abdelazim, Suzanne; Fattah, Rasem J.; Liu, Shihui; Leppla, Stephen H.

    2013-01-04

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Non-infectious and protease-deficient Bacillus anthracis protein expression system. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Successful expression and purification of a tumor-targeted fusion protein drug. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Very low endotoxin contamination of purified protein. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Efficient protein secretion simplifies purification. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Functional anti-tumor fusion protein purified. -- Abstract: Many recombinant therapeutic proteins are purified from Escherichia coli. While expression in E. coli is easily achieved, some disadvantages such as protein aggregation, formation of inclusion bodies, and contamination of purified proteins with the lipopolysaccharides arise. Lipopolysaccharides have to be removed to prevent inflammatory responses in patients. Use of the Gram-positive Bacillus anthracis as an expression host offers a solution to circumvent these problems. Using the multiple protease-deficient strain BH460, we expressed a fusion of the N-terminal 254 amino acids of anthrax lethal factor (LFn), the N-terminal 389 amino acids of diphtheria toxin (DT389) and human transforming growth factor alpha (TGF{alpha}). The resulting fusion protein was constitutively expressed and successfully secreted by B. anthracis into the culture supernatant. Purification was achieved by anion exchange chromatography and proteolytic cleavage removed LFn from the desired fusion protein (DT389 fused to TGF{alpha}). The fusion protein showed the intended specific cytotoxicity to epidermal growth factor receptor-expressing human head and neck cancer cells. Final analyses showed low levels of lipopolysaccharides, originating most likely from contamination during the purification process. Thus, the fusion to LFn for protein secretion and expression in B. anthracis BH460 provides an elegant tool to obtain high levels of lipopolysaccharide-free recombinant protein.

  18. Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Spores by Liquid Biocides in the Presence of Food Residue▿

    PubMed Central

    Hilgren, J.; Swanson, K. M. J.; Diez-Gonzalez, F.; Cords, B.

    2007-01-01

    Biocide inactivation of Bacillus anthracis spores in the presence of food residues after a 10-min treatment time was investigated. Spores of nonvirulent Bacillus anthracis strains 7702, ANR-1, and 9131 were mixed with water, flour paste, whole milk, or egg yolk emulsion and dried onto stainless-steel carriers. The carriers were exposed to various concentrations of peroxyacetic acid, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for 10 min at 10, 20, or 30°C, after which time the survivors were quantified. The relationship between peroxyacetic acid concentration, H2O2 concentration, and spore inactivation followed a sigmoid curve that was accurately described using a four-parameter logistic model. At 20°C, the minimum concentrations of peroxyacetic acid, H2O2, and NaOCl (as total available chlorine) predicted to inactivate 6 log10 CFU of B. anthracis spores with no food residue present were 1.05, 23.0, and 0.78%, respectively. At 10°C, sodium hypochlorite at 5% total available chlorine did not inactivate more than 4 log10 CFU. The presence of the food residues had only a minimal effect on peroxyacetic acid and H2O2 sporicidal efficacy, but the efficacy of sodium hypochlorite was markedly inhibited by whole-milk and egg yolk residues. Sodium hypochlorite at 5% total available chlorine provided no greater than a 2-log10 CFU reduction when spores were in the presence of egg yolk residue. This research provides new information regarding the usefulness of peroxygen biocides for B. anthracis spore inactivation when food residue is present. This work also provides guidance for adjusting decontamination procedures for food-soiled and cold surfaces. PMID:17720823

  19. Testing nucleoside analogues as inhibitors of Bacillus anthracis spore germination in vitro and in macrophage cell culture.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, Zadkiel; Lee, Kyungae; Abel-Santos, Ernesto

    2010-12-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, has a dormant stage in its life cycle known as the endospore. When conditions become favorable, spores germinate and transform into vegetative bacteria. In inhalational anthrax, the most fatal manifestation of the disease, spores enter the organism through the respiratory tract and germinate in phagosomes of alveolar macrophages. Germinated cells can then produce toxins and establish infection. Thus, germination is a crucial step for the initiation of pathogenesis. B. anthracis spore germination is activated by a wide variety of amino acids and purine nucleosides. Inosine and l-alanine are the two most potent nutrient germinants in vitro. Recent studies have shown that germination can be hindered by isomers or structural analogues of germinants. 6-Thioguanosine (6-TG), a guanosine analogue, is able to inhibit germination and prevent B. anthracis toxin-mediated necrosis in murine macrophages. In this study, we screened 46 different nucleoside analogues as activators or inhibitors of B. anthracis spore germination in vitro. These compounds were also tested for their ability to protect the macrophage cell line J774a.1 from B. anthracis cytotoxicity. Structure-activity relationship analysis of activators and inhibitors clarified the binding mechanisms of nucleosides to B. anthracis spores. In contrast, no structure-activity relationships were apparent for compounds that protected macrophages from B. anthracis-mediated killing. However, multiple inhibitors additively protected macrophages from B. anthracis. PMID:20921305

  20. Storage Effects on Sample Integrity of Environmental Surface Sampling Specimens with Bacillus anthracis Spores

    PubMed Central

    Perry, K. Allison; O’Connell, Heather A.; Rose, Laura J.; Noble-Wang, Judith A.; Arduino, Matthew J.

    2016-01-01

    The effect of packaging, shipping temperatures and storage times on recovery of Bacillus anthracis. Sterne spores from swabs was investigated. Macrofoam swabs were pre-moistened, inoculated with Bacillus anthracis spores, and packaged in primary containment or secondary containment before storage at −15°C, 5°C, 21°C, or 35°C for 0–7 days. Swabs were processed according to validated Centers for Disease Control/Laboratory Response Network culture protocols, and the percent recovery relative to a reference sample (T0) was determined for each variable. No differences were observed in recovery between swabs held at −15° and 5°C, (p ≥ 0.23). These two temperatures provided significantly better recovery than swabs held at 21°C or 35°C (all 7 days pooled, p ≤ 0.04). The percent recovery at 5°C was not significantly different if processed on days 1, 2 or 4, but was significantly lower on day 7 (day 2 vs. 7, 5°C, 102, p=0.03). Secondary containment provided significantly better percent recovery than primary containment, regardless of storage time (5°C data, p ≤ 0.008). The integrity of environmental swab samples containing Bacillus anthracis spores shipped in secondary containment was maintained when stored at −15°C or 5°C and processed within 4 days to yield the optimum percent recovery of spores. PMID:27213119

  1. Genome sequence of Bacillus anthracis attenuated vaccine strain A16R used for human in China.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xiankai; Qi, Xinpeng; Zhu, Li; Wang, Dongshu; Gao, Zhiqi; Deng, Haijun; Wu, Weili; Hu, Tao; Chen, Chen; Chen, Weijun; Wang, Hengliang

    2015-09-20

    An attenuated Bacillus anthracis vaccine strain for human use, A16R, was obtained in China after ultraviolet radiation treatment and continuous subculture of the wild-type strain A16. A16R can synthesize the exotoxin, but without a capsule. We sequenced and annotated the A16R genome to encourage the use of this strain. The genome sequencing of the wild-type strain A16 is underway and the genomic comparison between the two strains will help to illustrate the attenuating mechanism of the A16R vaccine strain. PMID:26116813

  2. Physical Sequestration of Bacillus anthracis in the Pulmonary Capillaries in Terminal Infection.

    PubMed

    Jouvion, Gregory; Corre, Jean-Philippe; Khun, Huot; Moya-Nilges, Marie; Roux, Pascal; Latroche, Claire; Tournier, Jean-Nicolas; Huerre, Michel; Chrétien, Fabrice; Goossens, Pierre L

    2016-07-15

    The lung is the terminal target of Bacillus anthracis before death, whatever the route of infection (cutaneous, inhalational, or digestive). During a cutaneous infection in absence of toxins, we observed encapsulated bacteria colonizing the alveolar capillary network, bacteria and hemorrhages in alveolar and bronchiolar spaces, and hypoxic foci in the lung (endothelial cells) and brain (neurons and neuropil). Circulating encapsulated bacteria were as chains of approximately 13 µm in length. Bacteria of such size were immediately trapped within the lung capillary network, but bacteria of shorter length were not. Controlling lung-targeted pathology would be beneficial for anthrax treatment. PMID:26977051

  3. Bacillus anthracis pXO1 plasmid encodes a putative membrane-bound bacteriocin

    PubMed Central

    Perlińska, Agata

    2014-01-01

    Evolutionary advantages over cousin cells in bacterial pathogens may decide about the success of a specific cell in its environment. Bacteria use a plethora of methods to defend against other cells and many devices to attack their opponents when competing for resources. Bacteriocins are antibacterial proteins that are used to eliminate competition. We report the discovery of a putative membrane-bound bacteriocin encoded by the Bacillus anthracis pathogenic pXO1 plasmid. We analyze the genomic structure of the bacteriocin operon. The proposed mechanisms of action predestine this operon as a potent competitive advantage over cohabitants of the same niche. PMID:25426338

  4. Potential role of autophagy in the bactericidal activity of human PMNs for Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Ramachandran, Girish; Gade, Padmaja; Tsai, Pei; Lu, Wuyuan; Kalvakolanu, Dhananjaya V; Rosen, Gerald M; Cross, Alan S

    2015-12-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is acquired by mammalian hosts from the environment, as quiescent endospores. These endospores must germinate inside host cells, forming vegetative bacilli, before they can express the virulence factors that enable them to evade host defenses and disseminate throughout the body. While the role of macrophages and dendritic cells in this initial interaction has been established, the role of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) has not been adequately defined. We discovered that while B. anthracis 34F2 Sterne endospores germinate poorly within non-activated human PMNs, these phagocytes exhibit rapid microbicidal activity toward the outgrown vegetative bacilli, independent of superoxide and nitric oxide. These findings suggest that a non-free radical pathway kills B. anthracis bacilli. We also find in PMNs an autophagic mechanism of bacterial killing based on the rapid induction of LC-3 conversion, beclin-1 expression, sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1) degradation and inhibition of bactericidal activity by the inhibitor, 3-methyladenine. These findings extend to PMNs an autophagic bactericidal mechanism previously described for other phagocytes. PMID:26424808

  5. Transcriptional Stimulation of Anthrax Toxin Receptors by Anthrax Edema Toxin and Bacillus anthracis Sterne Spore

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Qingfu; Hesek, Eric D.; Zeng, Mingtao

    2007-01-01

    We used quantitative real-time RT-PCR to not only investigate the mRNA levels of anthrax toxin receptor 1 (ANTXR1) and 2 (ANTXR2) in the murine J774A.1 macrophage cells and different tissues of mice, but also evaluate the effect of anthrax edema toxin and Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores on the expression of mRNA of these receptors. The mRNA transcripts of both receptors was detected in J774A.1 cells and mouse tissues such as the lung, heart, kidney, spleen, stomach, jejunum, brain, skeleton muscle, and skin. The ANTXR2 mRNA level was significantly higher than that of ANTXR1 in J774A.1 cells and all tissues examined. The mRNA expression of both receptors in the lung was the highest among the tissues evaluated. Interestingly, the mRNA expression of both receptors in J774A.1 cells was up-regulated by edema toxin. In addition, ANTXR mRNA expression in the lung was down-regulated after subcutaneous inoculation of B. anthracis Sterne spores as well as after intranasal administration of anthrax toxin-based vaccine BioThrax™. These results suggest that anthrax edema toxin and B. anthracis Sterne spore are involved in the ANTXR mRNA regulation in host cells. PMID:17459655

  6. Laboratory studies on surface sampling of Bacillus anthracis contamination: summary, gaps and recommendations.

    PubMed

    Piepel, G F; Amidan, B G; Hu, R

    2012-12-01

    This article summarizes previous laboratory studies to characterize the performance of methods for collecting, storing/transporting, processing and analysing samples from surfaces contaminated by Bacillus anthracis or related surrogates. The focus is on plate culture and count estimates of surface contamination for swab, wipe and vacuum samples of porous and nonporous surfaces. Summaries of the previous studies and their results were assessed to identify gaps in information needed as inputs to calculate key parameters critical to risk management in biothreat incidents. One key parameter is the number of samples needed to make characterization or clearance decisions with specified statistical confidence. Other key parameters include the ability to calculate, following contamination incidents, the (i) estimates of B. anthracis contamination, as well as the bias and uncertainties in the estimates and (ii) confidence in characterization and clearance decisions for contaminated or decontaminated buildings. Gaps in knowledge and understanding identified during the summary of the studies are discussed. Additional work is needed to quantify (i) the false-negative rates of surface-sampling methods with lower concentrations on various surfaces and (ii) the effects on performance characteristics of: aerosol vs liquid deposition of spores, using surrogates instead of B. anthracis, real-world vs laboratory conditions and storage and transportation conditions. Recommendations are given for future evaluations of data from existing studies and possible new studies. PMID:22747878

  7. Global Metabolomic Analysis of a Mammalian Host Infected with Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen, Chinh T. Q.; Shetty, Vivekananda

    2015-01-01

    Whereas DNA provides the information to design life and proteins provide the materials to construct it, the metabolome can be viewed as the physiology that powers it. As such, metabolomics, the field charged with the study of the dynamic small-molecule fluctuations that occur in response to changing biology, is now being used to study the basis of disease. Here, we describe a comprehensive metabolomic analysis of a systemic bacterial infection using Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax disease, as the model pathogen. An organ and blood analysis identified approximately 400 metabolites, including several key classes of lipids involved in inflammation, as being suppressed by B. anthracis. Metabolite changes were detected as early as 1 day postinfection, well before the onset of disease or the spread of bacteria to organs, which testifies to the sensitivity of this methodology. Functional studies using pharmacologic inhibition of host phospholipases support the idea of a role of these key enzymes and lipid mediators in host survival during anthrax disease. Finally, the results are integrated to provide a comprehensive picture of how B. anthracis alters host physiology. Collectively, the results of this study provide a blueprint for using metabolomics as a platform to identify and study novel host-pathogen interactions that shape the outcome of an infection. PMID:26438791

  8. Combined Effects of High Hydrostatic Pressure and Temperature for Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Spores

    PubMed Central

    Cléry-Barraud, Cécile; Gaubert, Agnès; Masson, Patrick; Vidal, Dominique

    2004-01-01

    Spores of Bacillus anthracis are known to be extremely resistant to heat treatment, irradiation, desiccation, and disinfectants. To determine inactivation kinetics of spores by high pressure, B. anthracis spores of a Sterne strain-derived mutant deficient in the production of the toxin components (strain RP42) were exposed to pressures ranging from 280 to 500 MPa for 10 min to 6 h, combined with temperatures ranging from 20 to 75°C. The combination of heat and pressure resulted in complete destruction of B. anthracis spores, with a D value (exposure time for 90% inactivation of the spore population) of approximately 4 min after pressurization at 500 MPa and 75°C, compared to 160 min at 500 MPa and 20°C and 348 min at atmospheric pressure (0.1 MPa) and 75°C. The use of high pressure for spore inactivation represents a considerable improvement over other available methods of spore inactivation and could be of interest for antigenic spore preparation. PMID:14711702

  9. Specific activation of dendritic cells enhances clearance of Bacillus anthracis following infection.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Iain J T; Mann, Elizabeth R; Stokes, Margaret G; English, Nicholas R; Knight, Stella C; Williamson, Diane

    2014-01-01

    Dendritic cells are potent activators of the immune system and have a key role in linking innate and adaptive immune responses. In the current study we have used ex vivo pulsed bone marrow dendritic cells (BMDC) in a novel adoptive transfer strategy to protect against challenge with Bacillus anthracis, in a murine model. Pre-pulsing murine BMDC with either recombinant Protective Antigen (PA) or CpG significantly upregulated expression of the activation markers CD40, CD80, CD86 and MHC-II. Passive transfusion of mice with pulsed BMDC, concurrently with active immunisation with rPA in alum, significantly enhanced (p<0.001) PA-specific splenocyte responses seven days post-immunisation. Parallel studies using ex vivo DCs expanded from human peripheral blood and activated under the same conditions as the murine DC, demonstrated that human DCs had a PA dose-related significant increase in the markers CD40, CD80 and CCR7 and that the increases in CD40 and CD80 were maintained when the other activating components, CpG and HK B. anthracis were added to the rPA in culture. Mice vaccinated on a single occasion intra-muscularly with rPA and alum and concurrently transfused intra-dermally with pulsed BMDC, demonstrated 100% survival following lethal B. anthracis challenge and had significantly enhanced (p<0.05) bacterial clearance within 2 days, compared with mice vaccinated with rPA and alum alone. PMID:25380285

