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Sample records for bacillus anthracis lethality

  1. 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

  2. Bacillus anthracis cell wall produces injurious inflammation but paradoxically decreases the lethality of anthrax lethal toxin in a rat model

    PubMed Central

    Cui, Xizhong; Su, Junwu; Li, Yan; Shiloach, Joseph; Solomon, Steven; Kaufman, Jeanne B.; Mani, Haresh; Fitz, Yvonne; Weng, Jia; Altaweel, Laith; Besch, Virginia; Eichacker, Peter Q.

    2012-01-01

    Objectives The in vivo inflammatory effects of the Bacillus anthracis cell wall are unknown. We therefore investigated these effects in rats and, for comparison, those of known inflammatory stimulants, Staphylococcus aureus cell wall or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Method and Results Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 103) were challenged with increasing B. anthracis cell wall doses (10, 20, 40, 80, or 160 mg/kg) or diluent (control) as a bolus or 24-h infusion. The three highest bolus doses were lethal (20–64% lethality rates) as were the two highest infused doses (13% with each). Comparisons among lethal or nonlethal doses on other measured parameters were not significantly different, and these were combined for analysis. Over the 24 h after challenge initiation with lethal bolus or infusion, compared to controls, ten inflammatory cytokines and NO levels were increased and circulating neutrophils and platelets decreased (P ≤ 0.05). Changes with lethal doses were greater than changes with nonlethal doses (P ≤ 0.01). Lethal bolus or infusion doses produced hypotension or hypoxemia, respectively (P ≤ 0.05). The effects with B. anthracis cell wall were similar to those of S. aureus cell wall or LPS. However, paradoxically administration of B. anthracis cell wall or LPS decreased the lethality of concurrently administered B. anthracis lethal toxin (P < 0.0001 and 0.04, respectively). Conclusion B. anthracis cell wall has the potential to produce inflammatory injury during anthrax infection clinically. However, understanding why cell wall or LPS paradoxically reduced lethality with lethal toxin may help understand this toxin’s pathogenic effects. PMID:19756496

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. The cytotoxic activity of Bacillus anthracis lethal factor is inhibited by leukotriene A4 hydrolase and metallopeptidase inhibitors.

    PubMed Central

    Menard, A; Papini, E; Mock, M; Montecucco, C

    1996-01-01

    The lethal factor of Bacillus anthracis is central to the pathogenesis of anthrax. Its mechanism of action is still unknown. Recently, on the basis of sequence similarities, we suggested that lethal factor might act similarly to leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4), a bifunctional enzyme also endowed with a metallopeptidase activity. Here we show that some inhibitors of the LTA4 hydrolase and metallopeptidase activities of LTA4 hydrolase also affect the cytotoxicity of the anthrax lethal factor on macrophage cell lines, without interfering with the ability of the lethal factor to enter cells. These results support the proposal that anthrax lethal factor might display in the cytosol of intoxicated cells a peptidase activity similar to that of LTA4 hydrolase. PMID:8973585

  6. Effect of delayed anthrax vaccine dose on Bacillus anthracis protective antigen IgG response and lethal toxin neutralization activity.

    PubMed

    Pittman, Phillip R; Fisher, Diana; Quinn, Xiaofei; Schmader, Trevor; Barrera-Oro, Julio G

    2013-10-17

    We describe the Bacillus anthracis protective antigen IgG antibody response and the B. anthracis lethal toxin neutralization activity to a delayed dose of anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA, BioThrax(®)) using validated assays. 373 individuals received 1, 2, or 3 priming doses, 18-24 months afterward, they received a delayed dose of AVA. Overall, 23.6% of subjects showed detectable anti-PA IgG before the boost, compared to 99.2% (P<0.0001) 28 days after the boost. Geometric mean anti-PA IgG concentration (GMC) was 1.66 μg/mL before and 887.82 μg/mL after the boost (P<0.0001). The proportion of individuals with four-fold increase in GMC following the boost ranged from 93.8% to 100%. Robust anti-PA IgG levels and B. anthracis lethal toxin neutralization activity are induced when an AVA dose is delayed as long as two years. These data support continuing with the vaccination schedule when a dose is delayed as long as two years rather than restarting the series.

  7. CD4+ T Cells Targeting Dominant and Cryptic Epitopes from Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor.

    PubMed

    Ascough, Stephanie; Ingram, Rebecca J; Chu, Karen K Y; Musson, Julie A; Moore, Stephen J; Gallagher, Theresa; Baillie, Les; Williamson, Ethel D; Robinson, John H; Maillere, Bernard; Boyton, Rosemary J; Altmann, Daniel M

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax is an endemic infection in many countries, particularly in the developing world. The causative agent, Bacillus anthracis, mediates disease through the secretion of binary exotoxins. Until recently, research into adaptive immunity targeting this bacterial pathogen has largely focused on the humoral response to these toxins. There is, however, growing recognition that cellular immune responses involving IFNγ producing CD4+ T cells also contribute significantly to a protective memory response. An established concept in adaptive immunity to infection is that during infection of host cells, new microbial epitopes may be revealed, leading to immune recognition of so called 'cryptic' or 'subdominant' epitopes. We analyzed the response to both cryptic and immunodominant T cell epitopes derived from the toxin component lethal factor and presented by a range of HLA-DR alleles. Using IFNγ-ELISpot assays we characterized epitopes that elicited a response following immunization with synthetic peptide and the whole protein and tested their capacities to bind purified HLA-DR molecules in vitro. We found that DR1 transgenics demonstrated T cell responses to a greater number of domain III cryptic epitopes than other HLA-DR transgenics, and that this pattern was repeated with the immunodominant epitopes, as a greater proportion of these epitopes induced a T cell response when presented within the context of the whole protein. Immunodominant epitopes LF457-476 and LF467-487 were found to induce a T cell response to the peptide, as well as to the whole native LF protein in DR1 and DR15, but not in DR4 transgenics. The analysis of Domain I revealed the presence of several unique cryptic epitopes all of which showed a strong to moderate relative binding affinity to HLA-DR4 molecules. However, none of the cryptic epitopes from either domain III or I displayed notably high binding affinities across all HLA-DR alleles assayed. These responses were influenced by the specific HLA

  8. Biochip for the Detection of Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor and Therapeutic Agents against Anthrax Toxins.

    PubMed

    Silin, Vitalii; Kasianowicz, John J; Michelman-Ribeiro, Ariel; Panchal, Rekha G; Bavari, Sina; Robertson, Joseph W F

    2016-01-01

    Tethered lipid bilayer membranes (tBLMs) have been used in many applications, including biosensing and membrane protein structure studies. This report describes a biosensor for anthrax toxins that was fabricated through the self-assembly of a tBLM with B. anthracis protective antigen ion channels that are both the recognition element and electrochemical transducer. We characterize the sensor and its properties with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. The sensor shows a sensitivity similar to ELISA and can also be used to rapidly screen for molecules that bind to the toxins and potentially inhibit their lethal effects. PMID:27348008

  9. Biochip for the Detection of Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor and Therapeutic Agents against Anthrax Toxins

    PubMed Central

    Silin, Vitalii; Kasianowicz, John J.; Michelman-Ribeiro, Ariel; Panchal, Rekha G.; Bavari, Sina; Robertson, Joseph W. F.

    2016-01-01

    Tethered lipid bilayer membranes (tBLMs) have been used in many applications, including biosensing and membrane protein structure studies. This report describes a biosensor for anthrax toxins that was fabricated through the self-assembly of a tBLM with B. anthracis protective antigen ion channels that are both the recognition element and electrochemical transducer. We characterize the sensor and its properties with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. The sensor shows a sensitivity similar to ELISA and can also be used to rapidly screen for molecules that bind to the toxins and potentially inhibit their lethal effects. PMID:27348008

  10. An anthrax subunit vaccine candidate based on protective regions of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen and lethal factor.

    PubMed

    Baillie, Les W; Huwar, Theresa B; Moore, Stephen; Mellado-Sanchez, Gabriela; Rodriguez, Liliana; Neeson, Brendan N; Flick-Smith, Helen C; Jenner, Dominic C; Atkins, Helen S; Ingram, Rebecca J; Altmann, Danny M; Nataro, James P; Pasetti, Marcela F

    2010-09-24

    Studies have confirmed the key role of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) in the US and UK human anthrax vaccines. However, given the tripartite nature of the toxin, other components, including lethal factor (LF), are also likely to contribute to protection. We examined the antibody and T cell responses to PA and LF in human volunteers immunized with the UK anthrax vaccine (AVP). Individual LF domains were assessed for immunogenicity in mice when given alone or with PA. Based on the results obtained, a novel fusion protein comprising D1 of LF and the host cell-binding domain of PA (D4) was assessed for protective efficacy. Murine protection studies demonstrated that both full-length LF and D1 of LF conferred complete protection against a lethal intraperitoneal challenge with B. anthracis STI spores. Subsequent studies with the LFD1-PAD4 fusion protein showed a similar level of protection. LF is immunogenic in humans and is likely to contribute to the protection stimulated by AVP. A single vaccine comprising protective regions from LF and PA would simplify production and confer a broader spectrum of protection than that seen with PA alone. PMID:20691267

  11. An anthrax subunit vaccine candidate based on protective regions of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen and lethal factor.

    PubMed

    Baillie, Les W; Huwar, Theresa B; Moore, Stephen; Mellado-Sanchez, Gabriela; Rodriguez, Liliana; Neeson, Brendan N; Flick-Smith, Helen C; Jenner, Dominic C; Atkins, Helen S; Ingram, Rebecca J; Altmann, Danny M; Nataro, James P; Pasetti, Marcela F

    2010-09-24

    Studies have confirmed the key role of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) in the US and UK human anthrax vaccines. However, given the tripartite nature of the toxin, other components, including lethal factor (LF), are also likely to contribute to protection. We examined the antibody and T cell responses to PA and LF in human volunteers immunized with the UK anthrax vaccine (AVP). Individual LF domains were assessed for immunogenicity in mice when given alone or with PA. Based on the results obtained, a novel fusion protein comprising D1 of LF and the host cell-binding domain of PA (D4) was assessed for protective efficacy. Murine protection studies demonstrated that both full-length LF and D1 of LF conferred complete protection against a lethal intraperitoneal challenge with B. anthracis STI spores. Subsequent studies with the LFD1-PAD4 fusion protein showed a similar level of protection. LF is immunogenic in humans and is likely to contribute to the protection stimulated by AVP. A single vaccine comprising protective regions from LF and PA would simplify production and confer a broader spectrum of protection than that seen with PA alone.

  12. Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic Assessment of Faropenem in a Lethal Murine Bacillus anthracis Inhalation Postexposure Prophylaxis Model ▿

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2010-01-01

    There are few options for prophylaxis after exposure to Bacillus anthracis, especially in children and women of childbearing potential. Faropenem is a β-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 β-lactamase (MIC range, ≤0.06 to 1 μg/ml). In this study we evaluated the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) relationships between the plasma faropenem free-drug (f) concentrations and efficacy against B. 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 μg/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 (Emax) 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 (fCmax)/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 %TMIC) were each evaluated. Assessment of f %TMIC demonstrated the strongest correlation with survival (R2 = 0.967) compared to the correlations achieved by assessment of fAUC/MIC or fCmax/MIC, for which minimal correlations were observed. The 50% effective dose (ED50), ED90, and ED99 corresponded to f %TMIC values of 10.6, 13.4, and 16.4%, respectively, and Emax was 89.3%. Overall, faropenem demonstrated a high level of activity against B

  13. Decreased glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta levels and related physiological changes in Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin-treated macrophages.

    PubMed

    Tucker, Amy E; Salles, Isabelle I; Voth, Daniel E; Ortiz-Leduc, William; Wang, Han; Dozmorov, Igor; Centola, Michael; Ballard, Jimmy D

    2003-08-01

    The lethal factor (LF) component of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin (LeTx) cleaves mitogen activated protein kinase kinases (MAPKKs) in a variety of different cell types, yet only macrophages are rapidly killed by this toxin. The reason for this selective killing is unclear, but suggests other factors may also be involved in LeTx intoxication. In the current study, DNA membrane arrays were used to identify broad changes in macrophage physiology after treatment with LeTx. Expression of genes regulated by MAPKK activity did not change significantly, yet a series of genes under glycogen synthase kinase-3-beta (GSK-3beta) regulation changed expression following LeTx treatment. Correlating with these transcriptional changes GSK-3beta was found to be below detectable levels in toxin-treated cells and an inhibitor of GSK-3beta, LiCl, sensitized resistant IC-21 macrophages to LeTx. In addition, zebrafish embryos treated with LeTx showed signs of delayed pigmentation and cardiac hypertrophy; both processes are subject to regulation by GSK-3beta. A putative compensatory response to loss of GSK-3beta was indicated by differential expression of three motor proteins following toxin treatment and Kif1C, a motor protein involved in sensitivity to LeTx, increased expression in toxin-sensitive cells yet decreased in resistant cells following toxin treatment. Differential expression of microtubule-associating proteins and a decrease in the level of cellular tubulin were detected in LeTx-treated cells, both of which can result from loss of GSK-3beta activity. These data provide new information on LeTx's overall influence on macrophage physiology and suggest loss of GSK-3beta contributes to cytotoxicity. PMID:12864812

  14. Does Bacillus anthracis Lethal Toxin Directly Depress Myocardial Function? A Review of Clinical Cases and Preclinical Studies.

    PubMed

    Suffredini, Dante A; Sampath-Kumar, Hanish; Li, Yan; Ohanjanian, Lernik; Remy, Kenneth E; Cui, Xizhong; Eichacker, Peter Q

    2015-12-01

    The US outbreak of B.anthracis infection in 2001 and subsequent cases in the US and Europe demonstrate that anthrax is a continuing risk for the developed world. While several bacterial components contribute to the pathogenesis of B. anthracis, production of lethal toxin (LT) is strongly associated with the development of hypotension and lethality. However, the mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular instability LT produces are unclear. Some evidence suggests that LT causes shock by impairing the peripheral vasculature, effects consistent with the substantial extravasation of fluid in patients dying with B. anthracis. Other data suggests that LT directly depresses myocardial function. However a clinical correlate for this latter possibility is less evident since functional studies and post-mortem examination in patients demonstrate absent or minimal cardiac changes. The purposes of this review were to first present clinical studies of cardiac functional and histologic pathology with B. anthracis infection and to then examine in vivo, in vitro, and ex vivo preclinical studies of LT's myocardial effects. Together, these data suggest that it is unclear whether that LT directly depresses cardiac function. This question is important for the clinical management and development of new therapies for anthrax and efforts should continue to be made to answer it. PMID:26703730

  15. Does Bacillus anthracis Lethal Toxin Directly Depress Myocardial Function? A Review of Clinical Cases and Preclinical Studies

    PubMed Central

    Suffredini, Dante A.; Sampath-Kumar, Hanish; Li, Yan; Ohanjanian, Lernik; Remy, Kenneth E.; Cui, Xizhong; Eichacker, Peter Q.

    2015-01-01

    The US outbreak of B.anthracis infection in 2001 and subsequent cases in the US and Europe demonstrate that anthrax is a continuing risk for the developed world. While several bacterial components contribute to the pathogenesis of B. anthracis, production of lethal toxin (LT) is strongly associated with the development of hypotension and lethality. However, the mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular instability LT produces are unclear. Some evidence suggests that LT causes shock by impairing the peripheral vasculature, effects consistent with the substantial extravasation of fluid in patients dying with B. anthracis. Other data suggests that LT directly depresses myocardial function. However a clinical correlate for this latter possibility is less evident since functional studies and post-mortem examination in patients demonstrate absent or minimal cardiac changes. The purposes of this review were to first present clinical studies of cardiac functional and histologic pathology with B. anthracis infection and to then examine in vivo, in vitro, and ex vivo preclinical studies of LT’s myocardial effects. Together, these data suggest that it is unclear whether that LT directly depresses cardiac function. This question is important for the clinical management and development of new therapies for anthrax and efforts should continue to be made to answer it. PMID:26703730

  16. Internalization and processing of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin by toxin-sensitive and -resistant cells.

    PubMed

    Singh, Y; Leppla, S H; Bhatnagar, R; Friedlander, A M

    1989-07-01

    Anthrax lethal toxin consists of two separate proteins, protective antigen and lethal factor (LF). Certain macrophages and a mouse macrophage-like cell line, J774A.1, are lysed by low concentrations of lethal toxin. In contrast, another macrophage cell line, IC-21, and all other cell types tested were resistant to this toxin. To discover the basis for this difference, each step in the intoxication process was examined. No differences between sensitive and resistant cells were found in receptor binding or proteolytic activation of protective antigen, steps that are required prior to LF binding. To determine whether resistance results from a defect in translocation to the cytosol, we introduced LF into J774A.1 and IC-21 cells and a nonmacrophage cell line (L6 myoblast) by osmotic lysis of pinocytic vesicles. Only J774A.1 cells were lysed; no effect was observed in IC-21 and L6 cells. These results suggest that resistant cells either lack the intracellular target of LF or fail to process LF to an active form. The relatively low potency of LF introduced into J774A.1 cells by osmotic lysis suggests that protective antigen may also be required at a stage subsequent to endocytosis. PMID:2500434

  17. Toxin-induced resistance in Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin-treated macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Salles, Isabelle I.; Tucker, Amy E.; Voth, Daniel E.; Ballard, Jimmy D.

    2003-01-01

    In the current study, we show that macrophages adaptively resist anthrax lethal toxin (LT) through a toxin-activated process termed toxin-induced resistance (TIR). TIR was triggered by pretreatment of RAW 264.7 or J774A.1 macrophages with a low dose of LT for at least 6 h, which resulted in resistance to high doses of LT for 96 h. Activation of TIR required functional toxin, because LT subunits, mutants, and heat-inactivated toxin were unable to trigger resistance. TIR macrophages were not altered in toxin receptor levels or cell cycle profiles. Treatment of TIR macrophages with high doses of LT resulted in a sustained decline in full-length mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 2, a known target of lethal factor, and a marked reduction in diphosphorylated extracellular response kinases 1,2 for 24 h. However, despite the sustained loss of full-length mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 2, by 48 h, TIR macrophages regained diphosphorylated extracellular response kinases 1,2, suggesting an adaptation led to recovery of this signaling pathway. TIR macrophages were also able to maintain normal levels of ubiquitinylated proteins, whereas sensitive cells show a rapid reduction in ubiquitin-modified proteins before cell death, indicating a possible alteration in proteasome activity contributed to resistance. These results provide a paradigm for toxin-cell interactions and suggest macrophages are capable of adapting to and tolerating toxic doses of LT. PMID:14519843

  18. Bacillus anthracis Cell Wall Peptidoglycan but Not Lethal or Edema Toxins Produces Changes Consistent With Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation in a Rat Model

    PubMed Central

    Qiu, Ping; Li, Yan; Shiloach, Joseph; Cui, Xizhong; Sun, Junfeng; Trinh, Loc; Kubler-Kielb, Joanna; Vinogradov, Evgeny; Mani, Haresh; Al-Hamad, Mariam; Fitz, Yvonne; Eichacker, Peter Q.