  10. The role of anthrolysin O in gut epithelial barrier disruption during Bacillus anthracis infection.

    PubMed

    Bishop, Brian L; Lodolce, James P; Kolodziej, Lauren E; Boone, David L; Tang, Wei Jen

    2010-04-01

    Gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax, caused by the bacterial infection of Bacillus anthracis, posts a significant bioterrorism threat by its relatively high mortality rate in humans. Different from inhalational anthrax by the route of infection, accumulating evidence indicates the bypass of vegetative bacteria across GI epithelium is required to initiate GI anthrax. Previously, we reported that purified anthrolysin O (ALO), instead of tripartite anthrax edema and lethal toxins, is capable of disrupting gut epithelial tight junctions and barrier function in cultured cells. Here, we show that ALO can disrupt intestinal tissue barrier function in an ex vivo mouse model. To explore the effects of ALO in a cell culture model of B. anthracis infection, we showed that anthrax bacteria can effectively reduce the monolayer integrity of human Caco-2 brush-border expressor (C2BBE) cells based on the reduced transepithelial resistance and the increased leakage of fluorescent dye. This disruption is likely caused by tight junction dysfunction observed by the reorganization of the tight junction protein occludin. Consequently, we observe significant passage of vegetative anthrax bacteria across C2BBE cells. This barrier disruption and bacterial crossover requires ALO since ALO-deficient B. anthracis strains fail to induce monolayer dysfunction and allow the passage of anthrax bacteria. Together these findings point to a pivotal role for ALO within the establishment of GI anthrax infection and the initial bypass of the epithelial barrier. PMID:20188700

  11. Recombinant expression and purification of a tumor-targeted toxin in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Bachran, Christopher; Abdelazim, Suzanne; Fattah, Rasem J; Liu, Shihui; Leppla, Stephen H

    2013-01-01

    Many recombinant therapeutic proteins are purified from Escherichia coli. While expression in E. coli is easily achieved, some disadvantages such as protein aggregation, formation of inclusion bodies, and contamination of purified proteins with the lipopolysaccharides arise. Lipopolysaccharides have to be removed to prevent inflammatory responses in patients. Use of the Gram-positive Bacillus anthracis as an expression host offers a solution to circumvent these problems. Using the multiple protease-deficient strain BH460, we expressed a fusion of the N-terminal 254 amino acids of anthrax lethal factor (LFn), the N-terminal 389 amino acids of diphtheria toxin (DT389) and human transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα). The resulting fusion protein was constitutively expressed and successfully secreted by B. anthracis into the culture supernatant. Purification was achieved by anion exchange chromatography and proteolytic cleavage removed LFn from the desired fusion protein (DT389 fused to TGFα). The fusion protein showed the intended specific cytotoxicity to epidermal growth factor receptor-expressing human head and neck cancer cells. Final analyses showed low levels of lipopolysaccharides, originating most likely from contamination during the purification process. Thus, the fusion to LFn for protein secretion and expression in B. anthracis BH460 provides an elegant tool to obtain high levels of lipopolysaccharide-free recombinant protein. PMID:23200832

  12. Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin Causes Extensive Tissue Lesions and Rapid Lethality in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Firoved, Aaron M.; Miller, Georgina F.; Moayeri, Mahtab; Kakkar, Rahul; Shen, Yuequan; Wiggins, Jason F.; McNally, Elizabeth M.; Tang, Wei-Jen; Leppla, Stephen H.

    2005-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis edema toxin (ET), an adenylyl cyclase, is an important virulence factor that contributes to anthrax disease. The role of ET in anthrax pathogenesis is, however, poorly understood. Previous studies using crude toxin preparations associated ET with subcutaneous edema, and ET-deficient strains of B. anthracis showed a reduction in virulence. We report the first comprehensive study of ET-induced pathology in an animal model. Highly purified ET caused death in BALB/cJ mice at lower doses and more rapidly than previously seen with the other major B. anthracis virulence factor, lethal toxin. Observations of gross pathology showed intestinal intralumenal fluid accumulation followed by focal hemorrhaging of the ileum and adrenal glands. Histopathological analyses of timed tissue harvests revealed lesions in several tissues including adrenal glands, lymphoid organs, bone, bone marrow, gastrointestinal mucosa, heart, and kidneys. Concomitant blood chemistry analyses supported the induction of tissue damage. Several cytokines increased after ET administration, including granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, eotaxin, keratinocyte-derived cytokine, MCP-1/JE, interleukin-6, interleukin-10, and interleukin-1β. Physiological measurements also revealed a concurrent hypotension and bradycardia. These studies detail the extensive pathological lesions caused by ET and suggest that it causes death due to multiorgan failure. PMID:16251415

  13. Global metabolomic analysis of a mammalian host infected with Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Chinh T Q; Shetty, Vivekananda; Maresso, Anthony W

    2015-12-01

    Whereas DNA provides the information to design life and proteins provide the materials to construct it, the metabolome can be viewed as the physiology that powers it. As such, metabolomics, the field charged with the study of the dynamic small-molecule fluctuations that occur in response to changing biology, is now being used to study the basis of disease. Here, we describe a comprehensive metabolomic analysis of a systemic bacterial infection using Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax disease, as the model pathogen. An organ and blood analysis identified approximately 400 metabolites, including several key classes of lipids involved in inflammation, as being suppressed by B. anthracis. Metabolite changes were detected as early as 1 day postinfection, well before the onset of disease or the spread of bacteria to organs, which testifies to the sensitivity of this methodology. Functional studies using pharmacologic inhibition of host phospholipases support the idea of a role of these key enzymes and lipid mediators in host survival during anthrax disease. Finally, the results are integrated to provide a comprehensive picture of how B. anthracis alters host physiology. Collectively, the results of this study provide a blueprint for using metabolomics as a platform to identify and study novel host-pathogen interactions that shape the outcome of an infection. PMID:26438791

  14. Over-expression, purification, and confirmation of Bacillus anthracis transcriptional regulator NprR.

    PubMed

    Rice, Amy J; Woo, Jerry K; Khan, Attiya; Szypulinski, Michael Z; Johnson, Michael E; Lee, Hyunwoo; Lee, Hyun

    2016-09-01

    Quorum sensing (QS) has been recognized as an important biological phenomenon in which bacterial cells communicate and coordinate their gene expression and cellular processes with respect to population density. Bacillus anthracis is the etiological agent of fatal pulmonary anthrax infections, and the NprR/NprX QS system may be involved in its pathogenesis. NprR, renamed as aqsR for anthrax quorum sensing Regulator, is a transcriptional regulator that may control the expression of genes required for proliferation and survival. Currently, there is no protocol reported to over-express and purify B. anthracis AqsR. In this study, we describe cloning, purification, and confirmation of functional full-length B. anthracis AqsR protein. The AqsR gene was cloned into the pQE-30 vector with an HRV 3C protease recognition site between AqsR and the N-terminal His6-tag in order to yield near native AqsR after the His-tag cleavage, leaving only two additional amino acid residues at the N-terminus. PMID:26344899

  15. A Method Detection Limit for Bacillus anthracis Spores in Water Using an Automated Waterborne Pathogen Concentrator.

    PubMed

    Humrighouse, Ben; Pemberton, Adin; Gallardo, Vicente; Lindquist, H D Alan; LaBudde, Robert

    2015-01-01

    The method detection limit (MDL, 99% chance of detecting a positive result in a single replicate), as per the United States Code of Federal Regulations, was determined for a protocol using an ultrafiltration based automated waterborne pathogen concentration device. Bacillus anthracis Sterne strain spores were seeded at low levels into 100 L reagent water samples. Suspect colonies were confirmed through morphological, chemical, and genetic tests. Samples of 100 L (n=14) of reagent water were seeded with five B. anthracis CFUs each. To confirm the estimated detection limit, a second set (n=19) of 100 L reagent water samples were seeded at a higher level (7 CFUs). The second estimate of the MDL could not be pooled with the first, due to significant difference in variance. A third trial (n=7) seeded with 10 CFUs produced an estimate of the MDL that could be pooled with the higher previous estimate. Another trial consisting of eight 100 L samples of tap water were seeded with approximately 7 CFUs. Recovery in these samples was not significantly different from the pooled MDL. Theoretically a concentration of 4.6 spores/100 L would be required for detection 95% of the time, based on a Poisson distribution. The calculated pooled MDL, based on experimental data was approximately 6 B. anthracis CFU/100 L (95% confidence interval 4.8 to 8.4). Detection at this level was achieved in municipal water samples. PMID:26268983

  16. Bacillus anthracis TIR Domain-Containing Protein Localises to Cellular Microtubule Structures and Induces Autophagy.

    PubMed

    Carlsson, Emil; Thwaite, Joanne E; Jenner, Dominic C; Spear, Abigail M; Flick-Smith, Helen; Atkins, Helen S; Byrne, Bernadette; Ding, Jeak Ling

    2016-01-01

    Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognise invading pathogens and mediate downstream immune signalling via Toll/IL-1 receptor (TIR) domains. TIR domain proteins (Tdps) have been identified in multiple pathogenic bacteria and have recently been implicated as negative regulators of host innate immune activation. A Tdp has been identified in Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. Here we present the first study of this protein, designated BaTdp. Recombinantly expressed and purified BaTdp TIR domain interacted with several human TIR domains, including that of the key TLR adaptor MyD88, although BaTdp expression in cultured HEK293 cells had no effect on TLR4- or TLR2- mediated immune activation. During expression in mammalian cells, BaTdp localised to microtubular networks and caused an increase in lipidated cytosolic microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3), indicative of autophagosome formation. In vivo intra-nasal infection experiments in mice showed that a BaTdp knockout strain colonised host tissue faster with higher bacterial load within 4 days post-infection compared to the wild type B. anthracis. Taken together, these findings indicate that BaTdp does not play an immune suppressive role, but rather, its absence increases virulence. BaTdp present in wild type B. anthracis plausibly interact with the infected host cell, which undergoes autophagy in self-defence. PMID:27391310

  17. Genetic diversity of Bacillus anthracis in Europe: genotyping methods in forensic and epidemiologic investigations.

    PubMed

    Derzelle, Sylviane; Thierry, Simon

    2013-09-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, a zoonosis relatively common throughout the world, can be used as an agent of bioterrorism. In naturally occurring outbreaks and in criminal release of this pathogen, a fast and accurate diagnosis is crucial to an effective response. Microbiological forensics and epidemiologic investigations increasingly rely on molecular markers, such as polymorphisms in DNA sequence, to obtain reliable information regarding the identification or source of a suspicious strain. Over the past decade, significant research efforts have been undertaken to develop genotyping methods with increased power to differentiate B. anthracis strains. A growing number of DNA signatures have been identified and used to survey B. anthracis diversity in nature, leading to rapid advances in our understanding of the global population of this pathogen. This article provides an overview of the different phylogenetic subgroups distributed across the world, with a particular focus on Europe. Updated information on the anthrax situation in Europe is reported. A brief description of some of the work in progress in the work package 5.1 of the AniBioThreat project is also presented, including (1) the development of a robust typing tool based on a suspension array technology and multiplexed single nucleotide polymorphisms scoring and (2) the typing of a collection of DNA from European isolates exchanged between the partners of the project. The know-how acquired will contribute to improving the EU's ability to react rapidly when the identity and real origin of a strain need to be established. PMID:23971802

  18. Bacillus anthracis TIR Domain-Containing Protein Localises to Cellular Microtubule Structures and Induces Autophagy

    PubMed Central

    Carlsson, Emil; Thwaite, Joanne E.; Jenner, Dominic C.; Spear, Abigail M.; Flick-Smith, Helen; Atkins, Helen S.; Ding, Jeak Ling

    2016-01-01

    Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognise invading pathogens and mediate downstream immune signalling via Toll/IL-1 receptor (TIR) domains. TIR domain proteins (Tdps) have been identified in multiple pathogenic bacteria and have recently been implicated as negative regulators of host innate immune activation. A Tdp has been identified in Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. Here we present the first study of this protein, designated BaTdp. Recombinantly expressed and purified BaTdp TIR domain interacted with several human TIR domains, including that of the key TLR adaptor MyD88, although BaTdp expression in cultured HEK293 cells had no effect on TLR4- or TLR2- mediated immune activation. During expression in mammalian cells, BaTdp localised to microtubular networks and caused an increase in lipidated cytosolic microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3), indicative of autophagosome formation. In vivo intra-nasal infection experiments in mice showed that a BaTdp knockout strain colonised host tissue faster with higher bacterial load within 4 days post-infection compared to the wild type B. anthracis. Taken together, these findings indicate that BaTdp does not play an immune suppressive role, but rather, its absence increases virulence. BaTdp present in wild type B. anthracis plausibly interact with the infected host cell, which undergoes autophagy in self-defence. PMID:27391310

  19. A recombinant Bacillus anthracis strain producing the Clostridium perfringens Ib component induces protection against iota toxins.

    PubMed Central

    Sirard, J C; Weber, M; Duflot, E; Popoff, M R; Mock, M

    1997-01-01

    The Bacillus anthracis toxinogenic Sterne strain is currently used as a live veterinary vaccine against anthrax. The capacity of a toxin-deficient derivative strain to produce a heterologous antigen by using the strong inducible promoter of the B. anthracis pag gene was investigated. The expression of the foreign gene ibp, encoding the Ib component of iota toxin from Clostridium perfringens, was analyzed. A pag-ibp fusion was introduced by allelic exchange into a toxin-deficient Sterne strain, thereby replacing the wild-type pag gene. This recombinant strain, called BAIB, was stable and secreted large quantities of Ib protein in induced culture conditions. Mice given injections of live BAIB spores developed an antibody response specific to the Ib protein. The pag-ibp fusion was therefore functional both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, the immunized animals were protected against a challenge with C. perfringens iota toxin or with the homologous Clostridium spiroforme toxin. The protective immunity was mediated by neutralizing antibodies. In conclusion, B. anthracis is promising for the development of live veterinary vaccines. PMID:9169728

  20. Protection of mice against challenge with Bacillus anthracis STI spores after DNA vaccination.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Ulrike K; Alex, Michaela; Czerny, Claus-Peter; Böhm, Reinhard; Beyer, Wolfgang

    2004-07-01

    Immune responses against the protective antigen (PA) of Bacillus anthracis are known to confer immunity against anthrax. We evaluated the efficacy of genetic vaccination with plasmid vectors encoding PA, in protecting mice from a lethal challenge with B. anthracis STI spores. BALB/c and A/J mice were immunized via gene gun inoculation, using eukaryotic expression vectors with different cellular targeting signals for the encoded antigen. The vector pSecTag PA83, encoding the full-length PA protein, has a signal sequence for secretion of the expressed protein. The plasmids pCMV/ER PA83 and pCMV/ER PA63, encoding the full-length and the physiologically active form of PA, respectively, target and retain the expressed antigen in the endoplasmic reticulum of transfected cells. All three plasmids induced PA-specific humoral immune responses, predominantly IgG1 antibodies, in mice. Spleen cells collected from plasmid-vaccinated BALB/c mice produced PA-specific interleukin-4, interleukin-5, and interferon-gamma in vitro. Vaccination with either pSecTag PA83 or pCMV/ER PA83 showed significant protection of A/J mice against infection with B. anthracis STI spores. PMID:15293452

  1. Discerning Viable from Nonviable Yersinia pestis pgm- and Bacillus anthracis Sterne using Propidium Monoazide in the Presence of White Powders

    SciTech Connect

    Hess, Becky M.; Kaiser, Brooke LD; Sydor, Michael A.; Wunschel, David S.; Bruckner-Lea, Cindy J.; Hutchison, Janine R.

    2015-12-23

    ABSTRACT Aims To develop and optimize an assay to determine viability status of Bacillus anthracis Sterne and Yersinia pestis pgm- strains in the presence of white powders by coupling propidium monoazide (PMA) treatment with real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis. Methods and Results PMA selectively enters nonviable cells and binds DNA, thereby increasing qPCR assay cycle threshold (CT) values compared to untreated samples. Dye concentration, cell number and fitness, incubation time, inactivation methods, and assay buffer were optimized for B. anthracis Sterne and Y. pestis pgm-. Differences in CT values in nonviable cells compared to untreated samples were consistently > 9 for both B. anthracis Sterne vegetative cells and Y. pestis pgm- in the presence and absence of three different white powders. Our method eliminates the need for a DNA extraction step prior to detection by qPCR. Conclusions The developed assay enables simultaneous identification and viability assessment for B. anthracis Sterne and Y. pestis pgm- under laboratory conditions, even in the presence of white powders. Eliminating the DNA extraction step that is typically used reduces total assay time and labor requirements for sample analysis. Significance and Impact of the Study The method developed for simultaneous detection and viability assessment for B. anthracis and Y. pestis can be employed in forming decisions about the severity of a biothreat event or the safety of food. Keywords Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Propidium Monoazide, qPCR, White Powders, Rapid Viability Detection

  2. Evaluation of the Efficacy of Methyl Bromide in the Decontamination of Building and Interior Materials Contaminated with Bacillus anthracis Spores

    PubMed Central

    Wendling, Morgan; Richter, William; Lastivka, Andrew; Mickelsen, Leroy

    2016-01-01

    The primary goal of this study was to determine the conditions required for the effective inactivation of Bacillus anthracis spores on materials by using methyl bromide (MeBr) gas. Another objective was to obtain comparative decontamination efficacy data with three avirulent microorganisms to assess their potential for use as surrogates for B. anthracis Ames. Decontamination tests were conducted with spores of B. anthracis Ames and Geobacillus stearothermophilus, B. anthracis NNR1Δ1, and B. anthracis Sterne inoculated onto six different materials. Experimental variables included temperature, relative humidity (RH), MeBr concentration, and contact time. MeBr was found to be an effective decontaminant under a number of conditions. This study highlights the important role that RH has when fumigation is performed with MeBr. There were no tests in which a ≥6-log10 reduction (LR) of B. anthracis Ames was achieved on all materials when fumigation was done at 45% RH. At 75% RH, an increase in the temperature, the MeBr concentration, or contact time generally improved the efficacy of fumigation with MeBr. This study provides new information for the effective use of MeBr at temperatures and RH levels lower than those that have been recommended previously. The study also provides data to assist with the selection of an avirulent surrogate for B. anthracis Ames spores when additional tests with MeBr are conducted. PMID:26801580

  3. Evaluation of the Efficacy of Methyl Bromide in the Decontamination of Building and Interior Materials Contaminated with Bacillus anthracis Spores.

    PubMed

    Wood, Joseph P; Wendling, Morgan; Richter, William; Lastivka, Andrew; Mickelsen, Leroy

    2016-04-01

    The primary goal of this study was to determine the conditions required for the effective inactivation of Bacillus anthracis spores on materials by using methyl bromide (MeBr) gas. Another objective was to obtain comparative decontamination efficacy data with three avirulent microorganisms to assess their potential for use as surrogates for B. anthracis Ames. Decontamination tests were conducted with spores of B. anthracis Ames and Geobacillus stearothermophilus, B. anthracis NNR1Δ1, and B. anthracis Sterne inoculated onto six different materials. Experimental variables included temperature, relative humidity (RH), MeBr concentration, and contact time. MeBr was found to be an effective decontaminant under a number of conditions. This study highlights the important role that RH has when fumigation is performed with MeBr. There were no tests in which a ≥6-log10 reduction (LR) of B. anthracis Ames was achieved on all materials when fumigation was done at 45% RH. At 75% RH, an increase in the temperature, the MeBr concentration, or contact time generally improved the efficacy of fumigation with MeBr. This study provides new information for the effective use of MeBr at temperatures and RH levels lower than those that have been recommended previously. The study also provides data to assist with the selection of an avirulent surrogate for B. anthracis Ames spores when additional tests with MeBr are conducted. PMID:26801580

  4. Measurements of the Ultraviolet Fluorescence Cross Sections and Spectra of Bacillus Anthracis Simulants

    SciTech Connect

    Stephens, J.R.

    1998-09-01

    Measurements of the ultraviolet autofluorescence spectra and absolute cross sections of the Bacillus anthracis (Ba) simulants Bacillus globigii (Bg), Bacillus megaterium (Bm), Bacillus subtilis (Bs), and Bacillus cereus (Bc) were measured. Fluorescence spectra and cross sections of pine pollen (Pina echinata) were measured for comparison. Both dried vegetative cells and spores separated from the sporulated vegetative material were studied. The spectra were obtained by suspending a small number (<10) of particles in air in our Single Particle Spectroscopy Apparatus (SPSA), illuminating the particles with light from a spectrally filtered arc lamp, and measuring the fluorescence spectra of the particles. The illumination was 280 nm (20 nm FWHM) and the fluorescence spectra was measured between 300 and 450 nm. The fluorescence cross section of vegetative Bg peaks at 320 nm with a maximum cross section of 5 X 10{sup -14} cm{sup 2}/sr-nm-particle while the Bg spore fluorescence peaks at 310 nm with peak fluorescence of 8 X 10{sup -15} cm{sup 2}/sr-nm-particle. Pine pollen particles showed a higher fluorescence peaking at 355 nm with a cross section of 1.7 X 10{sup -13} cm{sup 2}/sr-nm-particle. Integrated cross sections ranged from 3.0 X 10{sup -13} for the Bg spores through 2.25 X 10{sup -12} (cm{sup 2}/sr-particle) for the vegetative cells.

  5. Bacillus anthracis Capsular Conjugates Elicit Chimpanzee Polyclonal Antibodies That Protect Mice from Pulmonary Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Chen, Zhaochun; Schneerson, Rachel; Lovchik, Julie A; Dai, Zhongdong; Kubler-Kielb, Joanna; Agulto, Liane; Leppla, Stephen H; Purcell, Robert H

    2015-08-01

    The immunogenicity of Bacillus anthracis capsule (poly-γ-D-glutamic acid [PGA]) conjugated to recombinant B. anthracis protective antigen (rPA) or to tetanus toxoid (TT) was evaluated in two anthrax-naive juvenile chimpanzees. In a previous study of these conjugates, highly protective monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against PGA were generated. This study examines the polyclonal antibody response of the same animals. Preimmune antibodies to PGA with titers of >10(3) were detected in the chimpanzees. The maximal titer of anti-PGA was induced within 1 to 2 weeks following the 1st immunization, with no booster effects following the 2nd and 3rd immunizations. Thus, the anti-PGA response in the chimpanzees resembled a secondary immune response. Screening of sera from nine unimmunized chimpanzees and six humans revealed antibodies to PGA in all samples, with an average titer of 10(3). An anti-PA response was also observed following immunization with PGA-rPA conjugate, similar to that seen following immunization with rPA alone. However, in contrast to anti-PGA, preimmune anti-PA antibody titers and those following the 1st immunization were ≤300, with the antibodies peaking above 10(4) following the 2nd immunization. The polyclonal anti-PGA shared the MAb 11D epitope and, similar to the MAbs, exerted opsonophagocytic killing of B. anthracis. Most important, the PGA-TT-induced antibodies protected mice from a lethal challenge with virulent B. anthracis spores. Our data support the use of PGA conjugates, especially PGA-rPA targeting both toxin and capsule, as expanded-spectrum anthrax vaccines. PMID:26041039

  6. Aerosolized Bacillus anthracis infection in New Zealand white rabbits: natural history and intravenous levofloxacin treatment.

    PubMed

    Yee, Steven B; Hatkin, Joshua M; Dyer, David N; Orr, Steven A; Pitt, M Louise M

    2010-12-01

    The natural history for inhalational Bacillus anthracis (Ames strain) exposure in New Zealand white rabbits was investigated to better identify potential, early biomarkers of anthrax. Twelve SPF Bordetella-free rabbits were exposed to 150 LD(50) aerosolized B. anthracis spores, and clinical signs, body temperature, complete blood count, bacteremia, and presence of protective antigen in the blood (that is, antigenemia) were examined. The development of antigenemia and bacteremia coincided and preceded both pyrexia and inversion of the heterophil:lymphocyte ratio, an indicator of infection. Antigenemia was determined within 1 h by electrochemiluminescence immunoassay, compared with the 24-h traditional culture needed for bacteremia determination. Rabbits appeared clinically normal until shortly before succumbing to anthrax approximately 47 h after challenge or approximately 22 h after antigenemia, which suggests a relatively narrow therapeutic window of opportunity. To evaluate the therapeutic rabbit model, B. anthracis-exposed rabbits were treated (after determination of antigenemia and later confirmed to be bacteremic) intravenously with the fluoroquinolone antibiotic levofloxacin for 5 d at a total daily dose of 25 or 12.5 mg/kg, resulting in nearly 90% and 70% survival, respectively, to the study end (28 d after challenge). The peak level for 12.5 mg/kg was equivalent to that observed for a 500-mg daily levofloxacin dose in humans. These results suggest that intravenous levofloxacin is an effective therapeutic against inhalational anthrax. Taken together, our findings indicate that antigenemia is a viable and early biomarker for B. anthracis infection that can be used as a treatment trigger to allow for timely intervention against this highly pathogenic disease. PMID:21262133

  7. Exposure to Bacillus anthracis Capsule Results in Suppression of Human Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells

    PubMed Central

    Chabot, Donald J.; Bozue, Joel A.; Tobery, Steven A.; West, Michael W.; Moody, Krishna; Yang, De; Oppenheim, Joost J.

    2014-01-01

    The antiphagocytic capsule of Bacillus anthracis is a major virulence factor. We hypothesized that it may also mediate virulence through inhibition of the host's immune responses. During an infection, the capsule exists attached to the bacterial surface but also free in the host tissues. We sought to examine the impact of free capsule by assessing its effects on human monocytes and immature dendritic cells (iDCs). Human monocytes were differentiated into iDCs by interleukin-4 (IL-4) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) over 7 days in the presence of capsule derived from wild-type encapsulated B. anthracis Ames (WT) or a control preparation from an isogenic B. anthracis Ames strain that produces only 2% of the capsule of the WT (capA mutant). WT capsule consistently induced release of IL-8 and IL-6 while the capA mutant control preparation elicited either no response or only a minimal release of IL-8. iDCs that were differentiated in the presence of WT capsule had increased side scatter (SSC), a measure of cellular complexity, when assessed by flow cytometry. iDCs differentiated in the presence of WT capsule also matured less well in response to subsequent B. anthracis peptidoglycan (Ba PGN) exposure, with reduced upregulation of the chemokine receptor CCR7, reduced CCR7-dependent chemotaxis, and reduced release of certain cytokines. Exposure of naive differentiated control iDCs to WT capsule did not alter cell surface marker expression but did elicit IL-8. These results indicate that free capsule may contribute to the pathogenesis of anthrax by suppressing the responses of immune cells and interfering with the maturation of iDCs. PMID:24891109

  8. Identification of the pXO1 plasmid in attenuated Bacillus anthracis vaccine strains.

    PubMed

    Liang, Xudong; Zhang, Huijuan; Zhang, Enmin; Wei, Jianchun; Li, Wei; Wang, Bingxiang; Dong, Shulin; Zhu, Jin

    2016-07-01

    Anthrax toxins and capsule are the major virulence factors of Bacillus anthracis. They are encoded by genes located on the plasmids pXO1 and pXO2, respectively. The vaccine strain Pasteur II was produced from high temperature subcultures of B. anthracis, which resulted in virulence attenuation through the loss of the plasmid pXO1. However, it is unclear whether the high temperature culture completely abolishes the plasmid DNA or affects the replication of the plasmid pXO1. In this study, we tested 3 B. anthracis vaccine strains, including Pasteur II from France, Qiankefusiji II from Russia, and Rentian II from Japan, which were all generated from subcultures at high temperatures. Surprisingly, we detected the presence of pXO1 plasmid DNA using overlap PCR in all these vaccine strains. DNA sequencing analysis of overlap PCR products further confirmed the presence of pXO1. Moreover, the expression of the protective antigen (PA) encoded on pXO1 was determined by using SDS-PAGE and western blotting. In addition, we mimicked Pasteur's method and exposed the A16R vaccine strain, which lacks the pXO2 plasmid, to high temperature, and identified the pXO1 plasmid in the subcultures at high temperatures. This indicated that the high temperature treatment at 42.5°C was unable to eliminate pXO1 plasmid DNA from B. anthracis. Our results suggest that the attenuation of the Pasteur II vaccine strain is likely due to the impact of high temperature stress on plasmid replication, which in turn limits the copy number of pXO1. Our data provide new insights into the mechanisms of the remaining immunogenicity and toxicity of the vaccine strains. PMID:27029580

  9. Rapid Detection of Viable Bacillus anthracis Spores in Environmental Samples by Using Engineered Reporter Phages.

    PubMed

    Sharp, Natasha J; Molineux, Ian J; Page, Martin A; Schofield, David A

    2016-04-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, was utilized as a bioterrorism agent in 2001 when spores were distributed via the U.S. postal system. In responding to this event, the Federal Bureau of Investigation used traditional bacterial culture viability assays to ascertain the extent of contamination of the postal facilities within 24 to 48 h of environmental sample acquisition. Here, we describe a low-complexity, second-generation reporter phage assay for the rapid detection of viableB. anthracis spores in environmental samples. The assay uses an engineered B. anthracis reporter phage (Wβ::luxAB-2) which transduces bioluminescence to infected cells. To facilitate low-level environmental detection and maximize the signal response, expression of luxABin an earlier version of the reporter phage (Wβ::luxAB-1) was optimized. These alterations prolonged signal kinetics, increased light output, and improved assay sensitivity. Using Wβ::luxAB-2, detection of B. anthracis spores was 1 CFU in 8 h from pure cultures and as low as 10 CFU/g in sterile soil but increased to 10(5)CFU/g in unprocessed soil due to an unstable signal and the presence of competing bacteria. Inclusion of semiselective medium, mediated by a phage-expressed antibiotic resistance gene, maintained signal stability and enabled the detection of 10(4)CFU/g in 6 h. The assay does not require spore extraction and relies on the phage infecting germinating cells directly in the soil sample. This reporter phage displays promise for the rapid detection of low levels of spores on clean surfaces and also in grossly contaminated environmental samples from complex matrices such as soils. PMID:26873316

  10. Transcriptomic and phenotypic analysis of paralogous spx gene function in Bacillus anthracis Sterne

    PubMed Central

    Barendt, Skye; Lee, Hyunwoo; Birch, Cierra; Nakano, Michiko M; Jones, Marcus; Zuber, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Spx of Bacillus subtilis is a redox-sensitive protein, which, under disulfide stress, interacts with RNA polymerase to activate genes required for maintaining thiol homeostasis. Spx orthologs are highly conserved among low %GC Gram-positive bacteria, and often exist in multiple paralogous forms. In this study, we used B. anthracis Sterne, which harbors two paralogous spx genes, spxA1 and spxA2, to examine the phenotypes of spx null mutations and to identify the genes regulated by each Spx paralog. Cells devoid of spxA1 were sensitive to diamide and hydrogen peroxide, while the spxA1 spoxA2 double mutant was hypersensitive to the thiol-specific oxidant, diamide. Bacillus anthracis Sterne strains expressing spxA1DD or spxA2DD alleles encoding protease-resistant products were used in microarray and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analyses in order to uncover genes under SpxA1, SpxA2, or SpxA1/SpxA2 control. Comparison of transcriptomes identified many genes that were upregulated when either SpxA1DD or SpxA2DD was produced, but several genes were uncovered whose transcript levels increased in only one of the two SpxADD-expression strains, suggesting that each Spx paralog governs a unique regulon. Among genes that were upregulated were those encoding orthologs of proteins that are specifically involved in maintaining intracellular thiol homeostasis or alleviating oxidative stress. Some of these genes have important roles in B. anthracis pathogenesis, and a large number of upregulated hypothetical genes have no homology outside of the B. cereus/thuringiensis group. Microarray and RT-qPCR analyses also unveiled a regulatory link that exists between the two spx paralogous genes. The data indicate that spxA1 and spxA2 are transcriptional regulators involved in relieving disulfide stress but also control a set of genes whose products function in other cellular processes. Bacillus anthracis harbors two paralogs of the global transcriptional

  11. Disinfection methods for spores of Bacillus atrophaeus, B. anthracis, Clostridium tetani, C. botulinum and C. difficile.