    2013-01-01

    Background. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) appears to be important in the pathogenesis of Bacillus anthracis infection, but its causes are unclear. Although lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET) could contribute, B. anthracis cell wall peptidoglycan (PGN), not the toxins, stimulates inflammatory responses associated with DIC. Methods and Results. To better understand the pathogenesis of DIC during anthrax, we compared the effects of 24-hour infusions of PGN, LT, ET, or diluent (control) on coagulation measures 6, 24, or 48 hours after infusion initiation in 135 rats. No control recipient died. Lethality rates (approximately 30%) did not differ among PGN, LT, and ET recipients (P = .78). Thirty-three of 35 deaths (94%) occurred between 6 and 24 hours after the start of challenge. Among challenge components, PGN most consistently altered coagulation measures. Compared with control at 6 hours, PGN decreased platelet and fibrinogen levels and increased prothrombin and activated partial thromboplastin times and tissue factor, tissue factor pathway inhibitor, protein C, plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI), and thrombin-antithrombin complex levels, whereas LT and ET only decreased the fibrinogen level or increased the PAI level (P ≤ .05). Nearly all effects associated with PGN infusion significantly differed from changes associated with toxin infusion (P ≤ .05 for all comparisons except for PAI level). Conclusion. DIC during B. anthracis infection may be related more to components such as PGN than to LT or ET. PMID:23737601

  19. Recombinant expression of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin components of Indian isolate in Escherichia coli and determination of its acute toxicity level in mouse model.

    PubMed

    Nagendra, Suryanarayana; Vanlalhmuaka; Verma, Sarika; Tuteja, Urmil; Thavachelvam, Kulanthaivel

    2015-12-15

    Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin (LeTx) is the principle factor responsible for toxaemia and anthrax related death. Lethal toxin consist of two proteins viz protective antigen (PA) and lethal factor which combines in a typical fashion similar to other toxins belonging to A-B toxin super family. The amount of LeTx required to kill a particular organism generally differs among strains owing to their geographical distributions and genetic variation. In the present study, we have cloned PA and LF genes from B. anthracis clinical isolate of Indian origin and expressed them in soluble form employing Escherichia coli expression system. Both the proteins were purified to near homogeneity level using Immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC). Further we have used equal ratio of both the proteins to form LeTx and determined its acute toxicity level in Balb/c mice by graphical method of Miller and Tainter. The LD50 value of LeTx by intravenous (i.v) route was found to be 0.97 ± 0.634 mg kg(-1) Balb/c mice. This study highlights the expression of recombinant LeTx from E. coli and assessing its acute toxicity level in experimental mouse model.

  20. Nitric oxide production contributes to Bacillus anthracis edema toxin-associated arterial hypotension and lethality: ex vivo and in vivo studies in the rat.

    PubMed

    Li, Yan; Cui, Xizhong; Xu, Wanying; Ohanjanian, Lernik; Sampath-Kumar, Hanish; Suffredini, Dante; Moayeri, Mahtab; Leppla, Stephen; Fitz, Yvonne; Eichacker, Peter Q

    2016-09-01

    We showed previously that Bacillus anthracis edema toxin (ET), comprised of protective antigen (PA) and edema factor (EF), inhibits phenylephrine (PE)-induced contraction in rat aortic rings and these effects are diminished in endothelial-denuded rings. Therefore, employing rat aortic ring and in vivo models, we tested the hypothesis that nitric oxide (NO) contributes to ET's arterial effects. Compared with rings challenged with PA alone, ET (PA + EF) reduced PE-stimulated maximal contractile force (MCF) and increased the PE concentration producing 50% MCF (EC50) (P < 0.0001). Compared with placebo, l-nitro-arginine methyl-ester (l-NAME), an NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor, reduced ET's effects on MCF and EC50 in patterns that approached or were significant (P = 0.06 and 0.03, respectively). In animals challenged with 24-h ET infusions, l-NAME (0.5 or 1.0 mg·kg(-1)·h(-1)) coadministration increased survival to 17 of 28 animals (60.7%) compared with 4 of 27 (14.8%) given placebo (P = 0.01). Animals receiving l-NAME but no ET all survived. Compared with PBS challenge, ET increased NO levels at 24 h and l-NAME decreased these increases (P < 0.0001). ET infusion decreased mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) in placebo and l-NAME-treated animals (P < 0.0001) but l-NAME reduced decreases in MAP with ET from 9 to 24 h (P = 0.03 for the time interaction). S-methyl-l-thiocitrulline, a selective neuronal NOS inhibitor, had effects in rings and, at a high dose in vivo models, comparable to l-NAME, whereas N'-[3-(aminomethyl)benzyl]-acetimidamide, a selective inducible NOS inhibitor, did not. NO production contributes to ET's arterial relaxant, hypotensive, and lethal effects in the rat. PMID:27448553

  1. Development of a Cell-Based Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Reporter for Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor Protease

    SciTech Connect

    Kimura, R H; Steenblock, E R; Camarero, J A

    2007-03-22

    We report the construction of a cell-based fluorescent reporter for anthrax lethal factor (LF) protease activity using the principle of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). This was accomplished by engineering an Escherichia coli cell line to express a genetically encoded FRET reporter and LF protease. Both proteins were encoded in two different expression plasmids under the control of different tightly controlled inducible promoters. The FRET-based reporter was designed to contain a LF recognition sequence flanked by the FRET pair formed by CyPet and YPet fluorescent proteins. The length of the linker between both fluorescent proteins was optimized using a flexible peptide linker containing several Gly-Gly-Ser repeats. Our results indicate that this FRET-based LF reporter was readily expressed in E. coli cells showing high levels of FRET in vivo in the absence of LF. The FRET signal, however, decreased 5 times after inducing LF expression in the same cell. These results suggest that this cell-based LF FRET reporter may be used to screen genetically encoded libraries in vivo against LF.

  2. Synthesis of Lipoteichoic Acids in Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Garufi, Gabriella; Hendrickx, Antoni P.; Beeri, Karen; Kern, Justin W.; Sharma, Anshika; Richter, Stefan G.; Schneewind, Olaf

    2012-01-01

    Lipoteichoic acid (LTA), a glycerol phosphate polymer, is a component of the envelope of Gram-positive bacteria that has hitherto not been identified in Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. LTA synthesis in Staphylococcus aureus and other microbes is catalyzed by the product of the ltaS gene, a membrane protein that polymerizes polyglycerol phosphate from phosphatidyl glycerol. Here we identified four ltaS homologues, designated ltaS1 to -4, in the genome of Bacillus anthracis. Polyglycerol phosphate-specific monoclonal antibodies were used to detect LTA in the envelope of B. anthracis strain Sterne (pXO1+ pXO2−) vegetative forms. B. anthracis mutants lacking ltaS1, ltaS2, ltaS3, or ltaS4 did not display defects in growth or LTA synthesis. In contrast, B. anthracis strains lacking both ltaS1 and ltaS2 were unable to synthesize LTA and exhibited reduced viability, altered envelope morphology, aberrant separation of vegetative forms, and decreased sporulation efficiency. Expression of ltaS1 or ltaS2 alone in B. anthracis as well as in other microbes was sufficient for polyglycerol phosphate synthesis. Thus, similar to S. aureus, B. anthracis employs LtaS enzymes to synthesize LTA, an envelope component that promotes bacterial growth and cell division. PMID:22685279

  3. Differentiation of Bacillus anthracis and other Bacillus species by lectins.

    PubMed Central

    Cole, H B; Ezzell, J W; Keller, K F; Doyle, R J

    1984-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis was agglutinated by several lectins, including those from Griffonia simplicifolia, Glycine max, Abrus precatorius, and Ricinus communis. Some strains of Bacillus cereus var. mycoides (B. mycoides) were strongly reactive with the lectin from Helix pomatia and weakly reactive with the G. max lectin. The differential interactions between Bacillus species and lectins afforded a means of distinguishing B. anthracis from other bacilli. B. cereus strains exhibited heterogeneity with respect to agglutination patterns by lectins but could readily be differentiated from B. anthracis and the related B. mycoides. Spores of B. anthracis and B. mycoides retained lectin receptors, although the heating of spores or vegetative cells at 100 degrees C resulted in a decrease in their ability to be specifically agglutinated. Fluorescein-conjugated lectin of G. max stained vegetative cells of B. anthracis uniformly, suggesting that the distribution of lectin receptors was continuous over the entire cellular surface. B. anthracis cells grown under conditions to promote the production of capsular poly(D-glutamyl peptide) were also readily agglutinated by the lectins, suggesting that the lectin reactive sites penetrate the polypeptide layer. Trypsin, subtilisin, lysozyme, and mutanolysin did not modify the reactivity of B. anthracis with the G. max agglutinin, although the same enzymes markedly diminished the interaction between the lectin and B. mycoides. Because the lectins which interact with B. anthracis are specific for alpha-D-galactose or 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-alpha-D-galactose residues, it is likely that the bacteria possess cell surface polymers which contain these sugars. Lectins may prove useful in the laboratory identification of B. anthracis and possibly other pathogenic Bacillus species, such as B. cereus. Images PMID:6418761

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Bacillus anthracis diversity in Kruger National Park.

    PubMed

    Smith, K L; DeVos, V; Bryden, H; Price, L B; Hugh-Jones, M E; Keim, P

    2000-10-01

    The Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, has a recorded history of periodic anthrax epidemics causing widespread disease among wild animals. Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax, a disease primarily affecting ungulate herbivores. Worldwide there is little diversity among B. anthracis isolates, but examination of variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) loci has identified six major clones, with the most dissimilar types split into the A and B branches. Both the A and B types are found in southern Africa, giving this region the greatest genetic diversity of B. anthracis worldwide. Consequently, southern Africa has been hypothesized to be the geographic origin of B. anthracis. In this study, we identify the genotypic types of 98 KNP B. anthracis isolates using multiple-locus VNTR analysis. Two major types are evident, the A branch and the B branch. The spatial and temporal distribution of the different genotypes indicates that anthrax epidemic foci are independent, though correlated through environmental cues. Kruger B isolates were found on significantly higher-calcium and higher-pH soils than were Kruger type A. This relationship between genotype and soil chemistry may be due to adaptive differences among divergent anthrax strains. While this association may be simply fortuitous, adaptation of A types to diverse environmental conditions is consistent with their greater geographic dispersal and genetic dissimilarity.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. A selective chromogenic agar that distinguishes Bacillus anthracis from Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis.

    PubMed

    Juergensmeyer, Margaret A; Gingras, Bruce A; Restaino, Lawrence; Frampton, Elon W

    2006-08-01

    A selective and differential plating medium, R & F anthracis chromogenic agar (ACA), has been developed for isolating and identifying presumptive colonies of Bacillus anthracis. ACA contains the chromogenic substrate 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indoxyl-choline phosphate that upon hydrolysis yields teal (blue green) colonies indicating the presence of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) activity. Among seven Bacillus species tested on ACA, only members of the Bacillus cereus group (B. anthracis, B. cereus, and B. thuringiensis) produced teal colonies (PC-PLC positive) having cream rings. Examination of colony morphology in 18 pure culture strains of B. anthracis (15 ATCC strains plus AMES-1-RIID, ANR-1, and AMED-RIID), with one exception, required 48 h at 35 to 37 degrees C for significant color production, whereas only 24 h was required for B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. This differential rate of PC-PLC synthesis in B. anthracis (due to the truncated plcR gene and PlcR regulator in B. anthracis) allowed for the rapid differentiation on ACA of presumptive colonies of B. anthracis from B. cereus and B. thuringiensis in both pure and mixed cultures. Effective recovery of B. anthracis from a variety of matrices having both high (soil and sewage) and low microbial backgrounds (cloth, paper, and blood) spiked with B. anthracis ANR-1 spores suggests the probable utility of ACA plating for B. anthracis recovery in a diversity of applications.

  10. Evaluation of the ability of N-terminal fragment of lethal factor of Bacillus anthracis for delivery of Mycobacterium T cell antigen ESAT-6 into cytosol of antigen presenting cells to elicit effective cytotoxic T lymphocyte response

    SciTech Connect

    Chandra, Subhash; Kaur, Manpreet; Midha, Shuchi; Bhatnagar, Rakesh . E-mail: rakbhat01@yahoo.com; Banerjee-Bhatnagar, Nirupama . E-mail: nirupama@icgeb.res.in

    2006-12-22

    We report the ability of N-terminal fragment of lethal factor of Bacillus anthracis to deliver genetically fused ESAT-6 (early secretory antigen target), a potent T cell antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, into cytosol to elicit Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response. In vitro Th1 cytokines data and CTL assay proved that efficient delivery of LFn.ESAT-6 occurs in cytosol, in the presence of protective antigen (PA), and leads to generation of effective CTL response. Since CTL response is essential for protection against intracellular pathogens and, it is well known that only single T cell epitope or single antigenic protein is not sufficient to elicit protective CTL response due to variation or polymorphism in MHC-I alleles among the individuals, we suggest that as a fusion protein LFn can be used to deliver multiepitopes of T cells or multiproteins which can generate effective CTLs against intracellular pathogens like M. tuberculosis. It can be used to enhance the protective efficacy of BCG vaccine.

  11. Benchmark dose analysis for Bacillus anthracis inhalation exposures in the nonhuman primate.

    PubMed

    Taft, Sarah C; Hines, Stephanie A

    2012-10-01

    There is considerable variability in the published lethality values for inhalation exposures of Bacillus anthracis. The lack of consensus on an acceptable dose-response relationship poses a significant challenge in the development of risk-based management approaches for use following a terrorist release of B. anthracis spores. This article reviewed available B. anthracis dose-response modeling and literature for the nonhuman primate, evaluated the use of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Benchmark Dose Software (BMDS) to fit mathematical dose-response models to these data, and reported results of the benchmark dose analysis of suitable data sets. The BMDS was found to be a useful tool to evaluate dose-response relationships in microbial data, including that from B. anthracis exposure. An evaluation of the sources of variability identified in the published lethality data and the corresponding BMDS-derived lethality values found that varying levels of physical characterization of the spore product, differing receptor-specific exposure assumptions, choice of dose metrics, and the selected statistical methods all contributed to differences in lethality estimates. Recognition of these contributors to variability could ultimately facilitate agreement on a B. anthracis dose-response relationship through provision of a common description of necessary study considerations for acceptable dose-response data sets.

  12. Benchmark dose analysis for Bacillus anthracis inhalation exposures in the nonhuman primate.

    PubMed

    Taft, Sarah C; Hines, Stephanie A

    2012-10-01

    There is considerable variability in the published lethality values for inhalation exposures of Bacillus anthracis. The lack of consensus on an acceptable dose-response relationship poses a significant challenge in the development of risk-based management approaches for use following a terrorist release of B. anthracis spores. This article reviewed available B. anthracis dose-response modeling and literature for the nonhuman primate, evaluated the use of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Benchmark Dose Software (BMDS) to fit mathematical dose-response models to these data, and reported results of the benchmark dose analysis of suitable data sets. The BMDS was found to be a useful tool to evaluate dose-response relationships in microbial data, including that from B. anthracis exposure. An evaluation of the sources of variability identified in the published lethality data and the corresponding BMDS-derived lethality values found that varying levels of physical characterization of the spore product, differing receptor-specific exposure assumptions, choice of dose metrics, and the selected statistical methods all contributed to differences in lethality estimates. Recognition of these contributors to variability could ultimately facilitate agreement on a B. anthracis dose-response relationship through provision of a common description of necessary study considerations for acceptable dose-response data sets. PMID:22469218

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. [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

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. Differences in susceptibility of inbred mice to Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed Central

    Welkos, S L; Keener, T J; Gibbs, P H

    1986-01-01

    Animal species differ in their resistance both to infection by Bacillus anthracis and to anthrax toxin. A mouse model was developed to study the basis of the host differences and the pathogenesis of infection. When mice were infected with the virulent B. anthracis strain Vollum 1B, low 50% lethal dose (LD50) values (5 to 30 spores) were found for all 10 strains of inbred mice tested. However, analysis of time-to-death data revealed significant differences among the strains, which could be divided into three groups: most susceptible (A/J and DBA/2J); least susceptible (CBA/J, BALB/cJ, and C57BR/cdJ); and intermediate (the remaining five strains). In contrast, the mice were distinctly susceptible or resistant to lethal infection by the toxigenic, nonencapsulated Sterne vaccine strain. The LD50 for the susceptible A/J and DBA/2J mice was approximately 10(3) spores of the Sterne strain, whereas the remaining eight relatively resistant strains were killed only by 10(6) or more spores. F1 hybrid and backcross studies suggested that resistance to the Sterne strain is determined by a single dominant gene or gene complex. Mice lethally infected with B. anthracis showed an acute course of infection, characterized by extensive gelatinous edema and large concentrations of bacilli in the blood and organs (e.g., 10(9) CFU/g of spleen). The susceptibility of A/J and CBA/J mice to intravenously injected anthrax toxin components appeared to differ from their susceptibility to infection. The toxin LD50 values for both strains were similar. However, CBA/J mice died sooner than did A/J mice, with mean time to death of 0.9 and 3.7 days, respectively, in mice given 4 LD50 of toxin. The mouse model appears to be useful in studies on host resistance to anthrax and on the pathogenesis of the infection. PMID:3081444

  1. Phenotypic and functional characterization of Bacillus anthracis biofilms.

    PubMed

    Lee, Keehoon; Costerton, J W; Ravel, Jacques; Auerbach, Raymond K; Wagner, David M; Keim, Paul; Leid, Jeff G

    2007-06-01

    Biofilms, communities of micro-organisms attached to a surface, are responsible for many chronic diseases and are often associated with environmental reservoirs or lifestyles. Bacillus anthracis is a Gram-positive, endospore-forming bacterium and is the aetiological agent of pulmonary, gastrointestinal and cutaneous anthrax. Anthrax infections are part of the natural lifecycle of many ruminants in North America, including cattle and bison, and B. anthracis is thought to be a central part of this ecosystem. However, in endemic areas in which humans and livestock interact, chronic cases of cutaneous anthrax are commonly reported. This suggests that biofilms of B. anthracis exist in the environment and are part of the ecology associated with its lifecycle. Currently, there are few data that account for the importance of the biofilm mode of life in B. anthracis, yet biofilms have been characterized in other pathogenic and non-pathogenic Bacillus species, including Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. This study investigated the phenotypic and functional role of biofilms in B. anthracis. The results demonstrate that B. anthracis readily forms biofilms which are inherently resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics, and that antibiotic resistance is not solely the function of sporulation.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Genetic Characterization of Bacillus anthracis 17 JB strain

    PubMed Central

    Seyed-Mohamadi, Sakineh; Moradi Bidhendi, Soheila; Tadayon, Keyvan; Ghaderi, Rainak

    2015-01-01

    Background and Objectives: Bacillus anthracis is one of the most homogenous bacteria ever described. Some level of diversity. Bacillus anthracis 17JB is a laboratory strain It is broadly used as a challenge strain in guinea pigs for potency test of anthrax vaccine. Material and Methods: This work describes genetic characterization of B. anthracis 17 JB strain using the SNPs and MLVA genotyping. Results and Conclusion: In SNPs typing, the originally French 17JB strain represented the A.Br. 008/009 subgroup. In Levy's genotyping method, 843, 451 and 864 bp long fragments were identified at AA03, AJ03 and AA07 loci, respectively. In the vaccine manufacturer perspective these findings are much valuable on their own account, but similar research is required to extend molecular knowledge of B. anthracis epidemiology in Persia. PMID:26668705

  5. Mechanism of Lethal Toxin Neutralization by a Human Monoclonal Antibody Specific for the PA20 Region of Bacillus anthracis Protective Antigen

    PubMed Central

    Reason, Donald; Liberato, Justine; Sun, Jinying; Camacho, Jessica; Zhou, Jianhui

    2011-01-01

    The primary immunogenic component of the currently approved anthrax vaccine is the protective antigen (PA) unit of the binary toxin system. PA-specific antibodies neutralize anthrax toxins and protect against infection. Recent research has determined that in humans, only antibodies specific for particular determinants are capable of effecting toxin neutralization, and that the neutralizing epitopes recognized by these antibodies are distributed throughout the PA monomer. The mechanisms by which the majority of these epitopes effect neutralization remain unknown. In this report we investigate the process by which a human monoclonal antibody specific for the amino-terminal domain of PA neutralizes lethal toxin in an in vitro assay of cytotoxicity, and find that it neutralizes LT by blocking the requisite cleavage of the amino-terminal 20 kD portion of the molecule (PA20) from the remainder of the PA monomer. We also demonstrate that the epitope recognized by this human monoclonal does not encompass the 166RKKR169 furin recognition sequence in domain 1 of PA. PMID:22069752

  6. 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...

  7. 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

  8. Growth characteristics of virulent Bacillus anthracis and potential surrogate strains.

    PubMed

    De Siano, Tara; Padhi, Sally; Schaffner, Donald W; Montville, Thomas J

    2006-07-01

    The objectives of this study were to compare generation and lag times of virulent Bacillus anthracis strains with those of other Bacillus strains, to identify possible surrogates for growth studies, and to determine if the B. cereus module of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP) had predictive value for B. anthracis. Growth characteristics of B. anthracis, B. cereus, B. mycoides, and B. subtilis strains in brain heart infusion broth at pH 6.5, 6.0, and 5.5 were determined by absorbance measurements. Growth curves of B. anthracis Sterne and B. cereus strains appeared similar, and the generation times for strain Sterne fell within the PMP's 95% confidence interval for B. cereus. However, the virulent B. anthracis strains Vollum and Pasteur had shorter generation times than the avirulent Sterne strain and most other surrogates and were lower than the PMP's 95% confidence interval for B. cereus. Growth curves of B. cereus ATCC 9818 and B. subtilis ATCC 6633 were more similar to those of virulent B. anthracis strains, but all potential surrogates had significantly different generation times and lag times under some conditions.

  9. Bacillus anthracis produces membrane-derived vesicles containing biologically active toxins

    PubMed Central

    Rivera, Johanna; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Nakouzi, Antonio S.; Frases, Susana; Nicola, André; Casadevall, Arturo

    2010-01-01

    Extracellular vesicle production is a ubiquitous process in Gram-negative bacteria, but little is known about such process in Gram-positive bacteria. We report the isolation of extracellular vesicles from the supernatants of Bacillus anthracis, a Gram-positive bacillus that is a powerful agent for biological warfare. B. anthracis vesicles formed at the outer layer of the bacterial cell had double-membrane spheres and ranged from 50 to 150 nm in diameter. Immunoelectron microscopy with mAbs to protective antigen, lethal factor, edema toxin, and anthrolysin revealed toxin components and anthrolysin in vesicles, with some vesicles containing more than one toxin component. Toxin-containing vesicles were also visualized inside B. anthracis-infected macrophages. ELISA and immunoblot analysis of vesicle preparations confirmed the presence of B. anthracis toxin components. A mAb to protective antigen protected macrophages against vesicles from an anthrolysin-deficient strain, but not against vesicles from Sterne 34F2 and Sterne δT strains, consistent with the notion that vesicles delivered both toxin and anthrolysin to host cells. Vesicles were immunogenic in BALB/c mice, which produced a robust IgM response to toxin components. Furthermore, vesicle-immunized mice lived significantly longer than controls after B. anthracis challenge. Our results indicate that toxin secretion in B. anthracis is, at least, partially vesicle-associated, thus allowing concentrated delivery of toxin components to target host cells, a mechanism that may increase toxin potency. Our observations may have important implications for the design of vaccines, for passive antibody strategies, and provide a previously unexplored system for studying secretory pathways in Gram-positive bacteria. PMID:20956325

  10. Bacillus anthracis produces membrane-derived vesicles containing biologically active toxins.

    PubMed

    Rivera, Johanna; Cordero, Radames J B; Nakouzi, Antonio S; Frases, Susana; Nicola, André; Casadevall, Arturo

    2010-11-01

    Extracellular vesicle production is a ubiquitous process in Gram-negative bacteria, but little is known about such process in Gram-positive bacteria. We report the isolation of extracellular vesicles from the supernatants of Bacillus anthracis, a Gram-positive bacillus that is a powerful agent for biological warfare. B. anthracis vesicles formed at the outer layer of the bacterial cell had double-membrane spheres and ranged from 50 to 150 nm in diameter. Immunoelectron microscopy with mAbs to protective antigen, lethal factor, edema toxin, and anthrolysin revealed toxin components and anthrolysin in vesicles, with some vesicles containing more than one toxin component. Toxin-containing vesicles were also visualized inside B. anthracis-infected macrophages. ELISA and immunoblot analysis of vesicle preparations confirmed the presence of B. anthracis toxin components. A mAb to protective antigen protected macrophages against vesicles from an anthrolysin-deficient strain, but not against vesicles from Sterne 34F2 and Sterne δT strains, consistent with the notion that vesicles delivered both toxin and anthrolysin to host cells. Vesicles were immunogenic in BALB/c mice, which produced a robust IgM response to toxin components. Furthermore, vesicle-immunized mice lived significantly longer than controls after B. anthracis challenge. Our results indicate that toxin secretion in B. anthracis is, at least, partially vesicle-associated, thus allowing concentrated delivery of toxin components to target host cells, a mechanism that may increase toxin potency. Our observations may have important implications for the design of vaccines, for passive antibody strategies, and provide a previously unexplored system for studying secretory pathways in Gram-positive bacteria.

  11. Detection of Bacillus anthracis DNA in complex soil and air samples using next-generation sequencing.

    PubMed

    Be, Nicholas A; Thissen, James B; Gardner, Shea N; McLoughlin, Kevin S; Fofanov, Viacheslav Y; Koshinsky, Heather; Ellingson, Sally R; Brettin, Thomas S; Jackson, Paul J; Jaing, Crystal J

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis is the potentially lethal etiologic agent of anthrax disease, and is a significant concern in the realm of biodefense. One of the cornerstones of an effective biodefense strategy is the ability to detect infectious agents with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity in the context of a complex sample background. The nature of the B. anthracis genome, however, renders specific detection difficult, due to close homology with B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. We therefore elected to determine the efficacy of next-generation sequencing analysis and microarrays for detection of B. anthracis in an environmental background. We applied next-generation sequencing to titrated genome copy numbers of B. anthracis in the presence of background nucleic acid extracted from aerosol and soil samples. We found next-generation sequencing to be capable of detecting as few as 10 genomic equivalents of B. anthracis DNA per nanogram of background nucleic acid. Detection was accomplished by mapping reads to either a defined subset of reference genomes or to the full GenBank database. Moreover, sequence data obtained from B. anthracis could be reliably distinguished from sequence data mapping to either B. cereus or B. thuringiensis. We also demonstrated the efficacy of a microbial census microarray in detecting B. anthracis in the same samples, representing a cost-effective and high-throughput approach, complementary to next-generation sequencing. Our results, in combination with the capacity of sequencing for providing insights into the genomic characteristics of complex and novel organisms, suggest that these platforms should be considered important components of a biosurveillance strategy.

  12. Proteomic profiling and identification of immunodominant spore antigens of Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis.

    PubMed

    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

    2006-09-01

    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, Delta-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.

  13. Detection of the Bacillus anthracis gyrA Gene by Using a Minor Groove Binder Probe

    PubMed Central

    Hurtle, William; Bode, Elizabeth; Kulesh, David A.; Kaplan, Rebecca Susan; Garrison, Jeff; Bridge, Deanna; House, Michelle; Frye, Melissa S.; Loveless, Bonnie; Norwood, David

    2004-01-01

    Identification of chromosomal markers for rapid detection of Bacillus anthracis is difficult because significant chromosomal homology exists among B. anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis. We evaluated the bacterial gyrA gene as a potential chromosomal marker for B. anthracis. A real-time PCR assay was developed for the detection of B. anthracis. After analysis of the unique nucleotide sequence of the B. anthracis gyrA gene, a fluorescent 3′ minor groove binding probe was tested with 171 organisms from 29 genera of bacteria, including 102 Bacillus strains. The assay was found to be specific for all 43 strains of B. anthracis tested. In addition, a test panel of 105 samples was analyzed to evaluate the potential diagnostic capability of the assay. The assay showed 100% specificity, demonstrating the usefulness of the gyrA gene as a specific chromosomal marker for B. anthracis. PMID:14715750

  14. Fast and Sensitive Detection of Bacillus anthracis Spores by Immunoassay

    PubMed Central

    Volland, Hervé; Dano, Julie; Lamourette, Patricia; Sylvestre, Patricia; Mock, Michèle; Créminon, Christophe

    2012-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis is one of the most dangerous potential biological weapons, and it is essential to develop a rapid and simple method to detect B. anthracis spores in environmental samples. The immunoassay is a rapid and easy-to-use method for the detection of B. anthracis by means of antibodies directed against surface spore antigens. With this objective in view, we have produced a panel of monoclonal antibodies against B. anthracis and developed colorimetric and electrochemiluminescence (ECL) immunoassays. Using Meso Scale Discovery ECL technology, which is based on electrochemiluminescence (ECL) detection utilizing a sulfo-Tag label that emits light upon electrochemical stimulation (using a dedicated ECL plate reader, an electrical current is placed across the microplate with electrodes integrated into the bottom of the plate, resulting in a series of electrically induced reactions leading to a luminescent signal), a detection limit ranging between 0.3 × 103 and 103 CFU/ml (i.e., 30 to 100 spores per test), depending on the B. anthracis strain assayed, was achieved. In complex matrices (5 mg/ml of soil or simulated powder), the detection level (without any sample purification or concentration) was never altered more than 3-fold compared with the results obtained in phosphate-buffered saline. PMID:22773632

  15. Modulation of the Bacillus anthracis Secretome by the Immune Inhibitor A1 Protease

    PubMed Central

    Pflughoeft, Kathryn J.; Swick, Michelle C.; Engler, David A.; Yeo, Hye-Jeong

    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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Bacillus cereus G9241 makes anthrax toxin and capsule like highly virulent B. anthracis Ames but behaves like attenuated toxigenic nonencapsulated B. anthracis Sterne in rabbits and mice.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Melissa K; Vergis, James M; Alem, Farhang; Palmer, John R; Keane-Myers, Andrea M; Brahmbhatt, Trupti N; Ventura, Christy L; O'Brien, Alison D

    2011-08-01

    Bacillus cereus G9241 was isolated from a welder with a pulmonary anthrax-like illness. The organism contains two megaplasmids, pBCXO1 and pBC218. These plasmids are analogous to the Bacillus anthracis Ames plasmids pXO1 and pXO2 that encode anthrax toxins and capsule, respectively. Here we evaluated the virulence of B. cereus G9241 as well as the contributions of pBCXO1 and pBC218 to virulence. B. cereus G9241 was avirulent in New Zealand rabbits after subcutaneous inoculation and attenuated 100-fold compared to the published 50% lethal dose (LD(50)) values for B. anthracis Ames after aerosol inoculation. A/J and C57BL/6J mice were comparably susceptible to B. cereus G9241 by both subcutaneous and intranasal routes of infection. However, the LD(50)s for B. cereus G9241 in both mouse strains were markedly higher than those reported for B. anthracis Ames and more like those of the toxigenic but nonencapsulated B. anthracis Sterne. Furthermore, B. cereus G9241 spores could germinate and disseminate after intranasal inoculation into A/J mice, as indicated by the presence of vegetative cells in the spleen and blood of animals 48 h after infection. Lastly, B. cereus G9241 derivatives cured of one or both megaplasmids were highly attenuated in A/J mice. We conclude that the presence of the toxin- and capsule-encoding plasmids pBCXO1 and pBC218 in B. cereus G9241 alone is insufficient to render the strain as virulent as B. anthracis Ames. However, like B. anthracis, full virulence of B. cereus G9241 for mice requires the presence of both plasmids.

  3. Novel and Unique Diagnostic Biomarkers for Bacillus anthracis Infection▿

    PubMed Central

    Sela-Abramovich, Sagit; Chitlaru, Theodor; Gat, Orit; Grosfeld, Haim; Cohen, Ofer; Shafferman, Avigdor

    2009-01-01

    A search for bacterium-specific biomarkers in peripheral blood following infection with Bacillus anthracis was carried out with rabbits, using a battery of specific antibodies generated by DNA vaccination against 10 preselected highly immunogenic bacterial antigens which were identified previously by a genomic/proteomic/serologic screen of the B. anthracis secretome. Detection of infection biomarkers in the circulation of infected rabbits could be achieved only after removal of highly abundant serum proteins by chromatography using a random-ligand affinity column. Besides the toxin component protective antigen, the following three secreted proteins were detected in the circulation of infected animals: the chaperone and protease HtrA (BA3660), an NlpC/P60 endopeptidase (BA1952), and a protein of unknown function harboring two SH3 (Src homology 3) domains (BA0796). The three proteins could be detected in plasma samples from infected animals exhibiting 103 to 105 CFU/ml blood and also in standard blood cultures at 3 to 6 h post-bacterial inoculation at a bacteremic level as low as 103 CFU/ml. Furthermore, the three biomarkers appear to be present only in the secretome of B. anthracis, not in those of the related pathogens B. thuringiensis and B. cereus. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of direct detection of B. anthracis-specific proteins, other than the toxin components, in the circulation of infected animals. PMID:19648366

  4. Structure of isochorismate synthase DhbC from Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Domagalski, M. J.; Tkaczuk, K. L.; Chruszcz, M.; Skarina, T.; Onopriyenko, O.; Cymborowski, M.; Grabowski, M.; Savchenko, A.; Minor, W.

    2013-01-01

    The isochorismate synthase DhbC from Bacillus anthracis is essential for the biosynthesis of the siderophore bacillibactin by this pathogenic bacterium. The structure of the selenomethionine-substituted protein was determined to 2.4 Å resolution using single-wavelength anomalous diffraction. B. anthracis DhbC bears the strongest resemblance to the Escherichia coli isochorismate synthase EntC, which is involved in the biosynthesis of another siderophore, namely enterobactin. Both proteins adopt the characteristic fold of other chorismate-utilizing enzymes, which are involved in the biosynthesis of various products, including siderophores, menaquinone and tryptophan. The conservation of the active-site residues, as well as their spatial arrangement, suggests that these enzymes share a common Mg2+-dependent catalytic mechanism. PMID:23989140

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Nanomechanical Characterization of Bacillus anthracis Spores by Atomic Force Microscopy

    PubMed Central

    Burggraf, Larry W.; Xing, Yun

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The study of structures and properties of bacterial spores is important to understanding spore formation and biological responses to environmental stresses. While significant progress has been made over the years in elucidating the multilayer architecture of spores, the mechanical properties of the spore interior are not known. Here, we present a thermal atomic force microscopy (AFM) study of the nanomechanical properties of internal structures of Bacillus anthracis spores. We developed a nanosurgical sectioning method in which a stiff diamond AFM tip was used to cut an individual spore, exposing its internal structure, and a soft AFM tip was used to image and characterize the spore interior on the nanometer scale. We observed that the elastic modulus and adhesion force, including their thermal responses at elevated temperatures, varied significantly in different regions of the spore section. Our AFM images indicated that the peptidoglycan (PG) cortex of Bacillus anthracis spores consisted of rod-like nanometer-sized structures that are oriented in the direction perpendicular to the spore surface. Our findings may shed light on the spore architecture and properties. IMPORTANCE A nanosurgical AFM method was developed that can be used to probe the structure and properties of the spore interior. The previously unknown ultrastructure of the PG cortex of Bacillus anthracis spores was observed to consist of nanometer-sized rod-like structures that are oriented in the direction perpendicular to the spore surface. The variations in the nanomechanical properties of the spore section were largely correlated with its chemical composition. Different components of the spore materials showed different thermal responses at elevated temperatures. PMID:26969703

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Setting risk-informed environmental standards for Bacillus anthracis spores.

    PubMed

    Hong, Tao; Gurian, Patrick L; Ward, Nicholas F Dudley

    2010-10-01

    In many cases, human health risk from biological agents is associated with aerosol exposures. Because air concentrations decline rapidly after a release, it may be necessary to use concentrations found in other environmental media to infer future or past aerosol exposures. This article presents an approach for linking environmental concentrations of Bacillus. anthracis (B. anthracis) spores on walls, floors, ventilation system filters, and in human nasal passages with human health risk from exposure to B. anthracis spores. This approach is then used to calculate example values of risk-informed concentration standards for both retrospective risk mitigation (e.g., prophylactic antibiotics) and prospective risk mitigation (e.g., environmental clean up and reoccupancy). A large number of assumptions are required to calculate these values, and the resulting values have large uncertainties associated with them. The values calculated here suggest that documenting compliance with risks in the range of 10(-4) to 10(-6) would be challenging for small diameter (respirable) spore particles. For less stringent risk targets and for releases of larger diameter particles (which are less respirable and hence less hazardous), environmental sampling would be more promising.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Detection and fate of Bacillus anthracis (Sterne) vegetative cells and spores added to bulk tank milk.