    PubMed

    Oie, Shigeharu; Obayashi, Akiko; Yamasaki, Hirofumi; Furukawa, Hiroyuki; Kenri, Tsuyoshi; Takahashi, Motohide; Kawamoto, Keiko; Makino, Sou-ichi

    2011-01-01

    To evaluate disinfection methods for environments contaminated with bioterrorism-associated microorganism (Bacillus anthracis), we performed the following experiments. First, the sporicidal effects of sodium hypochlorite on spores of five bacterial species were evaluated. Bacillus atrophaeus was the most resistant to hypochlorite, followed in order by B. anthracis, Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium tetani, and Clostridium difficile. Subsequently, using B. atrophaeus spores that were the most resistant to hypochlorite, the sporicidal effects of hypochlorite at lower pH by adding vinegar were evaluated. Hypochlorite containing vinegar had far more marked sporicidal effects than hypochlorite alone. Cleaning with 0.5% (5000 ppm) hypochlorite containing vinegar inactivated B. atrophaeus spores attached to vinyl chloride and plywood plates within 15 s, while that not containing vinegar did not inactivate spores attached to cement or plywood plates even after 1 h. Therefore, the surfaces of cement or plywood plates were covered with gauze soaked in 0.5% hypochlorite containing vinegar, and the sporicidal effects were evaluated. B. atrophaeus spores attached to plywood plates were not inactivated even after 6 h, but those attached to cement plates were inactivated within 5 min. On the other hand, covering the surfaces of plywood plates with gauze soaked in 0.3% peracetic acid and gauze soaked in 2% glutaral inactivated B. atrophaeus spores within 5 min and 6 h, respectively. These results suggest that hypochlorite containing vinegar is effective for disinfecting vinyl chloride, tile, and cement plates contaminated with B. anthracis, and peracetic acid is effective for disinfecting plywood plates contaminated with such microorganism. PMID:21804226

  12. Laboratory studies on surface sampling of Bacillus anthracis contamination: summary, gaps, and recommendations

    SciTech Connect

    Piepel, Gregory F.; Amidan, Brett G.; Hu, Rebecca

    2012-12-01

    This article summarizes previous laboratory studies to characterize the performance of methods for collecting, storing/transporting, processing, and analyzing samples from surfaces contaminated by Bacillus anthracis or related surrogates. The focus is on plate culture and count estimates of surface contamination for swab, wipe, and vacuum samples of porous and nonporous surfaces. Summaries of the previous studies and their results were assessed to identify gaps in information needed as inputs to calculate key parameters critical to risk management in biothreat incidents. One key parameter is the number of samples needed to make characterization or clearance decisions with specified statistical confidence. Other key parameters include the ability to calculate, following contamination incidents, the 1) estimates of Bacillus anthracis contamination, as well as the bias and uncertainties in the estimates, and 2) confidence in characterization and clearance decisions for contaminated or decontaminated buildings. Gaps in knowledge and understanding identified during the summary of the studies are discussed. Recommendations are given for future evaluations of data from existing studies and possible new studies.

  13. Design and Synthesis of 2-Pyridones as Novel Inhibitors of the Bacillus Anthracis Enoyl–ACP Reductase

    PubMed Central

    Tipparaju, Suresh K.; Joyasawal, Sipak; Forrester, Sara; Mulhearn, Debbie C.; Pegan, Scott; Johnson, Michael E.; Mesecar, Andrew D.; Kozikowski, Alan P.

    2008-01-01

    Enoyl-ACP reductase (ENR), the product of the FabI gene, from Bacillus anthracis (BaENR) is responsible for catalyzing the final step of bacterial fatty acid biosynthesis. A number of novel 2-pyridone derivatives were synthesized and shown to be potent inhibitors of BaENR. PMID:18499454

  14. Thermal inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Sterne in irradiated ground beef heated in a water bath or cooked on commercial grills

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The thermal stability of heat-shocked and non heat-shocked spores of the virulence-attenuated Sterne strain of Bacillus anthracis was evaluated at select temperatures in irradiated, raw ground beef (25% fat) heated in a water bath or cooked using two different commercial grills. For the former, 3-g ...

  15. Macrophage-Derived Cell Lines Do Not Express Proinflammatory Cytokines after Exposure to Bacillus anthracis Lethal Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Erwin, James L.; DaSilva, Luis M.; Bavari, Sina; Little, Stephen F.; Friedlander, Arthur M.; Chanh, Tran C.

    2001-01-01

    We present evidence that Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin (LT) suppresses rather than induces proinflammatory cytokine production in macrophages. Suppression is observed with extremely low levels of LT and involves inhibition of transcription of cytokine messenger RNA. Thus, LT may contribute to anthrax pathogenesis by suppressing the inflammatory response. PMID:11160016

  16. Effect of pH on the Electrophoretic Mobility of Spores of Bacillus anthracis and Its Surrogates in Aqueous Solutions

    EPA Science Inventory

    Electrophoretic mobility (EPM) of endospores of Bacillus anthracis and surrogates were measured in aqueous solution across a broad pH range and several ionic strengths. EPM values trended around phylogenetic clustering based on the 16S rRNA gene. Measurements reported here prov...

  17. Pilot-scale crossflow-microfiltration and pasturization to remove spores of Bacillus anthracis (Sterne) from milk

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    HTST pasteurization of milk is generally ineffective against spore-forming bacteria such as Bacillus anthracis (BA) but is lethal to its vegetative cells. Crossflow microfiltration (MF), using ceramic membranes with a pore diameter of 1.4 um, has been shown to physically remove somatic cells, vegeta...

  18. Reagent-free and portable detection of Bacillus anthracis spores using a microfluidic incubator and smartphone microscope

    SciTech Connect

    Hutchison, Janine R.; Erikson, Rebecca L.; Sheen, Allison M.; Ozanich, Richard M.; Kelly, Ryan T.

    2015-08-06

    Rapid, cost-effective bacterial detection systems are needed to respond to potential biothreat events. Here we report the use of smartphone-based microscopy in combination with a simple microfluidic incubation device to detect 5000 Bacillus anthracis spores in 3 hours. This field-deployable approach is compatible with real-time PCR for secondary confirmation.

  19. Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic assessment of faropenem in a lethal murine Bacillus anthracis inhalation postexposure prophylaxis model.

    PubMed

    Gill, Stanley C; Rubino, Christopher M; Bassett, Jennifer; Miller, Lynda; Ambrose, Paul G; Bhavnani, Sujata M; Beaudry, Amber; Li, Jinfang; Stone, Kimberly Clawson; Critchley, Ian; Janjic, Nebojsa; Heine, Henry S

    2010-05-01

    There are few options for prophylaxis after exposure to Bacillus anthracis, especially in children and women of childbearing potential. Faropenem is a beta-lactam in the penem subclass that is being developed as an oral prodrug, faropenem medoxomil, for the treatment of respiratory tract infections. Faropenem was shown to have in vitro activity against B. anthracis strains that variably express the bla1 beta-lactamase (MIC range, anthracis in a murine postexposure prophylaxis inhalation model. The plasma PKs and PKs-PDs of faropenem were evaluated in BALB/c mice following the intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of doses ranging from 2.5 to 160 mg/kg of body weight. For the evaluation of efficacy, mice received by inhalation aerosol doses of B. anthracis (Ames strain; faropenem MIC, 0.06 microg/ml) at 100 times the 50% lethal dose. The faropenem dosing regimens (10, 20, 40, and 80 mg/kg/day) were administered i.p. at 24 h postchallenge at 4-, 6-, and 12-h intervals for 14 days. The sigmoid maximum-threshold-of-efficacy (E(max)) model fit the survival data, in which the free-drug area under the concentration-time curve (fAUC)/MIC ratio, the maximum concentration of free drug in plasma (fC(max))/MIC ratio, and the cumulative percentage of a 24-h period that the free-drug concentration exceeds the MIC under steady-state pharmacokinetic conditions (f %T(MIC)) were each evaluated. Assessment of f %T(MIC) demonstrated the strongest correlation with survival (R(2) = 0.967) compared to the correlations achieved by assessment of fAUC/MIC or fC(max)/MIC, for which minimal correlations were observed. The 50% effective dose (ED(50)), ED(90), and ED(99) corresponded to f %T(MIC) values of 10.6, 13.4, and 16.4%, respectively, and E(max) was 89.3%. Overall, faropenem demonstrated a high

  20. Bacillus cereus Biovar Anthracis Causing Anthrax in Sub-Saharan Africa-Chromosomal Monophyly and Broad Geographic Distribution.

    PubMed

    Antonation, Kym S; Grützmacher, Kim; Dupke, Susann; Mabon, Philip; Zimmermann, Fee; Lankester, Felix; Peller, Tianna; Feistner, Anna; Todd, Angelique; Herbinger, Ilka; de Nys, Hélène M; Muyembe-Tamfun, Jean-Jacques; Karhemere, Stomy; Wittig, Roman M; Couacy-Hymann, Emmanuel; Grunow, Roland; Calvignac-Spencer, Sébastien; Corbett, Cindi R; Klee, Silke R; Leendertz, Fabian H

    2016-09-01

    Through full genome analyses of four atypical Bacillus cereus isolates, designated B. cereus biovar anthracis, we describe a distinct clade within the B. cereus group that presents with anthrax-like disease, carrying virulence plasmids similar to those of classic Bacillus anthracis. We have isolated members of this clade from different mammals (wild chimpanzees, gorillas, an elephant and goats) in West and Central Africa (Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo). The isolates shared several phenotypic features of both B. anthracis and B. cereus, but differed amongst each other in motility and their resistance or sensitivity to penicillin. They all possessed the same mutation in the regulator gene plcR, different from the one found in B. anthracis, and in addition, carry genes which enable them to produce a second capsule composed of hyaluronic acid. Our findings show the existence of a discrete clade of the B. cereus group capable of causing anthrax-like disease, found in areas of high biodiversity, which are possibly also the origin of the worldwide distributed B. anthracis. Establishing the impact of these pathogenic bacteria on threatened wildlife species will require systematic investigation. Furthermore, the consumption of wildlife found dead by the local population and presence in a domestic animal reveal potential sources of exposure to humans. PMID:27607836

  1. Existence of Separate Domains in Lysin PlyG for Recognizing Bacillus anthracis Spores and Vegetative Cells

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Hang; Wang, Dian-Bing; Dong, Qiuhua; Zhang, Zhiping; Cui, Zongqiang; Deng, Jiaoyu; Yu, Junping

    2012-01-01

    As a potential antimicrobial, the bacteriophage lysin PlyG has been reported to specifically recognize Bacillus anthracis vegetative cells only and to kill B. anthracis vegetative cells and its germinating spores. However, how PlyG interacts with B. anthracis spores remains unclear. Herein, a 60-amino-acid domain in PlyG (residues 106 to 165), located mainly in the previously identified catalytic domain, was found able to specifically recognize B. anthracis spores but not vegetative cells. The exosporium of the spores was found to be the most probable binding target of this domain. This is the first time that a lysin for spore-forming bacteria has been found to have separate domains to recognize spores and vegetative cells, which might help in understanding the coevolution of phages with spore-forming bacteria. Besides providing new biomarkers for developing better assays for identifying B. anthracis spores, the newly found domain may be helpful in developing PlyG as a preventive antibiotic to reduce the threat of anthrax in suspected exposures to B. anthracis spores. PMID:22802245

  2. Prevalence of Bacillus anthracis-like organisms and bacteriophages in the intestinal tract of the earthworm Eisenia fetida.

    PubMed

    Schuch, R; Pelzek, A J; Kan, S; Fischetti, V A

    2010-04-01

    Stable infection of Bacillus anthracis laboratory strains with environmental bacteriophages confers survival phenotypes in soil and earthworm intestinal niches (R. Schuch and V. A. Fischetti, PLoS One 4:e6532, 2009). Here, the natural occurrence of two such B. anthracis-infective bacteriophages, Wip1 and Wip4, was examined in the intestines of Eisenia fetida earthworms as part of a 6-year longitudinal study at a Pennsylvania forest site. The Wip1 tectivirus was initially dominant before being supplanted by the Wip4 siphovirus, which was then dominant for the next 3 years. In a host range analysis of a wide-ranging group of Bacillus species and related organisms, Wip1 and Wip4 were both infective only toward B. anthracis and certain B. cereus strains. The natural host of Wip4 remained constant for 3 years and was a B. cereus strain that expressed a B. anthracis-like surface polysaccharide at septal positions on the cell surface. Next, a novel metagenomic approach was used to determine the extent to which such B. cereus- and B. anthracis-like strains are found in worms from two geographical locations. Three different enrichment strategies were used for metagenomic DNA isolation, based either on the ability of B. cereus sensu lato to form heat-resistant spores, the sensitivity of B. anthracis to the PlyG lysin, or the selective amplification of environmental phages cocultured with B. anthracis. Findings from this work indicate that B. cereus sensu lato and its phages are common inhabitants of earthworm intestines. PMID:20118353

  3. Prevalence of Bacillus anthracis-Like Organisms and Bacteriophages in the Intestinal Tract of the Earthworm Eisenia fetida▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Schuch, R.; Pelzek, A. J.; Kan, S.; Fischetti, V. A.

    2010-01-01

    Stable infection of Bacillus anthracis laboratory strains with environmental bacteriophages confers survival phenotypes in soil and earthworm intestinal niches (R. Schuch and V. A. Fischetti, PLoS One 4:e6532, 2009). Here, the natural occurrence of two such B. anthracis-infective bacteriophages, Wip1 and Wip4, was examined in the intestines of Eisenia fetida earthworms as part of a 6-year longitudinal study at a Pennsylvania forest site. The Wip1 tectivirus was initially dominant before being supplanted by the Wip4 siphovirus, which was then dominant for the next 3 years. In a host range analysis of a wide-ranging group of Bacillus species and related organisms, Wip1 and Wip4 were both infective only toward B. anthracis and certain B. cereus strains. The natural host of Wip4 remained constant for 3 years and was a B. cereus strain that expressed a B. anthracis-like surface polysaccharide at septal positions on the cell surface. Next, a novel metagenomic approach was used to determine the extent to which such B. cereus- and B. anthracis-like strains are found in worms from two geographical locations. Three different enrichment strategies were used for metagenomic DNA isolation, based either on the ability of B. cereus sensu lato to form heat-resistant spores, the sensitivity of B. anthracis to the PlyG lysin, or the selective amplification of environmental phages cocultured with B. anthracis. Findings from this work indicate that B. cereus sensu lato and its phages are common inhabitants of earthworm intestines. PMID:20118353

  4. In silico and in vitro evaluation of PCR-based assays for the detection of Bacillus anthracis chromosomal signature sequences.

    PubMed

    Ågren, Joakim; Hamidjaja, Raditijo A; Hansen, Trine; Ruuls, Robin; Thierry, Simon; Vigre, Håkan; Janse, Ingmar; Sundström, Anders; Segerman, Bo; Koene, Miriam; Löfström, Charlotta; Van Rotterdam, Bart; Derzelle, Sylviane

    2013-11-15

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a zoonotic pathogen that is relatively common throughout the world and may cause life threatening diseases in animals and humans. There are many PCR-based assays in use for the detection of B. anthracis. While most of the developed assays rely on unique markers present on virulence plasmids pXO1 and pXO2, relatively few assays incorporate chromosomal DNA markers due to the close relatedness of B. anthracis to the B. cereus group strains. For the detection of chromosomal DNA, different genes have been used, such as BA813, rpoB, gyrA, plcR, S-layer, and prophage-lambda. Following a review of the literature, an in silico analysis of all signature sequences reported for identification of B. anthracis was conducted. Published primer and probe sequences were compared for specificity against 134 available Bacillus spp. genomes. Although many of the chromosomal targets evaluated are claimed to be specific to B. anthracis, cross-reactions with closely related B. cereus and B. thuringiensis strains were often observed. Of the 35 investigated PCR assays, only 4 were 100% specific for the B. anthracis chromosome. An interlaboratory ring trial among five European laboratories was then performed to evaluate six assays, including the WHO recommended procedures, using a collection of 90 Bacillus strains. Three assays performed adequately, yielding no false positive or negative results. All three assays target chromosomal markers located within the lambdaBa03 prophage region (PL3, BA5345, and BA5357). Detection limit was further assessed for one of these highly specific assays. PMID:24005110

  5. Bacillus anthracis secretome time course under host-simulated conditions and identification of immunogenic proteins

    PubMed Central

    Walz, Alexander; Mujer, Cesar V; Connolly, Joseph P; Alefantis, Tim; Chafin, Ryan; Dake, Clarissa; Whittington, Jessica; Kumar, Srikanta P; Khan, Akbar S; DelVecchio, Vito G

    2007-01-01

    Background The secretion time course of Bacillus anthracis strain RA3R (pXO1+/pXO2-) during early, mid, and late log phase were investigated under conditions that simulate those encountered in the host. All of the identified proteins were analyzed by different software algorithms to characterize their predicted mode of secretion and cellular localization. In addition, immunogenic proteins were identified using sera from humans with cutaneous anthrax. Results A total of 275 extracellular proteins were identified by a combination of LC MS/MS and MALDI-TOF MS. All of the identified proteins were analyzed by SignalP, SecretomeP, PSORT, LipoP, TMHMM, and PROSITE to characterize their predicted mode of secretion, cellular localization, and protein domains. Fifty-three proteins were predicted by SignalP to harbor the cleavable N-terminal signal peptides and were therefore secreted via the classical Sec pathway. Twenty-three proteins were predicted by SecretomeP for secretion by the alternative Sec pathway characterized by the lack of typical export signal. In contrast to SignalP and SecretomeP predictions, PSORT predicted 171 extracellular proteins, 7 cell wall-associated proteins, and 6 cytoplasmic proteins. Moreover, 51 proteins were predicted by LipoP to contain putative Sec signal peptides (38 have SpI sites), lipoprotein signal peptides (13 have SpII sites), and N-terminal membrane helices (9 have transmembrane helices). The TMHMM algorithm predicted 25 membrane-associated proteins with one to ten transmembrane helices. Immunogenic proteins were also identified using sera from patients who have recovered from anthrax. The charge variants (83 and 63 kDa) of protective antigen (PA) were the most immunodominant secreted antigens, followed by charge variants of enolase and transketolase. Conclusion This is the first description of the time course of protein secretion for the pathogen Bacillus anthracis. Time course studies of protein secretion and accumulation may be

  6. Evaluation of the rapid analyte measurement platform (RAMP) for the detection of Bacillus anthracis at a crime scene.

    PubMed

    Hoile, Rebecca; Yuen, Marion; James, Gregory; Gilbert, Gwendolyn L

    2007-08-24

    The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of the rapid analyte measurement platform (RAMP) for presumptive identification of Bacillus anthracis spores. Test samples consisted of serial dilutions of spore preparations of several Bacillus species, including B. anthracis, which were tested, using the RAMP Anthrax test cartridge, according to the manufacturer's instructions. The fluorescence labelled antibody-antigen complexes were detected in the portable reader after 15 min following sample addition. Dilutions of common environmental and household powders were also tested to identify possible false positive results. B. anthracis spores were identified reliably in test samples containing more than 6000 spores. The test kits were highly specific, showing no cross reactivity with other Bacillus species or any environmental powders tested. The RAMP system for detection of B. anthracis spores, from environmental samples, showed consistent results under a variety of analytical conditions, enabling the trained user to provide a rapid, accurate preliminary risk assessment of a suspected bioterrorism incident. PMID:17049777

  7. Isolation and Chimerization of a Highly Neutralizing Antibody Conferring Passive Protection against Lethal Bacillus anthracis Infection

    PubMed Central

    Rosenfeld, Ronit; Marcus, Hadar; Ben-Arie, Einat; Lachmi, Bat-El; Mechaly, Adva; Reuveny, Shaul; Gat, Orit; Mazor, Ohad; Ordentlich, Arie

    2009-01-01

    Several studies have demonstrated that the passive transfer of protective antigen (PA)-neutralizing antibodies can protect animals against Bacillus anthracis infection. The standard protocol for the isolation of PA-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies is based upon a primary selection of the highest PA-binders by ELISA, and usually yields only few candidates antibodies. We demonstrated that by applying a PA-neutralization functionality-based screen as the primary criterion for positive clones, it was possible to isolate more than 100 PA-neutralizing antibodies, some of which exhibited no measurable anti-PA titers in ELISA. Among the large panel of neutralizing antibodies identified, mAb 29 demonstrated the most potent activity, and was therefore chimerized. The variable region genes of the mAb 29 were fused to human constant region genes, to form the chimeric 29 antibody (cAb 29). Guinea pigs were fully protected against infection by 40LD50 B. anthracis spores following two separate administrations with 10 mg/kg of cAb 29: the first administration was given before the challenge, and a second dose was administered on day 4 following exposure. Moreover, animals that survived the challenge and developed endogenous PA-neutralizing antibodies with neutralizing titers above 100 were fully protected against repeat challenges with 40LD50 of B. anthracis spores. The data presented here emphasize the importance of toxin neutralization-based screens for the efficient isolation of protective antibodies that were probably overlooked in the standard screening protocol. The protective activity of the chimeric cAb 29 demonstrated in this study suggest that it may serve as an effective immunotherapeutic agent against anthrax. PMID:19629185

  8. Biochemical and structural characterization of alanine racemase from Bacillus anthracis (Ames)

    PubMed Central

    Couñago, Rafael M; Davlieva, Milya; Strych, Ulrich; Hill, Ryan E; Krause, Kurt L

    2009-01-01

    Background Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax and a potential bioterrorism threat. Here we report the biochemical and structural characterization of B. anthracis (Ames) alanine racemase (AlrBax), an essential enzyme in prokaryotes and a target for antimicrobial drug development. We also compare the native AlrBax structure to a recently reported structure of the same enzyme obtained through reductive lysine methylation. Results B. anthracis has two open reading frames encoding for putative alanine racemases. We show that only one, dal1, is able to complement a D-alanine auxotrophic strain of E. coli. Purified Dal1, which we term AlrBax, is shown to be a dimer in solution by dynamic light scattering and has a Vmax for racemization (L- to D-alanine) of 101 U/mg. The crystal structure of unmodified AlrBax is reported here to 1.95 Å resolution. Despite the overall similarity of the fold to other alanine racemases, AlrBax makes use of a chloride ion to position key active site residues for catalysis, a feature not yet observed for this enzyme in other species. Crystal contacts are more extensive in the methylated structure compared to the unmethylated structure. Conclusion The chloride ion in AlrBax is functioning effectively as a carbamylated lysine making it an integral and unique part of this structure. Despite differences in space group and crystal form, the two AlrBax structures are very similar, supporting the case that reductive methylation is a valid rescue strategy for proteins recalcitrant to crystallization, and does not, in this case, result in artifacts in the tertiary structure. PMID:19695097

  9. Rapid-Viability PCR Method for Detection of Live, Virulent Bacillus anthracis in Environmental Samples ▿

    PubMed Central

    Létant, Sonia E.; Murphy, Gloria A.; Alfaro, Teneile M.; Avila, Julie R.; Kane, Staci R.; Raber, Ellen; Bunt, Thomas M.; Shah, Sanjiv R.

    2011-01-01

    In the event of a biothreat agent release, hundreds of samples would need to be rapidly processed to characterize the extent of contamination and determine the efficacy of remediation activities. Current biological agent identification and viability determination methods are both labor- and time-intensive such that turnaround time for confirmed results is typically several days. In order to alleviate this issue, automated, high-throughput sample processing methods were developed in which real-time PCR analysis is conducted on samples before and after incubation. The method, referred to as rapid-viability (RV)-PCR, uses the change in cycle threshold after incubation to detect the presence of live organisms. In this article, we report a novel RV-PCR method for detection of live, virulent Bacillus anthracis, in which the incubation time was reduced from 14 h to 9 h, bringing the total turnaround time for results below 15 h. The method incorporates a magnetic bead-based DNA extraction and purification step prior to PCR analysis, as well as specific real-time PCR assays for the B. anthracis chromosome and pXO1 and pXO2 plasmids. A single laboratory verification of the optimized method applied to the detection of virulent B. anthracis in environmental samples was conducted and showed a detection level of 10 to 99 CFU/sample with both manual and automated RV-PCR methods in the presence of various challenges. Experiments exploring the relationship between the incubation time and the limit of detection suggest that the method could be further shortened by an additional 2 to 3 h for relatively clean samples. PMID:21764960

  10. Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin alters regulation of visceral sympathetic nerve discharge.

    PubMed

    Garcia, A A; Fels, R J; Mosher, L J; Kenney, M J

    2012-03-01

    Bacillus anthracis infection is a pathophysiological condition that is complicated by progressive decreases in mean arterial pressure (MAP). Lethal toxin (LeTx) is central to the pathogenesis of B. anthracis infection, and the sympathetic nervous system plays a critical role in physiological regulation of acute stressors. However, the effect of LeTx on sympathetic nerve discharge (SND), a critical link between central sympathetic neural circuits and MAP regulation, remains unknown. We determined visceral (renal, splenic, and adrenal) SND responses to continuous infusion of LeTx [lethal factor (100 μg/kg) + protective antigen (200 μg/kg) infused at 0.5 ml/h for ≤6 h] and vehicle (infused at 0.5 ml/h) in anesthetized, baroreceptor-intact and baroreceptor (sinoaortic)-denervated (SAD) Sprague-Dawley rats. LeTx infusions produced an initial state of cardiovascular and sympathetic nervous system activation in intact and SAD rats. Subsequent to peak LeTx-induced increases in arterial blood pressure, intact rats demonstrated a marked hypotension that was accompanied by significant reductions in SND (renal and splenic) and heart rate (HR) from peak levels. After peak LeTx-induced pressor and sympathoexcitatory responses in SAD rats, MAP, SND (renal, splenic, and adrenal), and HR were progressively and significantly reduced, supporting the hypothesis that LeTx alters the central regulation of sympathetic nerve outflow. These findings demonstrate that the regulation of visceral SND is altered in a complex manner during continuous anthrax LeTx infusions and suggest that sympathetic nervous system dysregulation may contribute to the marked hypotension accompanying B. anthracis infection. PMID:22114180

  11. Semiquinone-induced Maturation of Bacillus anthracis Ribonucleotide Reductase by a Superoxide Intermediate*

    PubMed Central

    Berggren, Gustav; Duraffourg, Nicolas; Sahlin, Margareta; Sjöberg, Britt-Marie

    2014-01-01

    Ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs) catalyze the conversion of ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleotides, and represent the only de novo pathway to provide DNA building blocks. Three different classes of RNR are known, denoted I-III. Class I RNRs are heteromeric proteins built up by α and β subunits and are further divided into different subclasses, partly based on the metal content of the β-subunit. In subclass Ib RNR the β-subunit is denoted NrdF, and harbors a manganese-tyrosyl radical cofactor. The generation of this cofactor is dependent on a flavodoxin-like maturase denoted NrdI, responsible for the formation of an active oxygen species suggested to be either a superoxide or a hydroperoxide. Herein we report on the magnetic properties of the manganese-tyrosyl radical cofactor of Bacillus anthracis NrdF and the redox properties of B. anthracis NrdI. The tyrosyl radical in NrdF is stabilized through its interaction with a ferromagnetically coupled manganese dimer. Moreover, we show through a combination of redox titration and protein electrochemistry that in contrast to hitherto characterized NrdIs, the B. anthracis NrdI is stable in its semiquinone form (NrdIsq) with a difference in electrochemical potential of ∼110 mV between the hydroquinone and semiquinone state. The under anaerobic conditions stable NrdIsq is fully capable of generating the oxidized, tyrosyl radical-containing form of Mn-NrdF when exposed to oxygen. This latter observation strongly supports that a superoxide radical is involved in the maturation mechanism, and contradicts the participation of a peroxide species. Additionally, EPR spectra on whole cells revealed that a significant fraction of NrdI resides in its semiquinone form in vivo, underscoring that NrdIsq is catalytically relevant. PMID:25262022

  12. Sensing and inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Sterne by polymer-bromine complexes.

    PubMed

    D'Angelo, Paola A; Bromberg, Lev; Hatton, T Alan; Wilusz, Eugene

    2016-08-01

    We report on the performance of brominated poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP-Br), brominated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-Br), and brominated poly(allylamine-co-4-aminopyridine) (PAAm-APy-Br) for their ability to decontaminate Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores in solution while also allowing for the sensing of the spores. The polymers were brominated by bromine using carbon tetrachloride or potassium tribromide as solvents, with bromine loadings ranging from 1.6 to 4.2 mEq/g of polymer. B. anthracis Sterne spores were exposed to increasing concentrations of brominated polymers for 5 min, while the kinetics of the sporicidal activity was assessed. All brominated polymers demonstrated spore log-kills of 8 within 5 min of exposure at 12 mg/mL aqueous polymer concentration. Sensing of spores was accomplished by measuring the release of dipicolinic acid (DPA) from the spore using time-resolved fluorescence. Parent, non-brominated polymers did not cause any release of DPA and the spores remained viable. In contrast, spores exposed to the brominated polymers were inactivated and the release of DPA was observed within minutes of exposure. Also, this release of DPA continued for a long time after spore inactivation as in a controlled release process. The DPA release was more pronounced for spores exposed to brominated PVP and brominated PEG-8000 compared to brominated PAAm-APy and brominated PEG-400. Using time-resolved fluorescence, we detected as low as 2500 B. anthracis spores, with PEG-8000 being more sensitive to low spore numbers. Our results suggest that the brominated polymers may be used effectively as decontamination agents against bacterial spores while also providing the sensing capability. PMID:27087522

  13. Molecular epidemiology of the Bacillus anthracis isolates collected throughout Turkey from 1983 to 2011.

    PubMed

    Durmaz, R; Doganay, M; Sahin, M; Percin, D; Karahocagil, M K; Kayabas, U; Otlu, B; Karagoz, A; Buyuk, F; Celebi, O; Ozturk, Z; Ertek, M

    2012-10-01

    The main perspective of this study was to determine cross-transmissions amongst anthrax cases and provide detailed information regarding the genotypes of Bacillus anthracis isolates circulating in Turkey. A total of 251 B. anthracis isolates were obtained from human (93 isolates), animal (155 isolates), and environmental (three isolates) samples in various provinces of Turkey. All isolates were susceptible to quinolones, vancomycin, tigecycline, and linezolid, but not to ceftriaxone. Excluding human isolates, one of the animal isolates was found to be resistant to penicillin, erythromycin, and doxycycline. Multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeats analysis including 8 loci (MLVA8) revealed 12 genotypes, in which genotype 43 was observed at the highest frequency (41.8 %), followed by genotype 35 (25.5 %) and genotype 27 (10.4 %). Major subtype A3.a was the predominant cluster, including 86.8 % of the isolates. The MLVA25 analysis for the 251 isolates yielded 62 different genotypes, 33 of which had only one isolate, while the remaining 29 genotypes had 2 to 43 isolates, with a total of 218 isolates (86.9 %). These findings indicate very high cross-transmission rates within anthrax cases in Turkey. The genotypes diagnosed in Turkey are populated in the A major cluster. Penicillin prescribed as the first-choice antibiotic for the treatment of anthrax is still effective. PMID:22576652

  14. Forensic Application of Microbiological Culture Analysis To Identify Mail Intentionally Contaminated with Bacillus anthracis Spores†

    PubMed Central

    Beecher, Douglas J.

    2006-01-01

    The discovery of a letter intentionally filled with dried Bacillus anthracis spores in the office of a United States senator prompted the collection and quarantine of all mail in congressional buildings. This mail was subsequently searched for additional intentionally contaminated letters. A microbiological sampling strategy was used to locate heavy contamination within the 642 separate plastic bags containing the mail. Swab sampling identified 20 bags for manual and visual examination. Air sampling within the 20 bags indicated that one bag was orders of magnitude more contaminated than all the others. This bag contained a letter addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy that had been loaded with dried B. anthracis spores. Microbiological sampling of compartmentalized batches of mail proved to be efficient and relatively safe. Efficiency was increased by inoculating culture media in the hot zone rather than transferring swab samples to a laboratory for inoculation. All mail sampling was complete within 4 days with minimal contamination of the sampling environment or personnel. However, physically handling the intentionally contaminated letter proved to be exceptionally hazardous, as did sorting of cross-contaminated mail, which resulted in generation of hazardous aerosol and extensive contamination of protective clothing. Nearly 8 × 106 CFU was removed from the most highly cross-contaminated piece of mail found. Tracking data indicated that this and other heavily contaminated envelopes had been processed through the same mail sorting equipment as, and within 1 s of, two intentionally contaminated letters. PMID:16885280

  15. Identification of the Immunogenic Spore and Vegetative Proteins of Bacillus anthracis Vaccine Strain A16R

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Erling; Wang, Xuefang; Zhu, Li; Wang, Hengliang

    2013-01-01

    Immunoproteomics was used to screen the immunogenic spore and vegetative proteins of Bacillus anthracis vaccine strain A16R. The spore and vegetative proteins were separated by 2D gel electrophoresis and transferred to polyvinylidene difluoride membranes, and then western blotting was performed with rabbit immune serum against B.anthracis live spores. Immunogenic spots were cut and digested by trypsin. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry was performed to identify the proteins. As a result, 11 and 45 immunogenic proteins were identified in the spores and vegetative cells, respectively; 26 of which have not been reported previously. To verify their immunogenicity, 12 of the identified proteins were selected to be expressed, and the immune sera from the mice vaccinated by the 12 expressed proteins, except BA0887, had a specific western blot band with the A16R whole cellular lytic proteins. Some of these immunogenic proteins might be used as novel vaccine candidates themselves or for enhancing the protective efficacy of a protective-antigen-based vaccine. PMID:23516421

  16. Two Putative Polysaccharide Deacetylases Are Required for Osmotic Stability and Cell Shape Maintenance in Bacillus anthracis*

    PubMed Central

    Arnaouteli, Sofia; Giastas, Petros; Andreou, Athina; Tzanodaskalaki, Mary; Aldridge, Christine; Tzartos, Socrates J.; Vollmer, Waldemar; Eliopoulos, Elias; Bouriotis, Vassilis