    PubMed

    Perdue, Michael L; Karns, Jeff; Higgins, Jim; Van Kessel, Jo Ann

    2003-12-01

    A preparation of Bacillus anthracis (Sterne strain) spores was used to evaluate commercially available reagents and portable equipment for detecting anthrax contamination by using real-time PCR and was used to assess the fate of spores added directly to bulk tank milk. The Ruggedized Advanced Pathogen Identification Device (RAPID) was employed to detect spores in raw milk down to a concentration of 2,500 spores per ml. Commercially available primers and probes developed to detect either the protective antigen gene or the lethal factor gene both provided easily read positive signals with the RAPID following extraction from milk with a commercially available DNA extraction kit. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the vrrA gene with the use of DNA extracted from spiked milk provided molecular data that readily identified the spores as B. anthracis with a 100% BLAST match to the Sterne and Ames strains and easily distinguished them from B. cereus. Physical-fate and thermal-stability studies demonstrated that spores and vegetative cells have a strong affinity for the cream fraction of whole milk. A single treatment at standard pasteurization temperatures, while 100% lethal to vegetative cells, had no effect on spore viability even 14 days after the treatment. Twenty-four hours after the first treatment, a second treatment at 72 degrees C for 15 s reduced the viability of the population by ca. 99% but still did not kill all of the spores. From these studies, we conclude that standard pasteurization techniques for milk would have little effect on the viability of B. anthracis spores and that raw or pasteurized milk poses no obstacles to the rapid detection of the spores by molecular techniques.

  19. Genomic characterization of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato species: backdrop to the evolution of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Zwick, Michael E; Joseph, Sandeep J; Didelot, Xavier; Chen, Peter E; Bishop-Lilly, Kimberly A; Stewart, Andrew C; Willner, Kristin; Nolan, Nichole; Lentz, Shannon; Thomason, Maureen K; Sozhamannan, Shanmuga; Mateczun, Alfred J; Du, Lei; Read, Timothy D

    2012-08-01

    The key genes required for Bacillus anthracis to cause anthrax have been acquired recently by horizontal gene transfer. To understand the genetic background for the evolution of B. anthracis virulence, we obtained high-redundancy genome sequences of 45 strains of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato (s.l.) species that were chosen for their genetic diversity within the species based on the existing multilocus sequence typing scheme. From the resulting data, we called more than 324,000 new genes representing more than 12,333 new gene families for this group. The core genome size for the B. cereus s.l. group was ∼1750 genes, with another 2150 genes found in almost every genome constituting the extended core. There was a paucity of genes specific and conserved in any clade. We found no evidence of recent large-scale gene loss in B. anthracis or for unusual accumulation of nonsynonymous DNA substitutions in the chromosome; however, several B. cereus genomes isolated from soil and not previously associated with human disease were degraded to various degrees. Although B. anthracis has undergone an ecological shift within the species, its chromosome does not appear to be exceptional on a macroscopic scale compared with close relatives.

  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. A Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA Marker Specific for the Bacillus cereus Group Is Diagnostic for Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Daffonchio, Daniele; Borin, Sara; Frova, Giuseppe; Gallo, Romina; Mori, Elena; Fani, Renato; Sorlini, Claudia

    1999-01-01

    Aiming to develop a DNA marker specific for Bacillus anthracis and able to discriminate this species from Bacillus cereus, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Bacillus mycoides, we applied the randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting technique to a collection of 101 strains of the genus Bacillus, including 61 strains of the B. cereus group. An 838-bp RAPD marker (SG-850) specific for B. cereus, B. thuringiensis, B. anthracis, and B. mycoides was identified. This fragment included a putative (366-nucleotide) open reading frame highly homologous to the ypuA gene of Bacillus subtilis. The restriction analysis of the SG-850 fragment with AluI distinguished B. anthracis from the other species of the B. cereus group. PMID:10049896

  2. Genome Sequence of Bacillus anthracis STI, a Sterne-Like Georgian/Soviet Vaccine Strain.

    PubMed

    Okinaka, Richard T; Challacombe, Jean; Drees, Kevin; Birdsell, Dawn N; Janke, Nicolette; Naumann, Amber; Seymour, Meagan; Hornstra, Heidie; Schupp, James; Sahl, Jason; Foster, Jeffrey T; Pearson, Talima; Turnbull, Peter; Keim, Paul

    2014-09-18

    The Bacillus anthracis strain STI is a Soviet vaccine strain that lacks the pXO2 plasmid. Previous data indicate that this isolate forms a new branch within the B. anthracis sub-group originally identified as A. Br.008/009.

  3. Unveiling the Novel Dual Specificity Protein Kinases in Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Arora, Gunjan; Sajid, Andaleeb; Arulanandh, Mary Diana; Singhal, Anshika; Mattoo, Abid R.; Pomerantsev, Andrei P.; Leppla, Stephen H.; Maiti, Souvik; Singh, Yogendra

    2012-01-01

    Dual specificity protein kinases (DSPKs) are unique enzymes that can execute multiple functions in the cell, which are otherwise performed exclusively by serine/threonine and tyrosine protein kinases. In this study, we have characterized the protein kinases Bas2152 (PrkD) and Bas2037 (PrkG) from Bacillus anthracis. Transcriptional analyses of these kinases showed that they are expressed in all phases of growth. In a serendipitous discovery, both kinases were found to be DSPKs. PrkD was found to be similar to the eukaryotic dual specificity Tyr phosphorylation-regulated kinase class of dual specificity kinases, which autophosphorylates on Ser, Thr, and Tyr residues and phosphorylates Ser and Thr residues on substrates. PrkG was found to be a bona fide dual specificity protein kinase that mediates autophosphorylation and substrate phosphorylation on Ser, Thr, and Tyr residues. The sites of phosphorylation in both of the kinases were identified through mass spectrometry. Phosphorylation on Tyr residues regulates the kinase activity of PrkD and PrkG. PrpC, the only known Ser/Thr protein phosphatase, was also found to possess dual specificity. Genistein, a known Tyr kinase inhibitor, was found to inhibit the activities of PrkD and PrkG and affect the growth of B. anthracis cells, indicating a possible role of these kinases in cell growth and development. In addition, the glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase was found to be phosphorylated by PrkD on Ser and Thr residues but not by PrkG. Thus, this study provides the first evidence of DSPKs in B. anthracis that belong to different classes and have different modes of regulation. PMID:22711536

  4. GcoGSA-BA: a global core genome SNP analysis for Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Yamashita, Akifmi; Sekizuka, Tsuyoshi; Kuroda, Makoto

    2015-01-01

    As an issue of biosecurity, it is important to identify the origin of a suspected sample to distinguish whether it originated from the release of a bioterrorism agent or from environmental contamination with a virulent agent. Here we have developed an analytical pipeline that can infer the phylogenetic position of Bacillus cereus group species, including B. anthracis, from next-generation sequencing reads without extensive genomics skills. GcoGSA-BA can also detect the existence of anthrax plasmid pXO1 carrying 3 anthrax toxins (lethal factor, edema factor, and protective antigen). This pipeline can also be used to correctly infer the phylogenetic position and to detect the suspected isolate carrying anthrax toxins among B. cereus group.

  5. 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 ...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Inhibition of Bacillus anthracis Spore Outgrowth by Nisin▿

    PubMed Central

    Gut, Ian M.; Prouty, Angela M.; Ballard, Jimmy D.; van der Donk, Wilfred A.; Blanke, Steven R.

    2008-01-01

    The lantibiotic nisin has previously been reported to inhibit the outgrowth of spores from several Bacillus species. However, the mode of action of nisin responsible for outgrowth inhibition is poorly understood. By using B. anthracis Sterne 7702 as a model, nisin acted against spores with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) and an IC90 of 0.57 μM and 0.90 μM, respectively. Viable B. anthracis organisms were not recoverable from cultures containing concentrations of nisin greater than the IC90. These studies demonstrated that spores lose heat resistance and become hydrated in the presence of nisin, thereby ruling out a possible mechanism of inhibition in which nisin acts to block germination initiation. Rather, germination initiation is requisite for the action of nisin. This study also revealed that nisin rapidly and irreversibly inhibits growth by preventing the establishment of oxidative metabolism and the membrane potential in germinating spores. On the other hand, nisin had no detectable effects on the typical changes associated with the dissolution of the outer spore structures (e.g., the spore coats, cortex, and exosporium). Thus, the action of nisin results in the uncoupling of two critical sequences of events necessary for the outgrowth of spores: the establishment of metabolism and the shedding of the external spore structures. PMID:18809941

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. The function of PlcR in Bacillus anthracis vaccine strain A16R.

    PubMed

    Xiaolin, Jia; Dongshu, Wang; Zhiqi, Gao; Erling, Feng; Jiping, Zheng; Hengliang, Wang; Guiying, Guo; Xiankai, Liu

    2015-05-01

    Bacillus anthracis, B. thuringiensis and B. cereus are members of the B. cereus group. They share high genetic similarity. Whereas plcR (Phospholipase C regulator) usually encodes a functional pleiotropic activator protein in B. cereus and B. thuringiensis isolates, a characteristic nonsense mutation is found in all B. anthracis strains investigated, making the gene dysfunctional. To study the function of PlcR in B. anthracis, we used the B. cereus CMCC63301 genome as a template and constructed a recombinant expression plasmid pBE2A-plcR, and introduced it into the B. anthracis vaccine strain A16R, and then analyzed the activity of the hemolysin and sphingomyelinase. The results showed that transformation of B. anthracis with plasmid pBE2A-plcR carrying the native B. cereus plcR gene active the expression of sphingomyelinase gene, but did not activate expression of hemolysin genes of B. anthracis A16R.

  13. Structure of the Bacillus anthracis Sortase A Enzyme Bound to Its Sorting Signal

    PubMed Central

    Chan, Albert H.; Yi, Sung Wook; Terwilliger, Austen L.; Maresso, Anthony W.; Jung, Michael E.; Clubb, Robert T.

    2015-01-01

    The endospore forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis causes lethal anthrax disease in humans and animals. The ability of this pathogen to replicate within macrophages is dependent upon the display of bacterial surface proteins attached to the cell wall by the B. anthracis Sortase A (BaSrtA) enzyme. Previously, we discovered that the class A BaSrtA sortase contains a unique N-terminal appendage that wraps around the body of the protein to contact the active site of the enzyme. To gain insight into its function, we determined the NMR structure of BaSrtA bound to a LPXTG sorting signal analog. The structure, combined with dynamics, kinetics, and whole cell protein display data suggest that the N terminus modulates substrate access to the enzyme. We propose that it may increase the efficiency of protein display by reducing the unproductive hydrolytic cleavage of enzyme-protein covalent intermediates that form during the cell wall anchoring reaction. Notably, a key active site loop (β7/β8 loop) undergoes a disordered to ordered transition upon binding the sorting signal, potentially facilitating recognition of lipid II. PMID:26324714

  14. Bacillus anthracis Spore Surface Protein BclA Mediates Complement Factor H Binding to Spores and Promotes Spore Persistence.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yanyu; Jenkins, Sarah A; Gu, Chunfang; Shree, Ankita; Martinez-Moczygemba, Margarita; Herold, Jennifer; Botto, Marina; Wetsel, Rick A; Xu, Yi

    2016-06-01

    Spores of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, are known to persist in the host lungs for prolonged periods of time, however the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrated that BclA, a major surface protein of B. anthracis spores, mediated direct binding of complement factor H (CFH) to spores. The surface bound CFH retained its regulatory cofactor activity resulting in C3 degradation and inhibition of downstream complement activation. By comparing results from wild type C57BL/6 mice and complement deficient mice, we further showed that BclA significantly contributed to spore persistence in the mouse lungs and dampened antibody responses to spores in a complement C3-dependent manner. In addition, prior exposure to BclA deletion spores (ΔbclA) provided significant protection against lethal challenges by B. anthracis, whereas the isogenic parent spores did not, indicating that BclA may also impair protective immunity. These results describe for the first time an immune inhibition mechanism of B. anthracis mediated by BclA and CFH that promotes spore persistence in vivo. The findings also suggested an important role of complement in persistent infections and thus have broad implications. PMID:27304426

  15. Bacillus anthracis Spore Surface Protein BclA Mediates Complement Factor H Binding to Spores and Promotes Spore Persistence

    PubMed Central

    Gu, Chunfang; Martinez-Moczygemba, Margarita; Herold, Jennifer; Botto, Marina; Wetsel, Rick A.; Xu, Yi

    2016-01-01

    Spores of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, are known to persist in the host lungs for prolonged periods of time, however the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrated that BclA, a major surface protein of B. anthracis spores, mediated direct binding of complement factor H (CFH) to spores. The surface bound CFH retained its regulatory cofactor activity resulting in C3 degradation and inhibition of downstream complement activation. By comparing results from wild type C57BL/6 mice and complement deficient mice, we further showed that BclA significantly contributed to spore persistence in the mouse lungs and dampened antibody responses to spores in a complement C3-dependent manner. In addition, prior exposure to BclA deletion spores (ΔbclA) provided significant protection against lethal challenges by B. anthracis, whereas the isogenic parent spores did not, indicating that BclA may also impair protective immunity. These results describe for the first time an immune inhibition mechanism of B. anthracis mediated by BclA and CFH that promotes spore persistence in vivo. The findings also suggested an important role of complement in persistent infections and thus have broad implications. PMID:27304426

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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

  19. Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Bacillus anthracis: From Fingerprint Analysis of the Bacterium to Quantification of its Toxins in Clinical Samples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woolfitt, Adrian R.; Boyer, Anne E.; Quinn, Conrad P.; Hoffmaster, Alex R.; Kozel, Thomas R.; de, Barun K.; Gallegos, Maribel; Moura, Hercules; Pirkle, James L.; Barr, John R.

    A range of mass spectrometry-based techniques have been used to identify, characterize and differentiate Bacillus anthracis, both in culture for forensic applications and for diagnosis during infection. This range of techniques could usefully be considered to exist as a continuum, based on the degrees of specificity involved. We show two examples here, a whole-organism fingerprinting method and a high-specificity assay for one unique protein, anthrax lethal factor.

  20. Growth characteristics of Bacillus anthracis compared to other Bacillus spp. on the selective nutrient media Anthrax Blood Agar and Cereus Ident Agar.

    PubMed

    Tomaso, Herbert; Bartling, Carsten; Al Dahouk, Sascha; Hagen, Ralf M; Scholz, Holger C; Beyer, Wolfgang; Neubauer, Heinrich

    2006-01-01

    Anthrax Blood Agar (ABA) and Cereus Ident Agar (CEI) were evaluated as selective growth media for the isolation of Bacillus anthracis using 92 B. anthracis and 132 other Bacillus strains from 30 species. The positive predictive values for the identification of B. anthracis on ABA, CEI, and the combination of both were 72%, 71%, and 90%, respectively. Thus, less than 10% of all species were misidentified using both nutrient media. Species which might be misidentified as B. anthracis were B. cereus, B. mycoides, and B. thuringiensis. Particularly, 30% of B. weihenstephanensis strains were misidentified as B. anthracis.

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

    PubMed Central

    Beierlein, Jennifer M.; Frey, Kathleen M.; Bolstad, David B.; Pelphrey, Phillip M.; Joska, Tammy M.; Smith, Adrienne E.; Priestley, Nigel D.; Wright, Dennis L.; Anderson, Amy C.

    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 Å resolution. The structure reveals several features that can be exploited for further development of this lead series. PMID:19007108

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Microbial forensics: fiber optic microarray subtyping of Bacillus anthracis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shepard, Jason R. E.

    2009-05-01

    The past decade has seen increased development and subsequent adoption of rapid molecular techniques involving DNA analysis for detection of pathogenic microorganisms, also termed microbial forensics. The continued accumulation of microbial sequence information in genomic databases now better positions the field of high-throughput DNA analysis to proceed in a more manageable fashion. The potential to build off of these databases exists as technology continues to develop, which will enable more rapid, cost effective analyses. This wealth of genetic information, along with new technologies, has the potential to better address some of the current problems and solve the key issues involved in DNA analysis of pathogenic microorganisms. To this end, a high density fiber optic microarray has been employed, housing numerous DNA sequences simultaneously for detection of various pathogenic microorganisms, including Bacillus anthracis, among others. Each organism is analyzed with multiple sequences and can be sub-typed against other closely related organisms. For public health labs, real-time PCR methods have been developed as an initial preliminary screen, but culture and growth are still considered the gold standard. Technologies employing higher throughput than these standard methods are better suited to capitalize on the limitless potential garnered from the sequence information. Microarray analyses are one such format positioned to exploit this potential, and our array platform is reusable, allowing repetitive tests on a single array, providing an increase in throughput and decrease in cost, along with a certainty of detection, down to the individual strain level.

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

    PubMed Central

    Popovici, Jonathan; Lytle, Darren A.; Adcock, Noreen J.; Rice, Eugene W.

    2012-01-01

    The electrophoretic mobility (EPM) of endospores of Bacillus anthracis and surrogates was 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 provide new insight for Bacillus anthracis surrogate selection and for attachment/detachment and transport studies. PMID:23001659

  8. The capsule of Bacillus anthracis behaves as a thymus-independent type 2 antigen.

    PubMed

    Wang, Taia T; Lucas, Alexander H

    2004-09-01

    Bacillus anthracis elaborates a homopolymeric capsule composed of gamma-D-glutamic acid residues. Mice were immunized with formalin-fixed encapsulated B. anthracis bacilli, and the serum antibody response to a gamma-D-glutamyl capsular epitope was measured. Antiglutamyl antibodies were elicited in athymic BALB/c Nu/Nu, BALB/c Nu/+, and CBA/J mice but not in CBA/N xid mice. These response patterns define the capsule of B. anthracis as a thymus-independent type 2 antigen.

  9. Species-Specific Peptide Ligands for the Detection of Bacillus anthracis Spores

    PubMed Central

    Williams, David D.; Benedek, Orsolya; Turnbough, Charles L.

    2003-01-01

    Currently available detectors for spores of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, are inadequate for frontline use and general monitoring. There is a critical need for simple, rugged, and inexpensive detectors capable of accurate and direct identification of B. anthracis spores. Necessary components in such detectors are stable ligands that bind tightly and specifically to target spores. By screening a phage display peptide library, we identified a family of peptides, with the consensus sequence TYPXPXR, that bind selectively to B. anthracis spores. We extended this work by identifying a peptide variant, ATYPLPIR, with enhanced ability to bind to B. anthracis spores and an additional peptide, SLLPGLP, that preferentially binds to spores of species phylogenetically similar to, but distinct from, B. anthracis. These two peptides were used in tandem in simple assays to rapidly and unambiguously identify B. anthracis spores. We envision that these peptides can be used as sensors in economical and portable B. anthracis spore detectors that are essentially free of false-positive signals due to other environmental Bacillus spores. PMID:14532093

  10. Observations on the Inactivation Efficacy of a MALDI-TOF MS Chemical Extraction Method on Bacillus anthracis Vegetative Cells and Spores.