    2015-01-01

    Membrane-anchored lipoproteins have a broad range of functions and play key roles in several cellular processes in Gram-positive bacteria. BA0330 and BA0331 are the only lipoproteins among the 11 known or putative polysaccharide deacetylases of Bacillus anthracis. We found that both lipoproteins exhibit unique characteristics. BA0330 and BA0331 interact with peptidoglycan, and BA0330 is important for the adaptation of the bacterium to grow in the presence of a high concentration of salt, whereas BA0331 contributes to the maintenance of a uniform cell shape. They appear not to alter the peptidoglycan structure and do not contribute to lysozyme resistance. The high resolution x-ray structure of BA0330 revealed a C-terminal domain with the typical fold of a carbohydrate esterase 4 and an N-terminal domain unique for this family, composed of a two-layered (4 + 3) β-sandwich with structural similarity to fibronectin type 3 domains. Our data suggest that BA0330 and BA0331 have a structural role in stabilizing the cell wall of B. anthracis. PMID:25825488

  17. Rapid detection and identification of Bacillus anthracis in food using pyrosequencing technology.

    PubMed

    Amoako, Kingsley K; Janzen, Timothy W; Shields, Michael J; Hahn, Kristen R; Thomas, Matthew C; Goji, Noriko

    2013-08-01

    The development of advanced methodologies for the detection of Bacillus anthracis has been evolving rapidly since the release of the anthrax spores in the mail in 2001. Recent advances in detection and identification techniques could prove to be an essential component in the defense against biological attacks. Sequence based such as pyrosequencing, which has the capability to determine short DNA stretches in real-time using biotinylated PCR amplicons, has potential biodefense applications. Using markers from the virulence plasmids (pXO1 and pXO2) and chromosomal regions, we have demonstrated the power of this technology in the rapid, specific and sensitive detection of B. anthracis spores in food matrices including milk, juice, bottled water, and processed meat. The combined use of immunomagnetic separation and pyrosequencing showed positive detection when liquid foods (bottled water, milk, juice), and processed meat were experimentally inoculated with 6CFU/mL and 6CFU/g, respectively, without an enrichment step. Pyrosequencing is completed in about 60min (following PCR amplification) and yields accurate and reliable results with an added layer of confidence. The entire assay (from sample preparation to sequencing information) can be completed in about 7.5h. A typical run on food samples yielded 67-80bp reads with 94-100% identity to the expected sequence. This sequence based approach is a novel application for the detection of anthrax spores in food with potential application in foodborne bioterrorism response and biodefense involving the use of anthrax spores. PMID:23810955

  18. The Role of DNA Restriction-Modification Systems in the Biology of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan

    2016-01-01

    Restriction–modification (R–M) systems are widespread among prokaryotes and, depending on their type, may be viewed as selfish genetic elements that persist as toxin–antitoxin modules, or as cellular defense systems against phage infection that confer a selective advantage to the host bacterium. Studies in the last decade have made it amply clear that these two options do not exhaust the list of possible biological roles for R–M systems. Their presence in a cell may also have a bearing on other processes such as horizontal gene transfer and gene regulation. From genome sequencing and experimental data, we know that Bacillus anthracis encodes at least three methylation-dependent (typeIV) restriction endonucleases (RE), and an orphan DNA methyltransferase. In this article, we first present an outline of our current knowledge of R–M systems in B. anthracis. Based on available DNA sequence data, and on our current understanding of the functions of similar genes in other systems, we conclude with hypotheses on the possible roles of the three REs and the orphan DNA methyltransferase. PMID:26834729

  19. Two Putative Polysaccharide Deacetylases Are Required for Osmotic Stability and Cell Shape Maintenance in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Arnaouteli, Sofia; Giastas, Petros; Andreou, Athina; Tzanodaskalaki, Mary; Aldridge, Christine; Tzartos, Socrates J; Vollmer, Waldemar; Eliopoulos, Elias; Bouriotis, Vassilis

    2015-05-22

    Membrane-anchored lipoproteins have a broad range of functions and play key roles in several cellular processes in Gram-positive bacteria. BA0330 and BA0331 are the only lipoproteins among the 11 known or putative polysaccharide deacetylases of Bacillus anthracis. We found that both lipoproteins exhibit unique characteristics. BA0330 and BA0331 interact with peptidoglycan, and BA0330 is important for the adaptation of the bacterium to grow in the presence of a high concentration of salt, whereas BA0331 contributes to the maintenance of a uniform cell shape. They appear not to alter the peptidoglycan structure and do not contribute to lysozyme resistance. The high resolution x-ray structure of BA0330 revealed a C-terminal domain with the typical fold of a carbohydrate esterase 4 and an N-terminal domain unique for this family, composed of a two-layered (4 + 3) β-sandwich with structural similarity to fibronectin type 3 domains. Our data suggest that BA0330 and BA0331 have a structural role in stabilizing the cell wall of B. anthracis. PMID:25825488

  20. Phylogenetic discovery bias in Bacillus anthracis using single-nucleotide polymorphisms from whole-genome sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Pearson, Talima; Busch, Joseph D.; Ravel, Jacques; Read, Timothy D.; Rhoton, Shane D.; U'Ren, Jana M.; Simonson, Tatum S.; Kachur, Sergey M.; Leadem, Rebecca R.; Cardon, Michelle L.; Van Ert, Matthew N.; Huynh, Lynn Y.; Fraser, Claire M.; Keim, Paul

    2004-01-01

    Phylogenetic reconstruction using molecular data is often subject to homoplasy, leading to inaccurate conclusions about phylogenetic relationships among operational taxonomic units. Compared with other molecular markers, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) exhibit extremely low mutation rates, making them rare in recently emerged pathogens, but they are less prone to homoplasy and thus extremely valuable for phylogenetic analyses. Despite their phylogenetic potential, ascertainment bias occurs when SNP characters are discovered through biased taxonomic sampling; by using whole-genome comparisons of five diverse strains of Bacillus anthracis to facilitate SNP discovery, we show that only polymorphisms lying along the evolutionary pathway between reference strains will be observed. We illustrate this in theoretical and simulated data sets in which complex phylogenetic topologies are reduced to linear evolutionary models. Using a set of 990 SNP markers, we also show how divergent branches in our topologies collapse to single points but provide accurate information on internodal distances and points of origin for ancestral clades. These data allowed us to determine the ancestral root of B. anthracis, showing that it lies closer to a newly described “C” branch than to either of two previously described “A” or “B” branches. In addition, subclade rooting of the C branch revealed unequal evolutionary rates that seem to be correlated with ecological parameters and strain attributes. Our use of nonhomoplastic whole-genome SNP characters allows branch points and clade membership to be estimated with great precision, providing greater insight into epidemiological, ecological, and forensic questions. PMID:15347815

  1. Vaccination against Anthrax with Attenuated Recombinant Strains of Bacillus anthracis That Produce Protective Antigen

    PubMed Central

    Barnard, John P.; Friedlander, Arthur M.

    1999-01-01

    The protective efficacy of several live, recombinant anthrax vaccines given in a single-dose regimen was assessed with Hartley guinea pigs. These live vaccines were created by transforming ΔANR and ΔSterne, two nonencapsulated, nontoxinogenic strains of Bacillus anthracis, with four different recombinant plasmids that express the anthrax protective antigen (PA) protein to various degrees. This enabled us to assess the effect of the chromosomal background of the strain, as well as the amount of PA produced, on protective efficacy. There were no significant strain-related effects on PA production in vitro, plasmid stability in vivo, survival of the immunizing strain in the host, or protective efficacy of the immunizing infection. The protective efficacy of the live, recombinant anthrax vaccine strains correlated with the anti-PA antibody titers they elicited in vivo and the level of PA they produced in vitro. PMID:9916059

  2. Glycan surface antigens from Bacillus anthracis as vaccine targets: current status and future perspectives.

    PubMed

    Adamo, Roberto

    2014-07-01

    Over recent years great attention has been directed to the discovery of novel antigens from Bacillus anthracis, because of the potential of its spores in the development of weapons for mass destruction. Substantial effort has been directed to the identification and immunochemical evaluation of glycans that might be used for specific diagnostic detection of the spores or immune-mediated prevention of anthrax. Carbohydrate structures found on surfaces of vegetative cells and spores are herein discussed. Among them, the cell wall polysaccharide and the tetrasaccharide unit isolated from the exosporium protein BclA were proven immunogenic in an animal model after covalent linkage to carrier protein. Further investigation is needed to fully assess the potential of these promising carbohydrate antigens for vaccine development. PMID:24867680

  3. Efficacy of Daptomycin against Bacillus anthracis in a murine model of anthrax spore inhalation.

    PubMed

    Heine, Henry S; Bassett, Jennifer; Miller, Lynda; Purcell, Bret K; Byrne, W Russell

    2010-10-01

    Daptomycin demonstrated in vitro (MIC(90), 4 μg/ml) and in vivo activities against Bacillus anthracis. Twice-daily treatment with a dose of 50 mg/kg of body weight was begun 24 h after challenge and continued for 14 or 21 days; results were compared to those for controls treated with phosphate-buffered saline or ciprofloxacin. Day 43 survival rates were 6/10 mice for the 14-day and 9/10 mice for the 21-day treatment groups, compared to survival with ciprofloxacin: 8/10 and 9/10 mice, respectively. Culture results from tissues removed at the termination of the experiment were negative. PMID:20643899

  4. Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor Substrate Specificity: Evidence for New Modes of Action

    PubMed Central

    Göttle, Martin; Dove, Stefan; Seifert, Roland

    2012-01-01

    Since the isolation of Bacillus anthracis exotoxins in the 1960s, the detrimental activity of edema factor (EF) was considered as adenylyl cyclase activity only. Yet the catalytic site of EF was recently shown to accomplish cyclization of cytidine 5′-triphosphate, uridine 5′-triphosphate and inosine 5′-triphosphate, in addition to adenosine 5′-triphosphate. This review discusses the broad EF substrate specificity and possible implications of intracellular accumulation of cyclic cytidine 3′:5′-monophosphate, cyclic uridine 3′:5′-monophosphate and cyclic inosine 3′:5′-monophosphate on cellular functions vital for host defense. In particular, cAMP-independent mechanisms of action of EF on host cell signaling via protein kinase A, protein kinase G, phosphodiesterases and CNG channels are discussed. PMID:22852066

  5. Production and purification of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen from Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Laird, Michael W; Zukauskas, David; Johnson, Kelly; Sampey, Gavin C; Olsen, Henrik; Garcia, Andy; Karwoski, Jeffrey D; Cooksey, Bridget A; Choi, Gil H; Askins, Janine; Tsai, Amos; Pierre, Jennifer; Gwinn, William

    2004-11-01

    Anthrax is caused by the gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. The anthrax toxin consists of three proteins, protective antigen (PA), lethal factor, and edema factor. Current vaccines against anthrax use PA as their primary component since it confers protective immunity. In this work, we expressed soluble, recombinant PA in relatively high amounts in the periplasm of E. coli from shake flasks and bioreactors. The PA protein was purified using Q-Sepharose-HP and hydroxyapatite chromatography, and routinely found to be 96-98% pure. Yields of purified PA varied depending on the method of production; however, medium cell density fermentations resulted in approximately 370 mg/L of highly pure biologically active PA protein. These results exhibit the ability to generate gram quantities of PA from E. coli. PMID:15477093

  6. Sizing the Bacillus anthracis PA63 Channel with Nonelectrolyte Poly(Ethylene Glycols)

    PubMed Central

    Nablo, Brian J.; Halverson, Kelly M.; Robertson, Joseph W. F.; Nguyen, Tam L.; Panchal, Rekha G.; Gussio, Rick; Bavari, Sina; Krasilnikov, Oleg V.; Kasianowicz, John J.

    2008-01-01

    Nonelectrolyte polymers of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) were used to estimate the diameter of the ion channel formed by the Bacillus anthracis protective antigen 63 (PA63). Based on the ability of different molecular weight PEGs to partition into the pore and reduce channel conductance, the pore appears to be narrower than the one formed by Staphylococcus aureus α-hemolysin. Numerical integration of the PEG sample mass spectra and the channel conductance data were used to refine the estimate of the pore's PEG molecular mass cutoff (∼1400 g/mol). The results suggest that the limiting diameter of the PA63 pore is <2 nm, which is consistent with an all-atom model of the PA63 channel and previous experiments using large ions. PMID:18645196

  7. In Silico Genomic Fingerprints of the Bacillus anthracis Group Obtained by Virtual Hybridization

    PubMed Central

    Jaimes-Díaz, Hueman; Larios-Serrato, Violeta; Lloret-Sánchez, Teresa; Olguín-Ruiz, Gabriela; Sánchez-Vallejo, Carlos; Carreño-Durán, Luis; Maldonado-Rodríguez, Rogelio; Méndez-Tenorio, Alfonso

    2015-01-01

    In this study we evaluate the capacity of Virtual Hybridization to identify between highly related bacterial strains. Eight genomic fingerprints were obtained by virtual hybridization for the Bacillus anthracis genome set, and a set of 15,264 13-nucleotide short probes designed to produce genomic fingerprints unique for each organism. The data obtained from each genomic fingerprint were used to obtain hybridization patterns simulating a DNA microarray. Two virtual hybridization methods were used: the Direct and the Extended method to identify the number of potential hybridization sites and thus determine the minimum sensitivity value to discriminate between genomes with 99.9% similarity. Genomic fingerprints were compared using both methods and phylogenomic trees were constructed to verify that the minimum detection value is 0.000017. Results obtained from the genomic fingerprints suggest that the distribution in the trees is correct, as compared to other taxonomic methods. Specific virtual hybridization sites for each of the genomes studied were also identified.

  8. [Genotype diversity of the Bacillus anthracis strains isolated from the Caucasus region].

    PubMed

    Eremenko, E I; Riazanava, A G; Tsygankova, O I; Tsygankova, E A; Buravtseva, N P; Kulichenko, A N

    2012-01-01

    The study of the genotypes of Bacillus anthracis strains isolated from the Caucasus region was performed using MLVA. Among 149 strains, 32 distinctive MLVA-8 genotypes belonging to Ala, A3a, A4 and B1 molecular diversity groups were identified. 9 genotypes were not described previously; 6 genotypes were not found in other geographic regions and could be considered as endemic for Caucasus. The majority of the identified genotypes are widespread not only in Caucasus, but also throughout Eurasia, Africa, and America. Molecular diversity of Caucasian isolates is comparable to the worldwide diversity. This represents historical relations of this region, proximity to ancient trade routes and intensity of the anthrax epizootic in Caucasus. The obtained results are of interest from the theoretical point of view, as well as for the application in epidemiological research of the anthrax outbreaks. PMID:22937567

  9. Nanoscale structural and mechanical analysis of Bacillus anthracis spores inactivated with rapid dry heating.

    PubMed

    Xing, Yun; Li, Alex; Felker, Daniel L; Burggraf, Larry W

    2014-03-01

    Effective killing of Bacillus anthracis spores is of paramount importance to antibioterrorism, food safety, environmental protection, and the medical device industry. Thus, a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of spore resistance and inactivation is highly desired for developing new strategies or improving the known methods for spore destruction. Previous studies have shown that spore inactivation mechanisms differ considerably depending upon the killing agents, such as heat (wet heat, dry heat), UV, ionizing radiation, and chemicals. It is believed that wet heat kills spores by inactivating critical enzymes, while dry heat kills spores by damaging their DNA. Many studies have focused on the biochemical aspects of spore inactivation by dry heat; few have investigated structural damages and changes in spore mechanical properties. In this study, we have inactivated Bacillus anthracis spores with rapid dry heating and performed nanoscale topographical and mechanical analysis of inactivated spores using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Our results revealed significant changes in spore morphology and nanomechanical properties after heat inactivation. In addition, we also found that these changes were different under different heating conditions that produced similar inactivation probabilities (high temperature for short exposure time versus low temperature for long exposure time). We attributed the differences to the differential thermal and mechanical stresses in the spore. The buildup of internal thermal and mechanical stresses may become prominent only in ultrafast, high-temperature heat inactivation when the experimental timescale is too short for heat-generated vapor to efficiently escape from the spore. Our results thus provide direct, visual evidences of the importance of thermal stresses and heat and mass transfer to spore inactivation by very rapid dry heating. PMID:24375142

  10. Bacillus anthracis Overcomes an Amino Acid Auxotrophy by Cleaving Host Serum Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Terwilliger, Austen; Swick, Michelle C.; Pflughoeft, Kathryn J.; Pomerantsev, Andrei; Lyons, C. Rick; Koehler, Theresa M.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Bacteria sustain an infection by acquiring nutrients from the host to support replication. The host sequesters these nutrients as a growth-restricting strategy, a concept termed “nutritional immunity.” Historically, the study of nutritional immunity has centered on iron uptake because many bacteria target hemoglobin, an abundant circulating protein, as an iron source. Left unresolved are the mechanisms that bacteria use to attain other nutrients from host sources, including amino acids. We employed a novel medium designed to mimic the chemical composition of human serum, and we show here that Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax disease, proteolyzes human hemoglobin to liberate essential amino acids which enhance its growth. This property can be traced to the actions of InhA1, a secreted metalloprotease, and extends to at least three other serum proteins, including serum albumin. The results suggest that we must also consider proteolysis of key host proteins to be a way for bacterial pathogens to attain essential nutrients, and we provide an experimental framework to determine the host and bacterial factors involved in this process. IMPORTANCE The mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens acquire nutrients during infection are poorly understood. Here we used a novel defined medium that approximates the chemical composition of human blood serum, blood serum mimic (BSM), to better model the nutritional environment that pathogens encounter during bacteremia. Removing essential amino acids from BSM revealed that two of the most abundant proteins in blood—hemoglobin and serum albumin—can satiate the amino acid requirement for Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. We further demonstrate that hemoglobin is proteolyzed by the secreted protease InhA1. These studies highlight that common blood proteins can be a nutrient source for bacteria. They also challenge the historical view that hemoglobin is solely an iron source for

  11. Nanoscale Structural and Mechanical Analysis of Bacillus anthracis Spores Inactivated with Rapid Dry Heating

    PubMed Central

    Felker, Daniel L.; Burggraf, Larry W.

    2014-01-01

    Effective killing of Bacillus anthracis spores is of paramount importance to antibioterrorism, food safety, environmental protection, and the medical device industry. Thus, a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of spore resistance and inactivation is highly desired for developing new strategies or improving the known methods for spore destruction. Previous studies have shown that spore inactivation mechanisms differ considerably depending upon the killing agents, such as heat (wet heat, dry heat), UV, ionizing radiation, and chemicals. It is believed that wet heat kills spores by inactivating critical enzymes, while dry heat kills spores by damaging their DNA. Many studies have focused on the biochemical aspects of spore inactivation by dry heat; few have investigated structural damages and changes in spore mechanical properties. In this study, we have inactivated Bacillus anthracis spores with rapid dry heating and performed nanoscale topographical and mechanical analysis of inactivated spores using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Our results revealed significant changes in spore morphology and nanomechanical properties after heat inactivation. In addition, we also found that these changes were different under different heating conditions that produced similar inactivation probabilities (high temperature for short exposure time versus low temperature for long exposure time). We attributed the differences to the differential thermal and mechanical stresses in the spore. The buildup of internal thermal and mechanical stresses may become prominent only in ultrafast, high-temperature heat inactivation when the experimental timescale is too short for heat-generated vapor to efficiently escape from the spore. Our results thus provide direct, visual evidences of the importance of thermal stresses and heat and mass transfer to spore inactivation by very rapid dry heating. PMID:24375142

  12. CXCL10 Acts as a Bifunctional Antimicrobial Molecule against Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Margulieux, Katie R.; Fox, Jay W.; Nakamoto, Robert K.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Bacillus anthracis is killed by the interferon-inducible, ELR(−) CXC chemokine CXCL10. Previous studies showed that disruption of the gene encoding FtsX, a conserved membrane component of the ATP-binding cassette transporter-like complex FtsE/X, resulted in resistance to CXCL10. FtsX exhibits some sequence similarity to the mammalian CXCL10 receptor, CXCR3, suggesting that the CXCL10 N-terminal region that interacts with CXCR3 may also interact with FtsX. A C-terminal truncated CXCL10 was tested to determine if the FtsX-dependent antimicrobial activity is associated with the CXCR3-interacting N terminus. The truncated CXCL10 exhibited antimicrobial activity against the B. anthracis parent strain but not the ΔftsX mutant, which supports a key role for the CXCL10 N terminus. Mutations in FtsE, the conserved ATP-binding protein of the FtsE/X complex, resulted in resistance to both CXCL10 and truncated CXCL10, indicating that both FtsX and FtsE are important. Higher concentrations of CXCL10 overcame the resistance of the ΔftsX mutant to CXCL10, suggesting an FtsX-independent killing mechanism, likely involving its C-terminal α-helix, which resembles a cationic antimicrobial peptide. Membrane depolarization studies revealed that CXCL10 disrupted membranes of the B. anthracis parent strain and the ΔftsX mutant, but only the parent strain underwent depolarization with truncated CXCL10. These findings suggest that CXCL10 is a bifunctional molecule that kills B. anthracis by two mechanisms. FtsE/X-dependent killing is mediated through an N-terminal portion of CXCL10 and is not reliant upon the C-terminal α-helix. The FtsE/X-independent mechanism involves membrane depolarization by CXCL10, likely because of its α-helix. These findings present a new paradigm for understanding mechanisms by which CXCL10 and related chemokines kill bacteria. PMID:27165799

  13. Differential effects of linezolid and ciprofloxacin on toxin production by Bacillus anthracis in an in vitro pharmacodynamic system.

    PubMed

    Louie, Arnold; Vanscoy, Brian D; Heine, Henry S; Liu, Weiguo; Abshire, Terry; Holman, Kari; Kulawy, Robert; Brown, David L; Drusano, George L

    2012-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis causes anthrax. Ciprofloxacin is a gold standard for the treatment of anthrax. Previously, using the non-toxin-producing ΔSterne strain of B. anthracis, we demonstrated that linezolid was equivalent to ciprofloxacin for reducing the total (vegetative and spore) bacterial population. With ciprofloxacin therapy, the total population consisted of spores. With linezolid therapy, the population consisted primarily of vegetative bacteria. Linezolid is a protein synthesis inhibitor, while ciprofloxacin is not. Since toxins are produced only by vegetative B. anthracis, the effect of linezolid and ciprofloxacin on toxin production is of interest. The effect of simulated clinical regimens of ciprofloxacin and linezolid on the vegetative and spore populations and on toxin production was examined in an in vitro pharmacodynamic model over 15 days by using the toxin-producing Sterne strain of B. anthracis. Ciprofloxacin and linezolid reduced the total Sterne population at similar rates. With ciprofloxacin therapy, the total Sterne population consisted of spores. With linezolid therapy, >90% of the population was vegetative B. anthracis. With ciprofloxacin therapy, toxin was first detectable at 3 h and remained detectable for at least 5 h. Toxin was never detected with linezolid therapy. Ciprofloxacin and linezolid reduced the total Sterne population at similar rates. However, the B. anthracis population was primarily spores with ciprofloxacin therapy and was primarily vegetative bacteria with linezolid therapy. Toxin production was detected for at least 5 h with ciprofloxacin therapy but was never detected with linezolid treatment. Linezolid may have an advantage over ciprofloxacin for the treatment of B. anthracis infections. PMID:22064542

  14. N-acetylglucosamine deacetylases modulate the anchoring of the gamma-glutamyl capsule to the cell wall of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Candela, Thomas; Balomenou, Stavroula; Aucher, Willy; Bouriotis, Vassilis; Simore, Jean-Pierre; Fouet, Agnes; Boneca, Ivo G

    2014-06-01

    Bacillus anthracis has a complex cell wall structure composed of a peptidoglycan (PG) layer to which major structures are anchored such as a neutral polysaccharide, an S-layer, and a poly-γ-D-glutamate (PDGA) capsule. Many of these structures have central roles in the biology of B. anthracis, particularly, in virulence. However, little attention has been devoted to structurally study the PG and how it is modified in the presence of these secondary cell wall components. We present here the fine structure of the PG of the encapsulated RPG1 strain harboring both pXO1 and pXO2 virulence plasmids. We show that B. anthracis has a high degree of cross-linking and its GlcNAc residues are highly modified by N-deacetylation. The PG composition is not dependent on the presence of either LPXTG proteins or the capsule. Using NMR analysis of the PG-PDGA complex, we provide evidence for the anchoring of the PDGA to the glucosamine residues. We show that anchoring of the PDGA capsule is impaired in two PG N-deacetylase mutants, Ba1961 and Ba3679. Thus, these multiple N-deactylase activities would constitute excellent drug targets in B. anthracis by simultaneously affecting its resistance to lysozyme and to phagocytosis impairing B. anthracis survival in the host. PMID:24833281

  15. N-Acetylglucosamine Deacetylases Modulate the Anchoring of the Gamma-Glutamyl Capsule to the Cell Wall of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Candela, Thomas; Balomenou, Stavroula; Aucher, Willy; Bouriotis, Vassilis; Simore, Jean-Pierre; Fouet, Agnes

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis has a complex cell wall structure composed of a peptidoglycan (PG) layer to which major structures are anchored such as a neutral polysaccharide, an S-layer, and a poly-γ-D-glutamate (PDGA) capsule. Many of these structures have central roles in the biology of B. anthracis, particularly, in virulence. However, little attention has been devoted to structurally study the PG and how it is modified in the presence of these secondary cell wall components. We present here the fine structure of the PG of the encapsulated RPG1 strain harboring both pXO1 and pXO2 virulence plasmids. We show that B. anthracis has a high degree of cross-linking and its GlcNAc residues are highly modified by N-deacetylation. The PG composition is not dependent on the presence of either LPXTG proteins or the capsule. Using NMR analysis of the PG-PDGA complex, we provide evidence for the anchoring of the PDGA to the glucosamine residues. We show that anchoring of the PDGA capsule is impaired in two PG N-deacetylase mutants, Ba1961 and Ba3679. Thus, these multiple N-deactylase activities would constitute excellent drug targets in B. anthracis by simultaneously affecting its resistance to lysozyme and to phagocytosis impairing B. anthracis survival in the host. PMID:24833281

  16. LytR-CpsA-Psr Enzymes as Determinants of Bacillus anthracis Secondary Cell Wall Polysaccharide Assembly

    PubMed Central

    Liszewski Zilla, Megan; Chan, Yvonne G. Y.; Lunderberg, Justin Mark; Schneewind, Olaf

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, replicates as chains of vegetative cells by regulating the separation of septal peptidoglycan. Surface (S)-layer proteins and associated proteins (BSLs) function as chain length determinants and bind to the secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP). In this study, we identified the B. anthracis lcpD mutant, which displays increased chain length and S-layer assembly defects due to diminished SCWP attachment to peptidoglycan. In contrast, the B. anthracis lcpB3 variant displayed reduced cell size and chain length, which could be attributed to increased deposition of BSLs. In other bacteria, LytR-CpsA-Psr (LCP) proteins attach wall teichoic acid (WTA) and polysaccharide capsule to peptidoglycan. B. anthracis does not synthesize these polymers, yet its genome encodes six LCP homologues, which, when expressed in S. aureus, promote WTA attachment. We propose a model whereby B. anthracis LCPs promote attachment of SCWP precursors to discrete locations in the peptidoglycan, enabling BSL assembly and regulated separation of septal peptidoglycan. PMID:25384480

  17. RAZOR EX Anthrax Air Detection System for detection of Bacillus anthracis spores from aerosol collection samples: collaborative study.

    PubMed

    Hadfield, Ted; Ryan, Valorie; Spaulding, Usha K; Clemens, Kristine M; Ota, Irene M; Brunelle, Sharon L

    2013-01-01

    The RAZOR EX Anthrax Air Detection System was validated in a collaborative study for the detection of Bacillus anthracis in aerosol collection buffer. Phosphate-buffered saline was charged with 1 mg/mL standardized dust to simulate an authentic aerosol collection sample. The dust-charged buffer was spiked with either B. anthracis Ames at 2000 spores/mL or Bacillus cereus at 20 000 spores/mL. Twelve collaborators participated in the study, with four collaborators at each of three sites. Each collaborator tested 12 replicates of B. anthracis in dust-charged buffer and 12 replicates of B. cereus in dust-charged buffer. All samples sets were randomized and blind-coded. All collaborators produced valid data sets (no collaborators displayed systematic errors) and there was only one invalid data point. After unblinding, the analysis revealed a cross-collaborator probability of detection (CPOD) of 1.00 (144 positive results from 144 replicates, 95% confidence interval 0.975-1.00) for the B. anthracis samples and a CPOD of 0.00 (0 positive results from 143 replicates, 95% confidence interval 0.00-0.0262) for the B. cereus samples. These data meet the requirements of AOAC Standard Method Performance Requirement 2010.003, developed by the Stakeholder Panel on Agent Detection Assays. PMID:23767365

  18. Reagent-free and portable detection of Bacillus anthracis spores using a microfluidic incubator and smartphone microscope.

    PubMed

    Hutchison, Janine R; Erikson, Rebecca L; Sheen, Allison M; Ozanich, Richard M; Kelly, Ryan T

    2015-09-21

    Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax and can be contracted by humans and herbivorous mammals by inhalation, ingestion, or cutaneous exposure to bacterial spores. Due to its stability and disease potential, B. anthracis is a recognized biothreat agent and robust detection and viability methods are needed to identify spores from unknown samples. Here we report the use of smartphone-based microscopy (SPM) in combination with a simple microfluidic incubation device (MID) to detect 50 to 5000 B. anthracis Sterne spores in 3 to 5 hours. This technique relies on optical monitoring of the conversion of the ∼1 μm spores to the filamentous vegetative cells that range from tens to hundreds of micrometers in length. This distinguishing filament formation is unique to B. anthracis as compared to other members of the Bacillus cereus group. A unique feature of this approach is that the sample integrity is maintained, and the vegetative biomass can be removed from the chip for secondary molecular analysis such as PCR. Compared with existing chip-based and rapid viability PCR methods, this new approach reduces assay time by almost half, and is highly sensitive, specific, and cost effective. PMID:26266749

  19. Production and cell surface display of recombinant anthrax protective antigen on the surface layer of attenuated Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yan-chun; Yuan, Sheng-ling; Tao, Hao-xia; Wang, Ling-chun; Zhang, Zhao-shan; Liu, Chun-jie

    2015-02-01

    To investigate the surface display of the anthrax protective antigen (PA) on attenuated Bacillus anthracis, a recombinant B. anthracis strain, named AP429 was constructed by integrating into the chromosome a translational fusion harboring the DNA fragments encoding the cell wall-targeting domain of the S-layer protein EA1 and the anthrax PA. Crerecombinase action at the loxP sites excised the antibiotic marker. Western blot analysis, fluorescence-activated cell sorting and immunofluorescence analysis confirmed that PA was successfully expressed on the S-layer of the recombinant antibiotic marker-free strain. Notwithstanding extensive proteolytic degradation of the hybrid protein SLHs-PA, quantitative ELISA revealed that approximately 8.1 × 10(6) molecules of SLHs-PA were gained from each Bacillus cell. Moreover, electron microscopy assay indicated that the typical S-layer structures could be clearly observed from the recombinant strain micrographs. PMID:25504373

  20. Curing Both Virulent Mega-Plasmids from Bacillus anthracis Wild-Type Strain A16 Simultaneously Using Plasmid Incompatibility.