    PubMed

    Weller, Simon A; Stokes, Margaret G M; Lukaszewski, Roman A

    2015-01-01

    A chemical (ethanol; formic acid; acetonitrile) protein extraction method for the preparation of bacterial samples for matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) identification was evaluated for its ability to inactivate bacterial species. Initial viability tests (with and without double filtration of the extract through 0.2 μM filters), indicated that the method could inactivate Escherichia coli MRE 162 and Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC 35657, with or without filtration, but that filtration was required to exclude viable, avirulent, Bacillus anthracis UM23CL2 from extracts. Multiple, high stringency, viability experiments were then carried out on entire filtered extracts prepared from virulent B. anthracis Vollum vegetative cells and spores ranging in concentration from 10(6)-10(8) cfu per extract. B. anthracis was recovered in 3/18 vegetative cell extracts and 10/18 spore extracts. From vegetative cell extracts B. anthracis was only recovered from extracts that had undergone prolonged Luria (L)-broth (7 day) and L-agar plate (a further 7 days) incubations. We hypothesise that the recovery of B. anthracis in vegetative cell extracts is due to the escape of individual sub-lethally injured cells. We discuss our results in view of working practises in clinical laboratories and in the context of recent inadvertent releases of viable B. anthracis. PMID:26633884

  11. Identification and validation of specific markers of Bacillus anthracis spores by proteomics and genomics approaches.

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

    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

  12. 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

  13. Bacillus anthracis Virulent Plasmid pX02 Genes Found in Large Plasmids of Two Other Bacillus Species

    PubMed Central

    Luna, Vicki A.; King, Debra S.; Peak, K. Kealy; Reeves, Frank; Heberlein-Larson, Lea; Veguilla, William; Heller, L.; Duncan, Kathleen E.; Cannons, Andrew C.; Amuso, Philip; Cattani, Jacqueline

    2006-01-01

    In order to cause the disease anthrax, Bacillus anthracis requires two plasmids, pX01 and pX02, which carry toxin and capsule genes, respectively, that are used as genetic targets in the laboratory detection of the bacterium. Clinical, forensic, and environmental samples that test positive by PCR protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for B. anthracis are considered to be potentially B. anthracis until confirmed by culture and a secondary battery of tests. We report the presence of 10 genes (acpA, capA, capB, capC, capR, capD, IS1627, ORF 48, ORF 61, and repA) and the sequence for the capsule promoter normally found on pX02 in Bacillus circulans and a Bacillus species closely related to Bacillus luciferensis. Tests revealed these sequences to be present on a large plasmid in each isolate. The 11 sequences consistently matched to B. anthracis plasmid pX02, GenBank accession numbers AF188935.1, AE011191.1, and AE017335.3. The percent nucleotide identities for capD and the capsule promoter were 99.9% and 99.7%, respectively, and for the remaining nine genes, the nucleotide identity was 100% for both isolates. The presence of these genes, which are usually associated with the pX02 plasmid, in two soil Bacillus species unrelated to B. anthracis alerts us to the necessity of identifying additional sequences that will signal the presence of B. anthracis in clinical, forensic, and environmental samples. PMID:16825351

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Structure-Activity Relationships of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis Dihydrofolate Reductase: toward the Identification of New Potent Drug Leads

    PubMed Central

    Joska, Tammy M.; Anderson, Amy C.

    2006-01-01

    New and improved therapeutics are needed for Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax. To date, antimicrobial agents have not been developed against the well-validated target dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). In order to address whether DHFR inhibitors could have potential use as clinical agents against Bacillus, 27 compounds were screened against this enzyme from Bacillus cereus, which is identical to the enzyme from B. anthracis at the active site. Several 2,4-diamino-5-deazapteridine compounds exhibit submicromolar 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s). Four of the inhibitors displaying potency in vitro were tested in vivo and showed a marked growth inhibition of B. cereus; the most potent of these has MIC50 and minimum bactericidal concentrations at which 50% are killed of 1.6 μg/ml and 0.09 μg/ml, respectively. In order to illustrate structure-activity relationships for the classes of inhibitors tested, each of the 27 inhibitors was docked into homology models of the B. cereus and B. anthracis DHFR proteins, allowing the development of a rationale for the inhibition profiles. A combination of favorable interactions with the diaminopyrimidine and substituted phenyl rings explains the low IC50 values of potent inhibitors; steric interactions explain higher IC50 values. These experiments show that DHFR is a reasonable antimicrobial target for Bacillus anthracis and that there is a class of inhibitors that possess sufficient potency and antibacterial activity to suggest further development. PMID:17005826

  20. Bacillus anthracis co-opts nitric oxide and host serum albumin for pathogenicity in hypoxic conditions

    PubMed Central

    St. John, Stephen; Blower, Ryan; Popova, Taissia G.; Narayanan, Aarthi; Chung, Myung-Chul; Bailey, Charles L.; Popov, Serguei G.

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis is a dangerous pathogen of humans and many animal species. Its virulence has been mainly attributed to the production of Lethal and Edema toxins as well as the antiphagocytic capsule. Recent data indicate that the nitric oxide (NO) synthase (baNOS) plays an important pathogenic role at the early stage of disease by protecting bacteria from the host reactive species and S-nytrosylating the mitochondrial proteins in macrophages. In this study we for the first time present evidence that bacteria-derived NO participates in the generation of highly reactive oxidizing species which could be abolished by the NOS inhibitor L - NAME, free thiols, and superoxide dismutase but not catalase. The formation of toxicants is likely a result of the simultaneous formation of NO and superoxide leading to a labile peroxynitrite and its stable decomposition product, nitrogen dioxide. The toxicity of bacteria could be potentiated in the presence of bovine serum albumin. This effect is consistent with the property of serum albumin to serves as a trap of a volatile NO accelerating its reactions. Our data suggest that during infection in the hypoxic environment of pre-mortal host the accumulated NO is expected to have a broad toxic impact on host cell functions. PMID:23730627

  1. 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

  2. Genome Sequence of a Bacillus anthracis Outbreak Strain from Zambia, 2011.

    PubMed

    Ohnishi, Naomi; Maruyama, Fumito; Ogawa, Hirohito; Kachi, Hirokazu; Yamada, Shunsuke; Fujikura, Daisuke; Nakagawa, Ichiro; Hang'ombe, Mudenda B; Thomas, Yuka; Mweene, Aaron S; Higashi, Hideaki

    2014-01-01

    In August 2011, an anthrax outbreak occurred among Hippopotamus amphibius hippopotamuses and humans in Zambia. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of the Bacillus anthracis outbreak strain CZC5, isolated from tissues of H. amphibius hippopotamuses that had died in the outbreak area. PMID:24604644

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. An extracytoplasmic function sigma factor controls beta-lactamase gene expression in Bacillus anthracis and other Bacillus cereus group species.

    PubMed

    Ross, Cana L; Thomason, Kerrie S; Koehler, Theresa M

    2009-11-01

    The susceptibility of most Bacillus anthracis strains to beta-lactam antibiotics is intriguing considering that the closely related species Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis typically produce beta-lactamases and the B. anthracis genome harbors two beta-lactamase genes, bla1 and bla2. We show that beta-lactamase activity associated with B. anthracis is affected by two genes, sigP (BA2502) and rsiP (BA2503), predicted to encode an extracytoplasmic function sigma factor and an anti-sigma factor, respectively. Deletion of the sigP-rsiP locus abolished beta-lactamase activity in a naturally occurring penicillin-resistant strain and had no effect on beta-lactamase activity in a prototypical penicillin-susceptible strain. Complementation with sigP and rsiP from the penicillin-resistant strain, but not with sigP and rsiP from the penicillin-susceptible strain, conferred constitutive beta-lactamase activity in both mutants. These results are attributed to a nucleotide deletion near the 5' end of rsiP in the penicillin-resistant strain that is predicted to result in a nonfunctional protein. B. cereus and B. thuringiensis sigP and rsiP homologues are required for inducible penicillin resistance in these species. Expression of the B. cereus or B. thuringiensis sigP and rsiP genes in a B. anthracis sigP-rsiP-null mutant confers inducible production of beta-lactamase activity, suggesting that while B. anthracis contains the genes necessary for sensing beta-lactam antibiotics, the B. anthracis sigP and rsiP gene products are not sufficient for bla induction. PMID:19717606

  6. Revisiting the Concept of Targeting Only Bacillus anthracis Toxins as a Treatment for Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Glinert, Itai; Bar-David, Elad; Sittner, Assa; Weiss, Shay; Schlomovitz, Josef; Ben-Shmuel, Amir; Mechaly, Adva; Altboum, Zeev; Kobiler, David; Levy, Haim

    2016-08-01

    Protective antigen (PA)-based vaccines are effective in preventing the development of fatal anthrax disease both in humans and in relevant animal models. The Bacillus anthracis toxins lethal toxin (lethal factor [LF] plus PA) and edema toxin (edema factor [EF] plus PA) are essential for the establishment of the infection, as inactivation of these toxins results in attenuation of the pathogen. Since the toxins reach high toxemia levels at the bacteremic stages of the disease, the CDC's recommendations include combining antibiotic treatment with antitoxin (anti-PA) immunotherapy. We demonstrate here that while treatment with a highly potent neutralizing monoclonal antibody was highly efficient as postexposure prophylaxis treatment, it failed to protect rabbits with any detectable bacteremia (≥10 CFU/ml). In addition, we show that while PA vaccination was effective against a subcutaneous spore challenge, it failed to protect rabbits against systemic challenges (intravenous injection of vegetative bacteria) with the wild-type Vollum strain or a toxin-deficient mutant. To test the possibility that additional proteins, which are secreted by the bacteria under pathogenicity-stimulating conditions in vitro, may contribute to the vaccine's potency, we immunized rabbits with a secreted protein fraction from a toxin-null mutant. The antiserum raised against the secreted fraction reacts with the bacteria in an immunofluorescence assay. Immunization with the secreted protein fraction did not protect the rabbits against a systemic challenge with the fully pathogenic bacteria. Full protection was obtained only by a combined vaccination with PA and the secreted protein fraction. Therefore, these results indicate that an effective antiserum treatment in advanced stages of anthrax must include toxin-neutralizing antibodies in combination with antibodies against bacterial cell targets.

  7. Revisiting the Concept of Targeting Only Bacillus anthracis Toxins as a Treatment for Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Glinert, Itai; Bar-David, Elad; Sittner, Assa; Weiss, Shay; Schlomovitz, Josef; Ben-Shmuel, Amir; Mechaly, Adva; Altboum, Zeev; Kobiler, David; Levy, Haim

    2016-08-01

    Protective antigen (PA)-based vaccines are effective in preventing the development of fatal anthrax disease both in humans and in relevant animal models. The Bacillus anthracis toxins lethal toxin (lethal factor [LF] plus PA) and edema toxin (edema factor [EF] plus PA) are essential for the establishment of the infection, as inactivation of these toxins results in attenuation of the pathogen. Since the toxins reach high toxemia levels at the bacteremic stages of the disease, the CDC's recommendations include combining antibiotic treatment with antitoxin (anti-PA) immunotherapy. We demonstrate here that while treatment with a highly potent neutralizing monoclonal antibody was highly efficient as postexposure prophylaxis treatment, it failed to protect rabbits with any detectable bacteremia (≥10 CFU/ml). In addition, we show that while PA vaccination was effective against a subcutaneous spore challenge, it failed to protect rabbits against systemic challenges (intravenous injection of vegetative bacteria) with the wild-type Vollum strain or a toxin-deficient mutant. To test the possibility that additional proteins, which are secreted by the bacteria under pathogenicity-stimulating conditions in vitro, may contribute to the vaccine's potency, we immunized rabbits with a secreted protein fraction from a toxin-null mutant. The antiserum raised against the secreted fraction reacts with the bacteria in an immunofluorescence assay. Immunization with the secreted protein fraction did not protect the rabbits against a systemic challenge with the fully pathogenic bacteria. Full protection was obtained only by a combined vaccination with PA and the secreted protein fraction. Therefore, these results indicate that an effective antiserum treatment in advanced stages of anthrax must include toxin-neutralizing antibodies in combination with antibodies against bacterial cell targets. PMID:27270276

  8. The secret life of the anthrax agent Bacillus anthracis: bacteriophage-mediated ecological adaptations.

    PubMed

    Schuch, Raymond; Fischetti, Vincent A

    2009-08-12

    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.

  9. 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

  10. Production and Validation of the Use of Gamma Phage for Identification of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Abshire, T. G.; Brown, J. E.; Ezzell, J. W.

    2005-01-01

    Gamma phage specifically lyses vegetative cells of Bacillus anthracis and serves as part of the basis for identification of isolates from agar cultures. We report our study to standardize gamma phage production and preparation and to validate the assay for routine use. Unstable phage preparations were largely reduced through propagation of phage on blood agar cultures of the avirulent B. anthracis strain CDC684 and were adequately stable for extended storage beyond 1 to 2 years at 4°C, provided that the preparation initially gave rise to clearly discernible plaques (macroplaques, 5 to 10 mm in diameter) on dilution at 1:8 or greater during potency testing with the Sterne strain or its equivalent. The primary intent of the assay was to test nonhemolytic, ground-glass-appearing bacterial B. anthracis-like colonies arising from culture of clinical or nonclinical samples on 5% sheep blood agar. Specifically, the assay was designed to show clear or primarily clear circular zones of lysis on bacterial lawns at the site of gamma phage inoculation after incubation at 35 °C ± 2°C for 20 h. When tested with 51 B. anthracis strains and 49 similar non-B. anthracis Bacillus species, the analytical specificity was >95%, a value that is intentionally low because our study design included two rare nonsusceptible B. anthracis strains as well as a rare susceptible non-B. anthracis strain, B. cereus ATCC 4342. Repeatability, day-to-day precision, and analyst-to-analyst precision were superior. The assay was rugged to variations among phage lots, phage concentration, amounts of bacterial inoculum, and incubation times as short as 6 to 8 h. System suitability evaluation showed improved robustness when bacterial lawns were tested with high- and low-density inoculum using the first and second quadrants of a serial four-quadrant streak on 5% sheep blood agar plates. PMID:16145141

  11. The two-component system Bacillus respiratory response A and B (BrrA-BrrB) is a virulence factor regulator in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Vetter, Sara M; Schlievert, Patrick M

    2007-06-26

    Bacillus anthracis, a bioterrorism threat as well as an agricultural concern, has complex mechanisms for regulation of its major virulence factors. Genome searches identified the putative two-component system that we designated Bacillus anthracis respiratory response (Brr)A-BrrB. A brrA deletion strain was constructed, and real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis were used to assess the effect of BrrA-BrrB on levels of virulence factors, the regulator atxA, and growth characteristics. When brrA was deleted, the genes for anthrax toxins (lethal factor, protective antigen, and edema factor) where expressed 4-6-log10-fold less than in the parent Sterne strain. The global regulator atxA was downregulated when compared to atxA in the Sterne strain. Thus, the BrrA-BrrB two-component system positively regulates B. anthracis toxin genes as well as the atxA regulator. Aerobic growth was not affected by the DeltabrrA mutation, but colonies showed differences in morphology, the mutant did not sporulate, and the strain lost the ability to synthesize cytochrome aa3. Gel-shift mobility assays demonstrated that BrrA bound to the promoters of genes for both protective antigen and cytochrome aa3, demonstrating that BrrA is a transcription factor. BrrA-BrrB has sequence similarity with the virulence regulator SrrA-SrrB in Staphylococcus aureus and the aerobic/anaerobic regulator, ResD-ResE, in B. subtilis, and appears to share regulatory mechanisms with ResD-ResE. PMID:17536838

  12. Identification of Bacillus anthracis by using monoclonal antibody to cell wall galactose-N-acetylglucosamine polysaccharide.

    PubMed Central

    Ezzell, J W; Abshire, T G; Little, S F; Lidgerding, B C; Brown, C

    1990-01-01

    Guanidine extracts of crude Bacillus anthracis cell wall were used to vaccinate BALB/c mice and to develop monoclonal antibody (MAb) to vegetative cell surface antigens. Two hybridomas selected during this study produced immunoglobulin M immunoglobulins, which appear to be directed to an epitope associated with the galactose-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine polysaccharide. Both demonstrated specificity in their binding to purified B. anthracis cell wall, o-stearoyl-polysaccharide conjugates, and intact, nonencapsulated vegetative cells. The interaction of the MAbs with purified polysaccharide was inhibited by 0.5 M galactose and lactose but not by N-acetylglucosamine, glutamate, glycine, or glycerol. Inhibition by glucose or sucrose was approximately 75% of that seen with galactose. Electron microscopy showed that both MAbs interacted with the cell wall of vegetative cells as well as with the cortex of spores. Neither MAb reacted with encapsulated vegetative cells, such as those from infected guinea pigs, nor did they react with intact spores. After conjugation to fluorescein isothiocyanate, the MAbs stained intensely all B. anthracis strains tested, whereas with two exceptions, none of the strains of 20 other Bacillus spp. was stained. The exceptions, strains of Bacillus cereus, could be differentiated from B. anthracis by being beta-hemolytic on blood agar. Images PMID:2107201

  13. Method of measuring Bacillus anthracis spores in the presence of copious amounts of Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus cereus.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Gossett A; Mutharasan, Raj

    2007-02-01

    A sensitive and reliable method for the detection of Bacillus anthracis (BA; Sterne strain 7702) spores in presence of large amounts of Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) and Bacillus cereus (BC) is presented based on a novel PZT-anchored piezoelectric excited millimeter-sized cantilever (PAPEMC) sensor with a sensing area of 1.5 mm2. Antibody (anti-BA) specific to BA spores was immobilized on the sensing area and exposed to various samples of BA, BT, and BC containing the same concentration of BA at 333 spores/mL, and the concentration of BT + BC was varied in concentration ratios of (BA:BT + BC) 0:1, 1:0, 1:1, 1:10, 1:100, and 1:1000. In each case, the sensor responded with an exponential decrease in resonant frequency and the steady-state frequency changes reached were 14 +/- 31 (n = 11), 2742 +/- 38 (n = 3), 3053 +/- 19 (n = 2), 2777 +/- 26 (n = 2), 2953 +/- 24 (n = 2), and 3105 +/- 27 (n = 2) Hz, respectively, in 0, 27, 45, 63, 154, and 219 min. The bound BA spores were released in each experiment, and the sensor response was nearly identical to the frequency change during attachment. These results suggest that the transport of BA spores to the antibody immobilized surface was hindered by the presence of other Bacillus species. The observed binding rate constant, based on the Langmuir kinetic model, was determined to be 0.15 min-1. A hindrance factor (alpha) is defined to describe the reduced attachment rate in the presence of BT + BC and found to increase exponentially with BT and BC concentration. The hindrance factor increased from 3.52 at 333 BT + BC spores/mL to 11.04 at 3.33 x 105 BT + BC spores/mL, suggesting that alpha is a strong function of BT and BC concentration. The significance of these results is that anti-BA functionalized PEMC sensors are highly selective to Bacillus anthracis spores and the presence of other Bacillus species, in large amounts, does not prevent binding but impedes BA transport to the sensor.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Proteolytic Degradation of Human Antimicrobial Peptide LL-37 by Bacillus anthracis May Contribute to Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Thwaite, Joanne E.; Hibbs, Stephen; Titball, Richard W.; Atkins, Timothy P.