    PubMed

    Wang, Dongshu; Gao, Zhiqi; Wang, Huagui; Feng, Erling; Zhu, Li; Liu, Xiankai; Wang, Hengliang

    2015-10-28

    Plasmid-cured derivative strains of Bacillus anthracis are frequently used in laboratory studies. Plasmid incompatibility, which does not increase the risk of chromosomal mutation, is a useful method for plasmid curing. However, in bacteria containing multiple plasmids, it often requires the sequential introduction of multiple, specific incompatibility plasmids. This lengthy process renders the traditional plasmid incompatibility method inefficient and mutation-prone. In this study, we successfully cured plasmids pXO1 and pXO2 from B. anthracis A16 simultaneously using only one recombinant incompatible plasmid, pKORT, to obtain a plasmid-free strain, designated A16DD. This method may also be useful for the simultaneous, one-step curing of multiple plasmids from other bacteria, including Bacillus thuringiensis and Yersinia pestis. PMID:26059513

  1. Cell wall anchor structure of BcpA pili in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Budzik, Jonathan M; Oh, So-Young; Schneewind, Olaf

    2008-12-26

    Assembly of pili in Gram-positive bacteria and their attachment to the cell wall envelope are mediated by sortases. In Bacillus cereus and its close relative Bacillus anthracis, the major pilin protein BcpA is cleaved between the threonine and the glycine of its C-terminal LPXTG motif sorting signal by the pilin-specific sortase D. The resulting acyl enzyme intermediate is relieved by the nucleophilic attack of the side-chain amino group of lysine within the YPKN motif of another BcpA subunit. Cell wall anchoring of assembled BcpA pili requires sortase A, which also cleaves the LPXTG sorting signal of BcpA between its threonine and glycine residues. We show here that sortases A and D require only the C-terminal sorting signal of BcpA for substrate cleavage. Unlike sortase D, which accepts the YPKN motif as a nucleophile, sortase A forms an amide bond between the BcpA C-terminal carboxyl group of threonine and the side-chain amino group of diaminopimelic acid within the cell wall peptidoglycan of bacilli. These results represent the first demonstration of a cell wall anchor structure for pili, which are deposited by sortase A into the envelope of many different microbes. PMID:18940793

  2. Thermal inactivation of Bacillus anthracis surrogate spores in a bench-scale enclosed landfill gas flare.

    PubMed

    Tufts, Jenia A McBrian; Rosati, Jacky A

    2012-02-01

    A bench-scale landfill flare system was designed and built to test the potential for landfilled biological spores that migrate from the waste into the landfill gas to pass through the flare and exit into the environment as viable. The residence times and temperatures of the flare were characterized and compared to full-scale systems. Geobacillus stearothermophilus and Bacillus atrophaeus, nonpathogenic spores that may serve as surrogates for Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent for anthrax, were investigated to determine whether these organisms would be inactivated or remain viable after passing through a simulated landfill flare. High concentration spore solutions were aerosolized, dried, and sent through a bench-scale system to simulate the fate of biological weapon (BW)-grade spores in a landfill gas flare. Sampling was conducted downstream of the flare using a bioaerosol collection device containing sterile white mineral oil. The samples were cultured, incubated for seven days, and assessed for viability. Results showed that the bench-scale system exhibited good similarity to the real-world conditions of an enclosed standard combustor flare stack with a single orifice, forced-draft diffusion burner. All spores of G. stearothermophilus and B. atrophaeus were inactivated in the flare, indicating that spores that become re-entrained in landfill gas may not escape the landfill as viable, apparently becoming completely inactivated as they exit through a landfill flare. PMID:22442931

  3. Immunization of mice with formalin-inactivated spores from avirulent Bacillus cereus strains provides significant protection from challenge with Bacillus anthracis Ames.

    PubMed

    Vergis, James M; Cote, Christopher K; Bozue, Joel; Alem, Farhang; Ventura, Christy L; Welkos, Susan L; O'Brien, Alison D

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis spores are the infectious form of the organism for humans and animals. However, the approved human vaccine in the United States is derived from a vegetative culture filtrate of a toxigenic, nonencapsulated B. anthracis strain that primarily contains protective antigen (PA). Immunization of mice with purified spore proteins and formalin-inactivated spores (FIS) from a nonencapsulated, nontoxigenic B. anthracis strain confers protection against B. anthracis challenge when PA is also administered. To investigate the capacity of the spore particle to act as a vaccine without PA, we immunized mice subcutaneously with FIS from nontoxigenic, nonencapsulated B. cereus strain G9241 pBCXO1(-)/pBC210(-) (dcG9241), dcG9241 ΔbclA, or 569-UM20 or with exosporium isolated from dcG9241. FIS vaccination provided significant protection of mice from intraperitoneal or intranasal challenge with spores of the virulent B. anthracis Ames or Ames ΔbclA strain. Immunization with dcG9241 ΔbclA FIS, which are devoid of the immunodominant spore protein BclA, provided greater protection from challenge with either Ames strain than did immunization with FIS from BclA-producing strains. In addition, we used prechallenge immune antisera to probe a panel of recombinant B. anthracis Sterne spore proteins to identify novel immunogenic vaccine candidates. The antisera were variably reactive with BclA and with 10 other proteins, four of which were previously tested as vaccine candidates. Overall our data show that immunization with FIS from nontoxigenic, nonencapsulated B. cereus strains provides moderate to high levels of protection of mice from B. anthracis Ames challenge and that neither PA nor BclA is required for this protection. PMID:23114705

  4. Impact of Spores on the Comparative Efficacies of Five Antibiotics for Treatment of Bacillus anthracis in an In Vitro Hollow Fiber Pharmacodynamic Model

    PubMed Central

    VanScoy, Brian D.; Brown, David L.; Kulawy, Robert W.; Heine, Henry S.; Drusano, George L.

    2012-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, is an agent of bioterrorism. The most effective antimicrobial therapy for B. anthracis infections is unknown. An in vitro pharmacodynamic model of B. anthracis was used to compare the efficacies of simulated clinically prescribed regimens of moxifloxacin, linezolid, and meropenem with the “gold standards,” doxycycline and ciprofloxacin. Treatment outcomes for isogenic spore-forming and non-spore-forming strains of B. anthracis were compared. Against spore-forming B. anthracis, ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, linezolid, and meropenem reduced the B. anthracis population by 4 log10 CFU/ml over 10 days. Doxycycline reduced the population of this B. anthracis strain by 5 log10 CFU/ml (analysis of variance [ANOVA] P = 0.01 versus other drugs). Against an isogenic non-spore-forming strain, meropenem killed the vegetative B. anthracis the fastest, followed by moxifloxacin and ciprofloxacin and then doxycycline. Linezolid offered the lowest bacterial kill rate. Heat shock studies using the spore-producing B. anthracis strain showed that with moxifloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and meropenem therapies the total population was mostly spores, while the population was primarily vegetative bacteria with linezolid and doxycycline therapies. Spores have a profound impact on the rate and extent of killing of B. anthracis. Against spore-forming B. anthracis, the five antibiotics killed the total (spore and vegetative) bacterial population at similar rates (within 1 log10 CFU/ml of each other). However, bactericidal antibiotics killed vegetative B. anthracis faster than bacteriostatic drugs. Since only vegetative-phase B. anthracis produces the toxins that may kill the infected host, the rate and mechanism of killing of an antibiotic may determine its overall in vivo efficacy. Further studies are needed to examine this important observation. PMID:22155821

  5. Efficacy of Oritavancin in a Murine Model of Bacillus anthracis Spore Inhalation Anthrax ▿

    PubMed Central

    Heine, H. S.; Bassett, J.; Miller, L.; Bassett, A.; Ivins, B. E.; Lehoux, D.; Arhin, F. F.; Parr, T. R.; Moeck, G.

    2008-01-01

    The inhaled form of Bacillus anthracis infection may be fatal to humans. The current standard of care for inhalational anthrax postexposure prophylaxis is ciprofloxacin therapy twice daily for 60 days. The potent in vitro activity of oritavancin, a semisynthetic lipoglycopeptide, against B. anthracis (MIC against Ames strain, 0.015 μg/ml) prompted us to test its efficacy in a mouse aerosol-anthrax model. In postexposure prophylaxis dose-ranging studies, a single intravenous (i.v.) dose of oritavancin of 5, 15, or 50 mg/kg 24 h after a challenge with 50 to 75 times the median lethal dose of Ames strain spores provided 40, 70, and 100% proportional survival, respectively, at 30 days postchallenge. Untreated animals died within 4 days of challenge, whereas 90% of control animals receiving ciprofloxacin at 30 mg/kg intraperitoneally twice daily for 14 days starting 24 h after challenge survived. Oritavancin demonstrated significant activity post symptom development; a single i.v. dose of 50 mg/kg administered 42 h after challenge provided 56% proportional survival at 30 days. In a preexposure prophylaxis study, a single i.v. oritavancin dose of 50 mg/kg administered 1, 7, 14, or 28 days before lethal challenge protected 90, 100, 100, and 20% of mice at 30 days; mice treated with ciprofloxacin 24 h or 24 and 12 h before challenge all died within 5 days. Efficacy in pre- and postexposure models of inhalation anthrax, together with a demonstrated low propensity to engender resistance, promotes further study of oritavancin pharmacokinetics and efficacy in nonhuman primate models. PMID:18606841

  6. Mechanism of Inhibition of Bacillus anthracis Spore Outgrowth by the Lantibiotic Nisin

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    The lantibiotic nisin inhibits growth of vegetative Gram-positive bacteria by binding to lipid II, which disrupts cell wall biosynthesis and facilitates pore formation. Nisin also inhibits the outgrowth of bacterial spores, including spores of Bacillus anthracis, whose structural and biochemical properties are fundamentally different from those of vegetative bacteria. The molecular basis of nisin inhibition of spore outgrowth had not been identified, as previous studies suggested that inhibition of spore outgrowth involved either covalent binding to a spore target or loss of membrane integrity; disruption of cell wall biosynthesis via binding to lipid II had not been investigated. To provide insights into the latter possibility, the effects of nisin were compared with those of vancomycin, another lipid II binding antibiotic that inhibits cell wall biosynthesis but does not form pores. Nisin and vancomycin both inhibited the replication of vegetative cells, but only nisin inhibited the transition from a germinated spore to a vegetative cell. Moreover, vancomycin prevented nisin’s activity in competition studies, suggesting that the nisin-lipid II interaction is important for inhibition of spore outgrowth. In experiments with fluorescently labeled nisin, no evidence was found for a covalent mechanism for inhibition of spore outgrowth. Interestingly, mutants in the hinge region (N20P/M21P and M21P/K22P) that still bind lipid II but cannot form pores had potent antimicrobial activity against vegetative B. anthracis cells but did not inhibit spore outgrowth. Therefore, pore formation is essential for the latter activity but not the former. Collectively, these studies suggest that nisin utilizes lipid II as the germinated spore target during outgrowth inhibition and that nisin-mediated membrane disruption is essential to inhibit spore development into vegetative cells. PMID:21517116

  7. Contributions of Four Cortex Lytic Enzymes to Germination of Bacillus anthracis Spores▿

    PubMed Central

    Heffron, Jared D.; Lambert, Emily A.; Sherry, Nora; Popham, David L.

    2010-01-01

    Bacterial spores remain dormant and highly resistant to environmental stress until they germinate. Completion of germination requires the degradation of spore cortex peptidoglycan by germination-specific lytic enzymes (GSLEs). Bacillus anthracis has four GSLEs: CwlJ1, CwlJ2, SleB, and SleL. In this study, the cooperative action of all four GSLEs in vivo was investigated by combining in-frame deletion mutations to generate all possible double, triple, and quadruple GSLE mutant strains. Analyses of mutant strains during spore germination and outgrowth combined observations of optical density loss, colony-producing ability, and quantitative identification of spore cortex fragments. The lytic transglycosylase SleB alone can facilitate enough digestion to allow full spore viability and generates a variety of small and large cortex fragments. CwlJ1 is also sufficient to allow completion of nutrient-triggered germination independently and is a major factor in Ca2+-dipicolinic acid (DPA)-triggered germination, but its enzymatic activity remains unidentified because its products are large and not readily released from the spore's integuments. CwlJ2 contributes the least to overall cortex digestion but plays a subsidiary role in Ca2+-DPA-induced germination. SleL is an N-acetylglucosaminidase that plays the major role in hydrolyzing the large products of other GSLEs into small, rapidly released muropeptides. As the roles of these enzymes in cortex degradation become clearer, they will be targets for methods to stimulate premature germination of B. anthracis spores, greatly simplifying decontamination measures. PMID:19966006

  8. Recovery efficiency and limit of detection of aerosolized Bacillus anthracis Sterne from environmental surface samples.

    PubMed

    Estill, Cheryl Fairfield; Baron, Paul A; Beard, Jeremy K; Hein, Misty J; Larsen, Lloyd D; Rose, Laura; Schaefer, Frank W; Noble-Wang, Judith; Hodges, Lisa; Lindquist, H D Alan; Deye, Gregory J; Arduino, Matthew J

    2009-07-01

    After the 2001 anthrax incidents, surface sampling techniques for biological agents were found to be inadequately validated, especially at low surface loadings. We aerosolized Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores within a chamber to achieve very low surface loading (ca. 3, 30, and 200 CFU per 100 cm(2)). Steel and carpet coupons seeded in the chamber were sampled with swab (103 cm(2)) or wipe or vacuum (929 cm(2)) surface sampling methods and analyzed at three laboratories. Agar settle plates (60 cm(2)) were the reference for determining recovery efficiency (RE). The minimum estimated surface concentrations to achieve a 95% response rate based on probit regression were 190, 15, and 44 CFU/100 cm(2) for sampling steel surfaces and 40, 9.2, and 28 CFU/100 cm(2) for sampling carpet surfaces with swab, wipe, and vacuum methods, respectively; however, these results should be cautiously interpreted because of high observed variability. Mean REs at the highest surface loading were 5.0%, 18%, and 3.7% on steel and 12%, 23%, and 4.7% on carpet for the swab, wipe, and vacuum methods, respectively. Precision (coefficient of variation) was poor at the lower surface concentrations but improved with increasing surface concentration. The best precision was obtained with wipe samples on carpet, achieving 38% at the highest surface concentration. The wipe sampling method detected B. anthracis at lower estimated surface concentrations and had higher RE and better precision than the other methods. These results may guide investigators to more meaningfully conduct environmental sampling, quantify contamination levels, and conduct risk assessment for humans. PMID:19429546

  9. Recovery Efficiency and Limit of Detection of Aerosolized Bacillus anthracis Sterne from Environmental Surface Samples ▿

    PubMed Central

    Estill, Cheryl Fairfield; Baron, Paul A.; Beard, Jeremy K.; Hein, Misty J.; Larsen, Lloyd D.; Rose, Laura; Schaefer, Frank W.; Noble-Wang, Judith; Hodges, Lisa; Lindquist, H. D. Alan; Deye, Gregory J.; Arduino, Matthew J.

    2009-01-01

    After the 2001 anthrax incidents, surface sampling techniques for biological agents were found to be inadequately validated, especially at low surface loadings. We aerosolized Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores within a chamber to achieve very low surface loading (ca. 3, 30, and 200 CFU per 100 cm2). Steel and carpet coupons seeded in the chamber were sampled with swab (103 cm2) or wipe or vacuum (929 cm2) surface sampling methods and analyzed at three laboratories. Agar settle plates (60 cm2) were the reference for determining recovery efficiency (RE). The minimum estimated surface concentrations to achieve a 95% response rate based on probit regression were 190, 15, and 44 CFU/100 cm2 for sampling steel surfaces and 40, 9.2, and 28 CFU/100 cm2 for sampling carpet surfaces with swab, wipe, and vacuum methods, respectively; however, these results should be cautiously interpreted because of high observed variability. Mean REs at the highest surface loading were 5.0%, 18%, and 3.7% on steel and 12%, 23%, and 4.7% on carpet for the swab, wipe, and vacuum methods, respectively. Precision (coefficient of variation) was poor at the lower surface concentrations but improved with increasing surface concentration. The best precision was obtained with wipe samples on carpet, achieving 38% at the highest surface concentration. The wipe sampling method detected B. anthracis at lower estimated surface concentrations and had higher RE and better precision than the other methods. These results may guide investigators to more meaningfully conduct environmental sampling, quantify contamination levels, and conduct risk assessment for humans. PMID:19429546

  10. Mechanism of inhibition of Bacillus anthracis spore outgrowth by the lantibiotic nisin.

    PubMed

    Gut, Ian M; Blanke, Steven R; van der Donk, Wilfred A

    2011-07-15

    The lantibiotic nisin inhibits growth of vegetative Gram-positive bacteria by binding to lipid II, which disrupts cell wall biosynthesis and facilitates pore formation. Nisin also inhibits the outgrowth of bacterial spores, including spores of Bacillus anthracis, whose structural and biochemical properties are fundamentally different from those of vegetative bacteria. The molecular basis of nisin inhibition of spore outgrowth had not been identified, as previous studies suggested that inhibition of spore outgrowth involved either covalent binding to a spore target or loss of membrane integrity; disruption of cell wall biosynthesis via binding to lipid II had not been investigated. To provide insights into the latter possibility, the effects of nisin were compared with those of vancomycin, another lipid II binding antibiotic that inhibits cell wall biosynthesis but does not form pores. Nisin and vancomycin both inhibited the replication of vegetative cells, but only nisin inhibited the transition from a germinated spore to a vegetative cell. Moreover, vancomycin prevented nisin's activity in competition studies, suggesting that the nisin-lipid II interaction is important for inhibition of spore outgrowth. In experiments with fluorescently labeled nisin, no evidence was found for a covalent mechanism for inhibition of spore outgrowth. Interestingly, mutants in the hinge region (N20P/M21P and M21P/K22P) that still bind lipid II but cannot form pores had potent antimicrobial activity against vegetative B. anthracis cells but did not inhibit spore outgrowth. Therefore, pore formation is essential for the latter activity but not the former. Collectively, these studies suggest that nisin utilizes lipid II as the germinated spore target during outgrowth inhibition and that nisin-mediated membrane disruption is essential to inhibit spore development into vegetative cells. PMID:21517116