    2006-01-01

    In this paper we report on the susceptibilities of a range of Bacillus species to the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. B. subtilis showed a low level of resistance to killing by LL-37 (50% growth-inhibitory concentration [GI50], 1 μg/ml). B. cereus and B. thuringiensis showed intermediate levels of resistance to killing (GI50s, 33 μg/ml and 37 μg/ml, respectively). B. anthracis showed the highest level of resistance (GI50s, 40 to 66 μg/ml). The degradation of LL-37 by B. anthracis culture supernatant was blocked by the metalloprotease inhibitors EDTA and 1,10-phenanthroline, and the gene encoding the protease responsible for LL-37 degradation was not plasmid borne. Our findings suggest that alongside the classical plasmid-based virulence determinants, extracellular metalloproteases of B. anthracis may play a role in survival in the host. PMID:16801407

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Expression of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen in transgenic chloroplasts of tobacco, a non-food/feed crop

    PubMed Central

    Watson, Jennifer; Koya, Vijay; Leppla, Stephen H.; Daniell, Henry

    2012-01-01

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists Bacillus anthracis as a category A agent and estimates the cost of an anthrax attack to exceed US$ 26 billion per 100,000 exposed individuals. Concerns regarding anthrax vaccine purity, a requirement for multiple injections, and a limited supply of the protective antigen (PA), underscore the urgent need for an improved vaccine. Therefore, the 83 kDa immunogenic Bacillus anthracis protective antigen was expressed in transgenic tobacco chloroplasts. The PA gene (pag) was cloned into a chloroplast vector along with the psbA regulatory signals to enhance translation. Chloroplast integration of the transgenes was confirmed by PCR and Southern blot analyses. Crude plant extracts contained up to 2.5 mg full length PA/g of fresh leaf tissue and this showed exceptional stability for several months in stored leaves or crude extracts. Maximum levels of expression were observed in mature leaves under continuous illumination. Co-expression of the ORF2 chaperonin from Bacillus thuringiensis did not increase PA accumulation or induce folding into cuboidal crystals in transgenic chloroplasts. Trypsin, chymotrypsin and furin proteolytic cleavage sites present in PA were protected in transgenic chloroplasts because only full length PA 83 was observed without any degradation products. Both CHAPS and SDS detergents extracted PA with equal efficiency and PA was observed in the soluble fraction. Chloroplast-derived PA was functionally active in lysing mouse macrophages when combined with lethal factor (LF). Crude leaf extracts contained up to 25 μg functional PA/ml. With an average yield of 172 mg of PA per plant using an experimental transgenic cultivar grown in a greenhouse, 400 million doses of vaccine (free of contaminants) could be produced per acre, a yield that could be further enhanced 18-fold using a commercial cultivar in the field. PMID:15474731

  1. Rapid Detection of Bacillus anthracis in Complex Food Matrices Using Phage-Mediated Bioluminescence.

    PubMed

    Sharp, Natasha J; Vandamm, Joshua P; Molineux, Ian J; Schofield, David A

    2015-05-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is considered a high-priority agent that may be used in a food-related terrorist attack because it can be contracted by ingestion and it also forms spores with heat and chemical resistance. Thus, novel surveillance methodologies to detect B. anthracis on adulterated foods are important for bioterrorism preparedness. We describe the development of a phage-based bioluminescence assay for the detection of B. anthracis on deliberately contaminated foods. We previously engineered the B. anthracis phage Wβ with genes encoding bacterial luciferase (luxA and luxB) to create a "light-tagged" reporter (Wβ::luxAB) that is able to rapidly detect B. anthracis by transducing a bioluminescent signal response. Here, we investigate the ability of Wβ::luxAB to detect B. anthracis Sterne, an attenuated select agent strain, in inoculated food (ground beef) and milk (2%, baby formula, and half and half) matrices after incubation with spores for 72 h at 4°C as per AOAC testing guidelines. The majority of B. anthracis bacilli remained in spore form, and thus were potentially infectious, within each of the liquid matrices for 14 days. Detection limits were 80 CFU/ml after 7 h of enrichment; sensitivity of detection increased to 8 CFU/ml when enrichment was extended to 16 h. The limit of detection in ground beef was 3.2 × 10(3) CFU/g after 7 h of enrichment, improving to 3.2 × 10(2) CFU/g after 16 h. Because the time to result is rapid and minimal processing is required, and because gastrointestinal anthrax can be fatal, the reporter technology displays promise for the protection of our food supply following a deliberate release of this priority pathogen.

  2. The phenotypic and genotypic characterization of Bacillus anthracis isolates from Iran.

    PubMed

    Jula, Gholamreza Moazeni; Sattari, Morteza; Banihashemi, Reza; Razzaz, Hossein; Sanchouli, Alireza; Tadayon, Keyvan

    2011-03-01

    To understand epidemiology of Bacillus anthracis in Iran, the morphological, biochemical, and virulence specifications of 32 B. anthracis isolates, collected from human, sheep, cattle, goat, and environmental specimens obtained from throughout Iran were examined by conventional and molecular approaches. B. anthracis isolates were characterized in multiple ways: (1) capsule formation both on bicarbonate agar and in defibrinated horse blood, (2) motility of vegetative forms, (3) hemolysis on 5% sheep blood agar, (4) penicillin G susceptibility, (5) lecithinase production on egg yolk agar, (6) gelatin hydrolysis, (7) ability to develop "string of pearls" on tryptose agar, and (8) capability to develop mucoid colonies in presence of CO(2) were assessed. In addition, biochemical properties such as indole, methyl red, catalase, citrate utilization, and finally nitrate reduction tests were used. All the tested isolates produced identical morphological and biochemical patterns with those of the vaccine strain B. anthracis 34F2 Sterne. In order to assess potential virulence of isolates at genomic level, PCR protocols assaying for the pXO1 and pXO2 loci were employed. The intriguing high level of phenotypic similarity between Iranian isolates of B. anthracis and the 34F2 Sterne strain deserves further studies at genomic level. PMID:21116715

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. The two CcdA proteins of Bacillus anthracis differentially affect virulence gene expression and sporulation.

    PubMed

    Han, Hesong; Wilson, Adam C

    2013-12-01

    The cytochrome c maturation system influences the expression of virulence factors in Bacillus anthracis. B. anthracis carries two copies of the ccdA gene, encoding predicted thiol-disulfide oxidoreductases that contribute to cytochrome c maturation, while the closely related organism Bacillus subtilis carries only one copy of ccdA. To investigate the roles of the two ccdA gene copies in B. anthracis, strains were constructed without each ccdA gene, and one strain was constructed without both copies simultaneously. Loss of both ccdA genes results in a reduction of cytochrome c production, an increase in virulence factor expression, and a reduction in sporulation efficiency. Complementation and expression analyses indicate that ccdA2 encodes the primary CcdA in B. anthracis, active in all three pathways. While CcdA1 retains activity in cytochrome c maturation and virulence control, it has completely lost its activity in the sporulation pathway. In support of this finding, expression of ccdA1 is strongly reduced when cells are grown under sporulation-inducing conditions. When the activities of CcdA1 and CcdA2 were analyzed in B. subtilis, neither protein retained activity in cytochrome c maturation, but CcdA2 could still function in sporulation. These observations reveal the complexities of thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase function in pathways relevant to virulence and physiology.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Nosocomial infection of Serratia marcescens may induce a protective effect in monkeys exposed to Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Leffel, Elizabeth K; Twenhafel, Nancy A; Whitehouse, Chris A

    2008-08-01

    This study was originally designed to collect data on the natural history of inhalational anthrax in a new nonhuman primate model. An uncontrollable event created a new experimental condition which allowed us to retrospectively evaluate the power of the innate immune system to protect from an aerosol exposure of B. anthracis. Five African green monkeys (AGMs) had intravenous catheters implanted. One catheter was accidentally pulled out, leaving four AGMs with catheters and one without. All were exposed, to multiple lethal doses of B. anthracis Ames strain. Blood was collected twice daily to evaluate bacteremia. The AGM with no catheter had blood drawn from a femoral vein and became bacteremic on Day 9; succumbed to inhalational anthrax on Day 10. The other four AGMs had S. marcescens contamination in the catheter; indicated by pure colonies grown from the blood. None of these AGMs showed clinical signs of illness, had B. anthracis or a detectable level of protective antigen in the bloodstream. It appears that the presence of S. marcescens may have induced a "Coley's toxin" effect in this experiment. The innate immune response may have protected the AGMs from a lethal inhalational dose of B. anthracis spores.

  9. Development of an Inhalational Bacillus anthracis Exposure Therapeutic Model in Cynomolgus Macaques

    PubMed Central

    Comer, Jason E.; Stark, Gregory V.; Ray, Bryan D.; Tordoff, Kevin P.; Knostman, Katherine A. B.; Meister, Gabriel T.

    2012-01-01

    Appropriate animal models are required to test medical countermeasures to bioterrorist threats. To that end, we characterized a nonhuman primate (NHP) inhalational anthrax therapeutic model for use in testing anthrax therapeutic medical countermeasures according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Animal Rule. A clinical profile was recorded for each NHP exposed to a lethal dose of Bacillus anthracis Ames spores. Specific diagnostic parameters were detected relatively early in disease progression, i.e., by blood culture (∼37 h postchallenge) and the presence of circulating protective antigen (PA) detected by electrochemiluminescence (ECL) ∼38 h postchallenge, whereas nonspecific clinical signs of disease, i.e., changes in body temperature, hematologic parameters (ca. 52 to 66 h), and clinical observations, were delayed. To determine whether the presentation of antigenemia (PA in the blood) was an appropriate trigger for therapeutic intervention, a monoclonal antibody specific for PA was administered to 12 additional animals after the circulating levels of PA were detected by ECL. Seventy-five percent of the monoclonal antibody-treated animals survived compared to 17% of the untreated controls, suggesting that intervention at the onset of antigenemia is an appropriate treatment trigger for this model. Moreover, the onset of antigenemia correlated with bacteremia, and NHPs were treated in a therapeutic manner. Interestingly, brain lesions were observed by histopathology in the treated nonsurviving animals, whereas this observation was absent from 90% of the nonsurviving untreated animals. Our results support the use of the cynomolgus macaque as an appropriate therapeutic animal model for assessing the efficacy of medical countermeasures developed against anthrax when administered after a confirmation of infection. PMID:22956657

  10. Determination of Antibiotic Efficacy against Bacillus anthracis in a Mouse Aerosol Challenge Model▿

    PubMed Central

    Heine, Henry S.; Bassett, Jennifer; Miller, Lynda; Hartings, Justin M.; Ivins, Bruce E.; Pitt, M. Louise; Fritz, David; Norris, Sarah L.; Byrne, W. Russell

    2007-01-01

    An anthrax spore aerosol infection mouse model was developed as a first test of in vivo efficacy of antibiotics identified as active against Bacillus anthracis. Whole-body, 50% lethal dose (LD50) aerosol challenge doses in a range of 1.9 × 103 to 3.4 × 104 CFU with spores of the fully virulent Ames strain were established for three inbred and one outbred mouse strain (A/J, BALB/c, C57BL, and Swiss Webster). The BALB/c strain was further developed as a model for antibiotic efficacy. Time course microbiological examinations of tissue burdens in mice after challenge showed that spores could remain dormant in the lungs while vegetative cells disseminated to the mediastinal lymph nodes and then to the spleen, accompanied by bacteremia. For antibiotic efficacy studies, BALB/c mice were challenged with 50 to 100 LD50 of spores followed by intraperitoneal injection of either ciprofloxacin at 30 mg/kg of body weight (every 12 h [q12h]) or doxycycline at 40 mg/kg (q6h). A control group was treated with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) q6h. Treatment was begun 24 h after challenge with groups of 10 mice for 14 or 21 days. The PBS-treated control mice all succumbed (10/10) to inhalation anthrax infection within 72 h. Sixty-day survival rates for ciprofloxacin and doxycycline-treated groups were 8/10 and 9/10, respectively, for 14-day treatment and 10/10 and 7/10 for 21-day treatment. Delayed treatment with ciprofloxacin initiated 36 and 48 h postexposure resulted in 80% survival and was statistically no different than early (24 h) postexposure treatment. Results using this mouse model correlate closely with clinical observations of inhalational anthrax in humans and with earlier antibiotic studies in the nonhuman primate inhalational anthrax model. PMID:17296745

  11. Human monoclonal antibody AVP-21D9 to protective antigen reduces dissemination of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain from the lungs in a rabbit model.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Johnny W; Comer, Jason E; Baze, Wallace B; Noffsinger, David M; Wenglikowski, Autumn; Walberg, Kristin G; Hardcastle, Jason; Pawlik, Jennifer; Bush, Kathryn; Taormina, Joanna; Moen, Scott; Thomas, John; Chatuev, Bagram M; Sower, Laurie; Chopra, Ashok K; Stanberry, Lawrence R; Sawada, Ritsuko; Scholz, Wolfgang W; Sircar, Jagadish

    2007-07-01

    Dutch-belted and New Zealand White rabbits were passively immunized with AVP-21D9, a human monoclonal antibody to protective antigen (PA), at the time of Bacillus anthracis spore challenge using either nasal instillation or aerosol challenge techniques. AVP-21D9 (10 mg/kg) completely protected both rabbit strains against lethal infection with Bacillus anthracis Ames spores, regardless of the inoculation method. Further, all but one of the passively immunized animals (23/24) were completely resistant to rechallenge with spores by either respiratory challenge method at 5 weeks after primary challenge. Analysis of the sera at 5 weeks after primary challenge showed that residual human anti-PA levels decreased by 85 to 95%, but low titers of rabbit-specific anti-PA titers were also measured. Both sources of anti-PA could have contributed to protection from rechallenge. In a subsequent study, bacteriological and histopathology analyses revealed that B. anthracis disseminated to the bloodstream in some naïve animals as early as 24 h postchallenge and increased in frequency with time. AVP-21D9 significantly reduced the dissemination of the bacteria to the bloodstream and to various organs following infection. Examination of tissue sections from infected control animals, stained with hematoxylin-eosin and the Gram stain, showed edema and/or hemorrhage in the lungs and the presence of bacteria in mediastinal lymph nodes, with necrosis and inflammation. Tissue sections from infected rabbits dosed with AVP-21D9 appeared comparable to corresponding tissues from uninfected animals despite lethal challenge with B. anthracis Ames spores. Concomitant treatment with AVP-21D9 at the time of challenge conferred complete protection in the rabbit inhalation anthrax model. Early treatment increased the efficacy progressively and in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, AVP-21D9 could offer an adjunct or alternative clinical treatment regimen against inhalation anthrax. PMID:17452469

  12. Human Monoclonal Antibody AVP-21D9 to Protective Antigen Reduces Dissemination of the Bacillus anthracis Ames Strain from the Lungs in a Rabbit Model▿

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, Johnny W.; Comer, Jason E.; Baze, Wallace B.; Noffsinger, David M.; Wenglikowski, Autumn; Walberg, Kristin G.; Hardcastle, Jason; Pawlik, Jennifer; Bush, Kathryn; Taormina, Joanna; Moen, Scott; Thomas, John; Chatuev, Bagram M.; Sower, Laurie; Chopra, Ashok K.; Stanberry, Lawrence R.; Sawada, Ritsuko; Scholz, Wolfgang W.; Sircar, Jagadish

    2007-01-01

    Dutch-belted and New Zealand White rabbits were passively immunized with AVP-21D9, a human monoclonal antibody to protective antigen (PA), at the time of Bacillus anthracis spore challenge using either nasal instillation or aerosol challenge techniques. AVP-21D9 (10 mg/kg) completely protected both rabbit strains against lethal infection with Bacillus anthracis Ames spores, regardless of the inoculation method. Further, all but one of the passively immunized animals (23/24) were completely resistant to rechallenge with spores by either respiratory challenge method at 5 weeks after primary challenge. Analysis of the sera at 5 weeks after primary challenge showed that residual human anti-PA levels decreased by 85 to 95%, but low titers of rabbit-specific anti-PA titers were also measured. Both sources of anti-PA could have contributed to protection from rechallenge. In a subsequent study, bacteriological and histopathology analyses revealed that B. anthracis disseminated to the bloodstream in some naïve animals as early as 24 h postchallenge and increased in frequency with time. AVP-21D9 significantly reduced the dissemination of the bacteria to the bloodstream and to various organs following infection. Examination of tissue sections from infected control animals, stained with hematoxylin-eosin and the Gram stain, showed edema and/or hemorrhage in the lungs and the presence of bacteria in mediastinal lymph nodes, with necrosis and inflammation. Tissue sections from infected rabbits dosed with AVP-21D9 appeared comparable to corresponding tissues from uninfected animals despite lethal challenge with B. anthracis Ames spores. Concomitant treatment with AVP-21D9 at the time of challenge conferred complete protection in the rabbit inhalation anthrax model. Early treatment increased the efficacy progressively and in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, AVP-21D9 could offer an adjunct or alternative clinical treatment regimen against inhalation anthrax. PMID:17452469

  13. 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.

  14. Simultaneous real-time PCR detection of Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis.

    PubMed

    Skottman, T; Piiparinen, H; Hyytiäinen, H; Myllys, V; Skurnik, M; Nikkari, S

    2007-03-01

    This report describes the development of in-house real-time PCR assays using minor groove binding probes for simultaneous detection of the Bacillus anthracis pag and cap genes, the Francisella tularensis 23 KDa gene, as well as the Yersinia pestis pla gene. The sensitivities of these assays were at least 1 fg, except for the assay targeting the Bacillus anthracis cap gene, which showed a sensitivity of 10 fg when total DNA was used as a template in a serial dilution. The clinical value of the Bacillus anthracis- and Francisella tularensis-specific assays was demonstrated by successful amplification of DNA from cases of cow anthrax and hare tularemia, respectively. No cross-reactivity between these species-specific assays or with 39 other bacterial species was noted. These assays may provide a rapid tool for the simultaneous detection and identification of the three category A bacterial species listed as biological threats by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PMID:17294160

  15. 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

  16. Transient lipopolysaccharide-induced resistance to aerosolized Bacillus anthracis in New Zealand white rabbits.

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. The central nervous system as target of Bacillus anthracis toxin independent virulence in rabbits and guinea pigs.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    Infection of the central nervous system is considered a complication of Anthrax and was reported in humans and non-human primates. Previously we have reported that Bacillus anthracis possesses a toxin-independent virulent trait that, like the toxins, is regulated by the major virulence regulator, AtxA, in the presence of pXO2. This toxin-independent lethal trait is exhibited in rabbits and Guinea pigs following significant bacteremia and organ dissemination. Various findings, including meningitis seen in humans and primates, suggested that the CNS is a possible target for this AtxA-mediated activity. In order to penetrate into the brain tissue, the bacteria have to overcome the barriers isolating the CNS from the blood stream. Taking a systematic genetic approach, we compared intracranial (IC) inoculation and IV/SC inoculation for the outcome of the infection in rabbits/GP, respectively. The outstanding difference between the two models is exhibited by the encapsulated strain VollumΔpXO1, which is lethal when injected IC, but asymptomatic when inoculated IV/SC. The findings demonstrate that there is an apparent bottleneck in the ability of mutants to penetrate into the brain. Any mutant carrying either pXO1 or pXO2 will kill the host upon IC injection, but only those carrying AtxA either on pXO1 or in the chromosome in the background of pXO2 can penetrate into the brain following peripheral inoculation. The findings were corroborated by histological examination by H&E staining and immunofluorescence of rabbits' brains following IV and IC inoculations. These findings may have major implications on future research both on B. anthracis pathogenicity and on vaccine development.

  20. The poly-γ-d-glutamic acid capsule surrogate of the Bacillus anthracis capsule induces nitric oxide production via the platelet activating factor receptor signaling pathway.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hae-Ri; Jeon, Jun Ho; Park, Ok-Kyu; Chun, Jeong-Hoon; Park, Jungchan; Rhie, Gi-Eun

    2015-12-01

    The poly-γ-d-glutamic acid (PGA) capsule, a major virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis, confers protection of the bacillus from phagocytosis and allows its unimpeded growth in the host. PGA capsules released from B. anthracis are associated with lethal toxin in the blood of experimentally infected animals and enhance the cytotoxic effect of lethal toxin on macrophages. In addition, PGA capsule itself activates macrophages and dendritic cells to produce proinflammatory cytokine such as IL-1β, indicating multiple roles of PGA capsule in anthrax pathogenesis. Here we report that PGA capsule of Bacillus licheniformis, a surrogate of B. anthracis capsule, induces production of nitric oxide (NO) in RAW264.7 cells and bone marrow-derived macrophages. NO production was induced by PGA in a dose-dependent manner and was markedly reduced by inhibitors of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), suggesting iNOS-dependent production of NO. Induction of NO production by PGA was not observed in macrophages from TLR2-deficient mice and was also substantially inhibited in RAW264.7 cells by pretreatment of TLR2 blocking antibody. Subsequently, the downstream signaling events such as ERK, JNK and p38 of MAPK pathways as well as NF-κB activation were required for PGA-induced NO production. In addition, the induced NO production was significantly suppressed by treatment with antagonists of platelet activating factor receptor (PAFR) or PAFR siRNA, and mediated through PAFR/Jak2/STAT-1 signaling pathway. These findings suggest that PGA capsule induces NO production in macrophages by triggering both TLR2 and PAFR signaling pathways which lead to activation of NF-kB and STAT-1, respectively.

  1. The worldwide distribution of genetically and phylogenetically diverse Bacillus cereus isolates harbouring Bacillus anthracis-like plasmids.

    PubMed

    Kaminska, Paulina Sylwia; Yernazarova, Aliya; Drewnowska, Justyna Malgorzata; Zambrowski, Grzegorz; Swiecicka, Izabela

    2015-10-01

    Bacillus cereus is a close relative of B. anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax whose pathogenic determinants are located on pXO1 and pXO2 plasmids. Bacillus anthracis-like plasmids have been also noted among B. cereus, however, genetic features of B. cereus harbouring these elements remain largely undescribed, especially from the global perspective. Herein, we present the genetic polymorphism, population structure and phylogeny of B. cereus with pXO1-/pXO2-like plasmids originating from Argentina, Kazakhstan, Kenya and Poland. The plasmids were found in about 17% of the isolates, but their frequencies and expression of replicons differed within and between populations. In the multi-locus sequence typing, the bacteria exhibited high genetic polymorphism reflected by 116 sequencing types, including 84 singletons and 10 clonal complexes, which mainly consisted of isolates of the same origin. The phylogenetic analysis of pXO1-/pXO2-like positive B. cereus isolates revealed six independent clades; in certain clades individual populations predominated. Generally, B. cereus with pXO1-/pXO2-like plasmids did not indicate the genetic relationship with B. anthracis, and cannot be classified into an evolutionary independent anthrax line within the B. cereus group. Our report is of a crucial importance for discovering the genetic specificity and evolution of B. cereus bacilli.

  2. 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

  3. Differential susceptibility of macrophage cell lines to Bacillus anthracis-Vollum 1B.

    PubMed

    Gutting, B W; Gaske, K S; Schilling, A S; Slaterbeck, A F; Sobota, L; Mackie, R S; Buhr, T L

    2005-03-01

    Bacillus anthracis (BA) is a spore forming bacterium and the causative agent of anthrax disease. Macrophages (Mphis) play a central role in anthrax disease. An important step in disease progression is the ability of BA to secrete lethal toxin (LeTx) that kills Mphis. LeTx is a heterodimer composed of protective antigen (PA) and lethal factor (LF). Researchers have shown that Mphi cell lines demonstrate differential susceptibility to purified LeTx; for example RAW264.7 and J774A.1 Mphis are sensitive to LeTx whereas IC-21 Mphis are resistant. Research has also suggested that exogenous factors, including other BA proteins, can influence the activity of LeTx. For this reason, the objective of the current work was to examine if RAW264.7, J774A.1, and IC-21 Mphis demonstrated differential susceptibility when cultured with a LeTx-producing strain of BA. Here, we co-cultured Mphis with LeTx+ Vollum 1B (V1B) spores for >15 h and assayed for Mphi cell death by morphology, trypan blue (TB) staining, neutral red (NR) activity, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in the culture media. Following the addition of V1B spores, necrosis (approximately 50% mortality) was observed in RAW264.7 and J774A.1 Mphis at 7.5 and 10 h, respectively. By 15 h, both RAW264.7 and J774A.1 Mphis demonstrated 100% mortality. In contrast, IC-21 Mphis, under identical culture conditions, remained viable (98%) and activated throughout the course of the experiment (>24 h). The mechanism of RAW264.7 cell death appeared to involve LeTx because the V1B-induced cytotoxicity was dose-dependently reversed by the addition of anti-PA antibody to the culture media. These observations suggest there is differential susceptibility of Mphi cell lines to the LeTx+ V1B strain of BA. Further development of this in vitro model may be useful to further characterize the interactions between Mphis and BA spores. PMID:15649636

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Summary 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 (A, B or C) composed of leucine-rich repeats and are similar to toll-like receptors (TLRs) in structure, but antibodies (VLRB) and T cell receptors (VLRA, C) 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. PMID:22405006

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. HtrC is involved in proteolysis of YpeB during germination of Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis spores.

    PubMed

    Bernhards, Casey B; Chen, Yan; Toutkoushian, Hannah; Popham, David L

    2015-01-01

    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 Mn(2+) or Ca(2+) 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.

  1. 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

  2. Comparative analysis of the immunologic response induced by the Sterne 34F2 live spore Bacillus anthracis vaccine in a ruminant model.

    PubMed

    Ndumnego, Okechukwu C; Köhler, Susanne M; Crafford, Jannie; van Heerden, Henriette; Beyer, Wolfgang

    2016-10-01

    The Sterne 34F2 live spore vaccine (SLSV) developed in 1937 is the most widely used veterinary vaccine against anthrax. However, literature on the immunogenicity of this vaccine in a target ruminant host is scarce. In this study, we evaluated the humoral response to the Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (rPA), a recombinant bacillus collagen-like protein of anthracis (rBclA), formaldehyde inactivated spores (FIS) prepared from strain 34F2 and a vegetative antigen formulation prepared from a capsule and toxin deficient strain (CDC 1014) in Boer goats. The toxin neutralizing ability of induced antibodies was evaluated using an in vitro toxin neutralization assay. The protection afforded by the vaccine was also assessed in vaccinates. Anti-rPA, anti-FIS and lethal toxin neutralizing titres were superior after booster vaccinations, compared to single vaccinations. Qualitative analysis of humoral responses to rPA, rBclA and FIS antigens revealed a preponderance of anti-FIS IgG titres following either single or double vaccinations with the SLSV. Antibodies against FIS and rPA both increased by 350 and 300-fold following revaccinations respectively. There was no response to rBclA following vaccinations with the SLSV. Toxin neutralizing titres increased by 80-fold after single vaccination and 700-fold following a double vaccination. Lethal challenge studies in naïve goats indicated a minimum infective dose of 36 B. anthracis spores. Single and double vaccination with the SLSV protected 4/5 and 3/3 of goats challenged with>800 spores respectively. An early booster vaccination following the first immunization is suggested in order to achieve a robust immunity. Results from this study indicate that this crucial second vaccination can be administered as early as 3 months after the initial vaccination.

  3. Comparative analysis of the immunologic response induced by the Sterne 34F2 live spore Bacillus anthracis vaccine in a ruminant model.

    PubMed

    Ndumnego, Okechukwu C; Köhler, Susanne M; Crafford, Jannie; van Heerden, Henriette; Beyer, Wolfgang

    2016-10-01

    The Sterne 34F2 live spore vaccine (SLSV) developed in 1937 is the most widely used veterinary vaccine against anthrax. However, literature on the immunogenicity of this vaccine in a target ruminant host is scarce. In this study, we evaluated the humoral response to the Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (rPA), a recombinant bacillus collagen-like protein of anthracis (rBclA), formaldehyde inactivated spores (FIS) prepared from strain 34F2 and a vegetative antigen formulation prepared from a capsule and toxin deficient strain (CDC 1014) in Boer goats. The toxin neutralizing ability of induced antibodies was evaluated using an in vitro toxin neutralization assay. The protection afforded by the vaccine was also assessed in vaccinates. Anti-rPA, anti-FIS and lethal toxin neutralizing titres were superior after booster vaccinations, compared to single vaccinations. Qualitative analysis of humoral responses to rPA, rBclA and FIS antigens revealed a preponderance of anti-FIS IgG titres following either single or double vaccinations with the SLSV. Antibodies against FIS and rPA both increased by 350 and 300-fold following revaccinations respectively. There was no response to rBclA following vaccinations with the SLSV. Toxin neutralizing titres increased by 80-fold after single vaccination and 700-fold following a double vaccination. Lethal challenge studies in naïve goats indicated a minimum infective dose of 36 B. anthracis spores. Single and double vaccination with the SLSV protected 4/5 and 3/3 of goats challenged with>800 spores respectively. An early booster vaccination following the first immunization is suggested in order to achieve a robust immunity. Results from this study indicate that this crucial second vaccination can be administered as early as 3 months after the initial vaccination. PMID:27496738

  4. 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

  5. Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis. The most important bacterial warfare agents - review.

    PubMed

    Pohanka, M; Skládal, P

    2009-01-01

    There are three most important bacterial causative agents of serious infections that could be misused for warfare purposes: Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax) is the most frequently mentioned one; however, Fracisella tularensis (causing tularemia) and Yersinia pestis (the causative agent of plague) are further bacterial agents enlisted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into the category A of potential biological weapons. This review intends to summarize basic information about these bacterial agents. Military aspects of their pathogenesis and the detection techniques suitable for field use are discussed.

  6. Structure of a short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase from Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Hou, Jing; Wojciechowska, Kamila; Zheng, Heping; Chruszcz, Maksymilian; Cooper, David R.; Cymborowski, Marcin; Skarina, Tatiana; Gordon, Elena; Luo, Haibin; Savchenko, Alexei; Minor, Wladek

    2012-01-01

    The crystal structure of a short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase from Bacillus anthracis strain ‘Ames Ancestor’ complexed with NADP has been determined and refined to 1.87 Å resolution. The structure of the enzyme consists of a Rossmann fold composed of seven parallel β-strands sandwiched by three α-­helices on each side. An NADP molecule from an endogenous source is bound in the conserved binding pocket in the syn conformation. The loop region responsible for binding another substrate forms two perpendicular short helices connected by a sharp turn. PMID:22684058

  7. 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

  8. Ca-asp bound X-ray structure and inhibition of Bacillus anthracis dihydroorotase (DHOase).

    PubMed

    Rice, Amy J; Lei, Hao; Santarsiero, Bernard D; Lee, Hyun; Johnson, Michael E

    2016-10-01

    Dihydroorotase (DHOase) is the third enzyme in the de novo pyrimidine synthesis pathway and is responsible for the reversible cyclization of carbamyl-aspartate (Ca-asp) to dihydroorotate (DHO). DHOase is further divided into two classes based on several structural characteristics, one of which is the length of the flexible catalytic loop that interacts with the substrate, Ca-asp, regulating the enzyme activity. Here, we present the crystal structure of Class I Bacillus anthracis DHOase with Ca-asp in the active site, which shows the peptide backbone of glycine in the shorter loop forming the necessary hydrogen bonds with the substrate, in place of the two threonines found in Class II DHOases. Despite the differences in the catalytic loop, the structure confirms that the key interactions between the substrate and active site residues are similar between Class I and Class II DHOase enzymes, which we further validated by mutagenesis studies. B. anthracis DHOase is also a potential antibacterial drug target. In order to identify prospective inhibitors, we performed high-throughput screening against several libraries using a colorimetric enzymatic assay and an orthogonal fluorescence thermal binding assay. Surface plasmon resonance was used for determining binding affinity (KD) and competition analysis with Ca-asp. Our results highlight that the primary difference between Class I and Class II DHOase is the catalytic loop. We also identify several compounds that can potentially be further optimized as potential B. anthracis inhibitors.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Optimization of a sample processing protocol for recovery of Bacillus anthracis spores from soil

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Silvestri, Erin E.; Feldhake, David; Griffin, Dale; Lisle, John T.; Nichols, Tonya L.; Shah, Sanjiv; Pemberton, A; Schaefer III, Frank W

    2016-01-01

    Following a release of Bacillus anthracis spores into the environment, there is a potential for lasting environmental contamination in soils. There is a need for detection protocols for B. anthracis in environmental matrices. However, identification of B. anthracis within a soil is a difficult task. Processing soil samples helps to remove debris, chemical components, and biological impurities that can interfere with microbiological detection. This study aimed to optimize a previously used indirect processing protocol, which included a series of washing and centrifugation steps. Optimization of the protocol included: identifying an ideal extraction diluent, variation in the number of wash steps, variation in the initial centrifugation speed, sonication and shaking mechanisms. The optimized protocol was demonstrated at two laboratories in order to evaluate the recovery of spores from loamy and sandy soils. The new protocol demonstrated an improved limit of detection for loamy and sandy soils over the non-optimized protocol with an approximate matrix limit of detection at 14 spores/g of soil. There were no significant differences overall between the two laboratories for either soil type, suggesting that the processing protocol will be robust enough to use at multiple laboratories while achieving comparable recoveries.

  12. Design and synthesis of aryl ether inhibitors of the Bacillus anthracis enoyl-ACP reductase.

    PubMed

    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

    2008-08-01

    The problem of increasing bacterial resistance to the current generation of antibiotics is well documented. Known resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus are becoming more prevalent, while the potential exists for developing drug-resistant pathogens for use as bioweapons, such as Bacillus anthracis. The biphenyl ether antibacterial agent, triclosan, exhibits broad-spectrum activity by targeting the fatty acid biosynthetic pathway through inhibition of enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (ENR) and provides a potential scaffold for the development of new, broad-spectrum antibiotics. We used a structure-based approach to develop novel aryl ether analogues of triclosan that target ENR, the product of the fabI gene, from B. 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 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 optimization that might be used to improve their potency.

  13. 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

  14. Use of molecular beacons and multi-allelic real-time PCR for detection of and discrimination between virulent Bacillus anthracis and other Bacillus isolates.

    PubMed

    Hadjinicolaou, Andreas V; Demetriou, Victoria L; Hezka, Johana; Beyer, Wolfgang; Hadfield, Ted L; Kostrikis, Leondios G

    2009-07-01

    The awareness of the threat of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of the disease anthrax, as a biowarfare and bioterrorism weapon has revived the development of new technologies for rapid and accurate detection of virulent isolates in environmental and clinical samples. Here we explore the utility of molecular beacon real-time PCR technology for detection of virulent Bacillus anthracis strains. Molecular beacons are nucleic acid probes with high specificity, that act as switches by emitting fluorescence when bound to their nucleotide sequence targets by means of altering their conformation. In this study, five molecular beacons targeting Bacillus anthracis capA, capB, capC, lef, and pag alleles were designed and used in five uniplex assays. Another molecular beacon targeting the Bacillus group chromosomal 16s rRNA allele was designed for use in a duplex assay with an internal PCR amplification control. The molecular beacons were used in a real-time PCR assay for the detection of and differentiation between virulent B. anthracis and other members of the B. cereus group at the molecular level. Various B. anthracis samples as well as other bacterial and human samples were used to demonstrate the sensitivity and specificity of this assay. Use of the molecular beacon real-time PCR technology should accelerate current efforts to swiftly detect B. anthracis strains and its virulence plasmids in clinical and environmental samples and may extend to the development of additional molecular beacon-based assays for the identification of other pathogenic agents or the identification of B. anthracis directly from clinical samples. PMID:19379778

  15. Use of molecular beacons and multi-allelic real-time PCR for detection of and discrimination between virulent Bacillus anthracis and other Bacillus isolates.

    PubMed

    Hadjinicolaou, Andreas V; Demetriou, Victoria L; Hezka, Johana; Beyer, Wolfgang; Hadfield, Ted L; Kostrikis, Leondios G

    2009-07-01

    The awareness of the threat of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of the disease anthrax, as a biowarfare and bioterrorism weapon has revived the development of new technologies for rapid and accurate detection of virulent isolates in environmental and clinical samples. Here we explore the utility of molecular beacon real-time PCR technology for detection of virulent Bacillus anthracis strains. Molecular beacons are nucleic acid probes with high specificity, that act as switches by emitting fluorescence when bound to their nucleotide sequence targets by means of altering their conformation. In this study, five molecular beacons targeting Bacillus anthracis capA, capB, capC, lef, and pag alleles were designed and used in five uniplex assays. Another molecular beacon targeting the Bacillus group chromosomal 16s rRNA allele was designed for use in a duplex assay with an internal PCR amplification control. The molecular beacons were used in a real-time PCR assay for the detection of and differentiation between virulent B. anthracis and other members of the B. cereus group at the molecular level. Various B. anthracis samples as well as other bacterial and human samples were used to demonstrate the sensitivity and specificity of this assay. Use of the molecular beacon real-time PCR technology should accelerate current efforts to swiftly detect B. anthracis strains and its virulence plasmids in clinical and environmental samples and may extend to the development of additional molecular beacon-based assays for the identification of other pathogenic agents or the identification of B. anthracis directly from clinical samples.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Sharp, Natasha J.; Molineux, Ian J.; Page, Martin A.

    2016-01-01

    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 viable B. 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 luxAB in 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 105 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 104 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

  1. Aerosolized Bacillus anthracis Infection in New Zealand White Rabbits: Natural History and Intravenous Levofloxacin Treatment

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    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 LD50 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

  2. A Bacillus anthracis Genome Sequence from the Sverdlovsk 1979 Autopsy Specimens

    PubMed Central

    Sahl, Jason W.; Pearson, Talima; Okinaka, Richard; Schupp, James M.; Gillece, John D.; Heaton, Hannah; Birdsell, Dawn; Hepp, Crystal; Fofanov, Viacheslav; Noseda, Ramón; Fasanella, Antonio; Hoffmaster, Alex; Wagner, David M.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Anthrax is a zoonotic disease that occurs naturally in wild and domestic animals but has been used by both state-sponsored programs and terrorists as a biological weapon. A Soviet industrial production facility in Sverdlovsk, USSR, proved deficient in 1979 when a plume of spores was accidentally released and resulted in one of the largest known human anthrax outbreaks. In order to understand this outbreak and others, we generated a Bacillus anthracis population genetic database based upon whole-genome analysis to identify all single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across a reference genome. Phylogenetic analysis has defined three major clades (A, B, and C), B and C being relatively rare compared to A. The A clade has numerous subclades, including a major polytomy named the trans-Eurasian (TEA) group. The TEA radiation is a dominant evolutionary feature of B. anthracis, with many contemporary populations having resulted from a large spatial dispersal of spores from a single source. Two autopsy specimens from the Sverdlovsk outbreak were deep sequenced to produce draft B. anthracis genomes. This allowed the phylogenetic placement of the Sverdlovsk strain into a clade with two Asian live vaccine strains, including the Russian Tsiankovskii strain. The genome was examined for evidence of drug resistance manipulation or other genetic engineering, but none was found. The Soviet Sverdlovsk strain genome is consistent with a wild-type strain from Russia that had no evidence of genetic manipulation during its industrial production. This work provides insights into the world’s largest biological weapons program and provides an extensive B. anthracis phylogenetic reference. PMID:27677796

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Cell-cycle arrest induced by the bacterial adenylate cyclase toxins from Bacillus anthracis and Bordetella pertussis

    PubMed Central

    Gray, Mary C.; Hewlett, Erik L.

    2014-01-01

    Summary Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin (ET) and Bordetella pertussis Adenylate Cyclase Toxin (ACT) enter host cells and produce cAMP. To understand the cellular consequences, we exposed J774 cells to these toxins at ng/ml (pM) concentrations, then followed cell number and changes in cell signaling pathways. Under these conditions, both toxins produce a concentration-dependent inhibition of cell proliferation without cytotoxicity. ET and ACT increase the proportion of cells in G1/G0 and reduce S-phase, such that a single addition of ET or ACT inhibits cell division for 3 to 6 days. Treatment with ET or ACT produces striking changes in proteins controlling cell cycle, including virtual elimination of phosphorylated ERK 1/2 and Cyclin D1 and increases in phospho-CREB and p27Kip1. Importantly, PD98059, a MEK inhibitor, elicits a comparable reduction in Cyclin D1 to that produced by the toxins and blocks proliferation. These data show that non-lethal concentrations of ET and ACT impose a prolonged block on the proliferation of J774 cells by impairment of the progression from G1/G0 to S-phase in a process involving cAMP-mediated increases in phospho-CREB and p27Kip1 and reductions in phospho-ERK 1/2 and Cyclin D1. This phenomenon represents a new mechanism by which these toxins affect host cells. PMID:20946259

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. Antibiotic Susceptibility and Molecular Diversity of Bacillus anthracis Strains in Chad: Detection of a New Phylogenetic Subgroup

    PubMed Central

    Maho, Angaya; Rossano, Alexandra; Hächler, Herbert; Holzer, Anita; Schelling, Esther; Zinsstag, Jakob; Hassane, Mahamat H.; Toguebaye, Bhen S.; Akakpo, Ayayi J.; Van Ert, Matthew; Keim, Paul; Kenefic, Leo; Frey, Joachim; Perreten, Vincent

    2006-01-01

    We genotyped 15 Bacillus anthracis isolates from Chad, Africa, using multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis and three additional direct-repeat markers. We identified two unique genotypes that represent a novel genetic lineage in the A cluster. Chadian isolates were susceptible to 11 antibiotics and free of 94 antibiotic resistance genes. PMID:16954291

  9. Gamma Irradiation Can Be Used To Inactivate Bacillus anthracis Spores without Compromising the Sensitivity of Diagnostic Assays▿

    PubMed Central

    Dauphin, Leslie A.; Newton, Bruce R.; Rasmussen, Max V.; Meyer, Richard F.; Bowen, Michael D.

    2008-01-01

    The use of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon in 2001 heightened awareness of the need for validated methods for the inactivation of B. anthracis spores. This study determined the gamma irradiation dose for inactivating virulent B. anthracis spores in suspension and its effects on real-time PCR and antigen detection assays. Strains representing eight genetic groups of B. anthracis were exposed to gamma radiation, and it was found that subjecting spores at a concentration of 107 CFU/ml to a dose of 2.5 × 106 rads resulted in a 6-log-unit reduction of spore viability. TaqMan real-time PCR analysis of untreated versus irradiated Ames strain (K1694) spores showed that treatment significantly enhanced the detection of B. anthracis chromosomal DNA targets but had no significant effect on the ability to detect targets on the pXO1 and pXO2 plasmids of B. anthracis. When analyzed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), irradiation affected the detection of B. anthracis spores in a direct ELISA but had no effect on the limit of detection in a sandwich ELISA. The results of this study showed that gamma irradiation-inactivated spores can be tested by real-time PCR or sandwich ELISA without decreasing the sensitivity of either type of assay. Furthermore, the results suggest that clinical and public health laboratories which test specimens for B. anthracis could potentially incorporate gamma irradiation into sample processing protocols without compromising the sensitivity of the B. anthracis assays. PMID:18515484

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2016-01-01

    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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Novel Strategies for Enhanced Removal of Persistent Bacillus anthracis Surrogates and Clostridium difficile Spores from Skin

    PubMed Central

    Nerandzic, Michelle M.; Rackaityte, Elze; Jury, Lucy A.; Eckart, Kevin; Donskey, Curtis J.

    2013-01-01

    Background Removing spores of Clostridium difficile and Bacillus anthracis from skin is challenging because they are resistant to commonly used antimicrobials and soap and water washing provides only modest efficacy. We hypothesized that hygiene interventions incorporating a sporicidal electrochemically generated hypochlorous acid solution (Vashe®) would reduce the burden of spores on skin. Methods Hands of volunteers were inoculated with non-toxigenic C. difficile spores or B. anthracis spore surrogates to assess the effectiveness of Vashe solution for reducing spores on skin. Reduction in spores was compared for Vashe hygiene interventions versus soap and water (control). To determine the effectiveness of Vashe solution for removal of C. difficile spores from the skin of patients with C. difficile infection (CDI), reductions in levels of spores on skin were compared for soap and water versus Vashe bed baths. Results Spore removal from hands was enhanced with Vashe soak (>2.5 log10 reduction) versus soap and water wash or soak (~2.0 log10 reduction; P <0.05) and Vashe wipes versus alcohol wipes (P <0.01). A combined approach of soap and water wash followed by soaking in Vashe removed >3.5 log10 spores from hands (P <0.01 compared to washing or soaking alone). Bed baths using soap and water (N =26 patients) did not reduce the percentage of positive skin cultures for CDI patients (64% before versus 57% after bathing; P =0.5), whereas bathing with Vashe solution (N =21 patients) significantly reduced skin contamination (54% before versus 8% after bathing; P =0.0001). Vashe was well-tolerated with no evidence of adverse effects on skin. Conclusions Vashe was safe and effective for reducing the burden of B. anthracis surrogates and C. difficile spores on hands. Bed baths with Vashe were effective for reducing C. difficile on skin. These findings suggest a novel strategy to reduce the burden of spores on skin. PMID:23844234

  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. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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. Structure determination of BA0150, a putative polysaccharide deacetylase from Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Strunk, Robert J; Piemonte, Katrina M; Petersen, Natasha M; Koutsioulis, Dimitris; Bouriotis, Vassilis; Perry, Kay; Cole, Kathryn E

    2014-02-01

    Polysaccharide deacetylases are bacterial enzymes that catalyze the deacetylation of acetylated sugars on the membranes of Gram-positive bacteria, allowing them to be unrecognized by host immune systems. Inhibition of these enzymes would disrupt such pathogenic defensive mechanisms and therefore offers a promising route for the development of novel antibiotic therapeutics. Here, the first X-ray crystal structure of BA0150, a putative polysaccharide deacetylase from Bacillus anthracis, is reported to 2.0 Å resolution. The overall structure maintains the conserved (α/β)8 fold that is characteristic of this family of enzymes. The lack of a catalytic metal ion and a distinctive metal-binding site, however, suggest that this enzyme is not a functional polysaccharide deacetylase.

  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. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Phage-based magnetostrictive-acoustic microbiosensors for detecting bacillus anthracis spores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wan, J.; Yang, H.; Lakshmanan, R. S.; Guntupalli, R.; Huang, S.; Hu, J.; Petrenko, V. A.; Chin, B. A.

    2006-05-01

    Magnetostrictive particles (MSPs) as biosensor platform have been developed recently. The principle of MSPs as sensor platform is the same as that of other acoustic wave devices, such as quartz crystal microbalance. In this paper, the fabrication, characterization and performance of phage-based MSP biosensors for detecting Bacillus anthracis spores are reported. A commercially available magnetostrictive alloy was utilized to fabricate the sensor platform. The phage was immobilized onto the MSPs using physical adsorption technology. The following performance of the phage-based MSP sensors will be presented: sensitivity, response time, longevity, specificity and binding efficacy. The performance of the sensors at static and dynamic conditions was characterized. The experimental results are confirmed by microscopy photographs. The excellent performance including high sensitivity and rapid response is demonstrated. More importantly, it is experimentally found that the phage-based MSP sensors have a much better longevity than antibody-based sensors.

  10. Large-Scale Production of Protective Antigen of Bacillus anthracis in Anaerobic Cultures1

    PubMed Central

    Puziss, Milton; Manning, Lee C.; Lynch, Joe W.; Barclay, Eugene; Abelow, Ira; Wright, George G.

    1963-01-01

    A production-proving test was described for the preparation, by the anaerobic culture method, of large volumes of culture filtrate containing immunologically potent protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis. The process consisted of the anaerobic culture of a selected production strain in a chemically defined medium. The culture was then clarified and sterilized by filtration through sintered-glass filters. The sterile culture filtrate was adsorbed onto a preformed aluminum hydroxide gel, and the stabilized gel-antigen complex was concentrated. The final product had high immunizing potency, as shown by both in vivo and in vitro assays, and was well tolerated in man. Stability of the product to accelerated aging was good, and storage at 4 C for 1 year caused only a minor loss in protective activity. Large volumes of the highly antigenic gel-adsorbed protective antigen were readily produced by the method described. Images FIG. 1 FIG. 2 PMID:13972634

  11. Decontamination Options for Bacillus anthracis-Contaminated Drinking Water Determined from Spore Surrogate Studies ▿

    PubMed Central

    Raber, Ellen; Burklund, Alison

    2010-01-01

    Five parameters were evaluated with surrogates of Bacillus anthracis spores to determine effective decontamination alternatives for use in a contaminated drinking water supply. The parameters were as follows: (i) type of Bacillus spore surrogate (B. thuringiensis or B. atrophaeus), (ii) spore concentration in suspension (102 and 106 spores/ml), (iii) chemical characteristics of the decontaminant (sodium dichloro-S-triazinetrione dihydrate [Dichlor], hydrogen peroxide, potassium peroxymonosulfate [Oxone], sodium hypochlorite, and VirkonS), (iv) decontaminant concentration (0.01% to 5%), and (v) exposure time to decontaminant (10 min to 1 h). Results from 138 suspension tests with appropriate controls are reported. Hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 5% and Dichlor or sodium hypochlorite at a concentration of 2% were highly 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 a 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 the EPA biocide standard of greater than a 6-log kill after a 10-min exposure time and at lower concentrations than typically reported for biocide use. Solutions of 5% VirkonS and Oxone were less effective as decontaminants than other options evaluated in this study and did not meet the EPA's efficacy standard for a biocide, although they were found to be as effective for concentrations of 102 spores/ml. Differences in methods and procedures reported by other investigators make quantitative comparisons among studies difficult. PMID:20709855

  12. Decontamination options for Bacillus anthracis-contaminated drinking water determined from spore surrogate studies.

    PubMed

    Raber, Ellen; Burklund, Alison

    2010-10-01

    Five parameters were evaluated with surrogates of Bacillus anthracis spores to determine effective decontamination alternatives for use in a contaminated drinking water supply. The parameters were as follows: (i) type of Bacillus spore surrogate (B. thuringiensis or B. atrophaeus), (ii) spore concentration in suspension (10(2) and 10(6) spores/ml), (iii) chemical characteristics of the decontaminant (sodium dichloro-S-triazinetrione dihydrate [Dichlor], hydrogen peroxide, potassium peroxymonosulfate [Oxone], sodium hypochlorite, and VirkonS), (iv) decontaminant concentration (0.01% to 5%), and (v) exposure time to decontaminant (10 min to 1 h). Results from 138 suspension tests with appropriate controls are reported. Hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 5% and Dichlor or sodium hypochlorite at a concentration of 2% were highly 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 a 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 the EPA biocide standard of greater than a 6-log kill after a 10-min exposure time and at lower concentrations than typically reported for biocide use. Solutions of 5% VirkonS and Oxone were less effective as decontaminants than other options evaluated in this study and did not meet the EPA's efficacy standard for a biocide, although they were found to be as effective for concentrations of 10(2) spores/ml. Differences in methods and procedures reported by other investigators make quantitative comparisons among studies difficult.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Immunization with a Recombinant, Pseudomonas fluorescens-Expressed, Mutant Form of Bacillus anthracis-Derived Protective Antigen Protects Rabbits from Anthrax Infection.

    PubMed

    Reed, Matthew D; Wilder, Julie A; Mega, William M; Hutt, Julie A; Kuehl, Philip J; Valderas, Michelle W; Chew, Lawrence L; Liang, Bertrand C; Squires, Charles H

    2015-01-01

    Protective antigen (PA), one of the components of the anthrax toxin, is the major component of human anthrax vaccine (Biothrax). Human anthrax vaccines approved in the United States and Europe consist of an alum-adsorbed or precipitated (respectively) supernatant material derived from cultures of toxigenic, non-encapsulated strains of Bacillus anthracis. Approved vaccination schedules in humans with either of these vaccines requires several booster shots and occasionally causes adverse injection site reactions. Mutant derivatives of the protective antigen that will not form the anthrax toxins have been described. We have cloned and expressed both mutant (PA SNKE167-ΔFF-315-E308D) and native PA molecules recombinantly and purified them. In this study, both the mutant and native PA molecules, formulated with alum (Alhydrogel), elicited high titers of anthrax toxin neutralizing anti-PA antibodies in New Zealand White rabbits. Both mutant and native PA vaccine preparations protected rabbits from lethal, aerosolized, B. anthracis spore challenge subsequent to two immunizations at doses of less than 1 μg.

  16. Immunization with a Recombinant, Pseudomonas fluorescens-Expressed, Mutant Form of Bacillus anthracis-Derived Protective Antigen Protects Rabbits from Anthrax Infection

    PubMed Central

    Reed, Matthew D.; Wilder, Julie A.; Mega, William M.; Hutt, Julie A.; Kuehl, Philip J.; Valderas, Michelle W.; Chew, Lawrence L.; Liang, Bertrand C.; Squires, Charles H.

    2015-01-01

    Protective antigen (PA), one of the components of the anthrax toxin, is the major component of human anthrax vaccine (Biothrax). Human anthrax vaccines approved in the United States and Europe consist of an alum-adsorbed or precipitated (respectively) supernatant material derived from cultures of toxigenic, non-encapsulated strains of Bacillus anthracis. Approved vaccination schedules in humans with either of these vaccines requires several booster shots and occasionally causes adverse injection site reactions. Mutant derivatives of the protective antigen that will not form the anthrax toxins have been described. We have cloned and expressed both mutant (PA SNKE167-ΔFF-315-E308D) and native PA molecules recombinantly and purified them. In this study, both the mutant and native PA molecules, formulated with alum (Alhydrogel), elicited high titers of anthrax toxin neutralizing anti-PA antibodies in New Zealand White rabbits. Both mutant and native PA vaccine preparations protected rabbits from lethal, aerosolized, B. anthracis spore challenge subsequent to two immunizations at doses of less than 1 μg. PMID:26207820

  17. Late-Exponential Gene Expression in codY-Deficient Bacillus anthracis in a Host-Like Environment.

    PubMed

    Kim, Se Kye; Jung, Kyoung Hwa; Yoon, Sung Nyo; Kim, Yun Ki; Chai, Young Gyu

    2016-11-01

    CodY is a pleiotropic regulator commonly found in Gram-positive bacteria and regulates various biological processes during the stringent response in a nutrient-limiting environment. CodY also participates in virulence factor expression in many low G+C Gram-positive pathogens, as observed in Bacillus anthracis. However, the mechanism by which B. anthracis CodY regulates metabolism and virulence factors in response to environmental changes is unclear. Here, we attempted to identify the link between CodY and B. anthracis regulation with codY-deficient and codY-overexpressing mutants using high-throughput transcriptional analysis. Growth pattern analyses of codY mutants in both rich and minimal media showed defects in early cell proliferation, with opposite patterns in the early stationary phase: CodY overexpression prolonged bacterial growth, whereas deletion inhibited growth. RNA sequencing of codY-deficient B. anthracis showed both positive and negative changes in the gene expression of proteases and virulence factors as well as genes related to stringent response-related metabolism and biosynthetic processing. We also found that changes in codY expression could alter virulence gene expression of B. anthracis, suggesting modes of regulation in its virulence in a CodY concentration-dependent manner. Collectively, we conclude from these results that CodY can both positively and negatively regulate its regulon via direct and/or indirect approaches, and that its mode of regulation may be concentration dependent.

  18. 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

  19. Use of Two Selective Media and a Broth Motility Test Can Aid in Identification or Exclusion of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Luna, Vicki A.; Peak, K. Kealy; Veguilla, William O.; Reeves, Frank; Heberlein-Larson, Lea; Cannons, Andrew C.; Amuso, Phil; Cattani, Jacqueline

    2005-01-01

    During the anthrax attack of 2001, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Bureau of Laboratories in Tampa received hundreds of isolates suspected of being Bacillus anthracis. None were confirmed to be B. anthracis since most isolates were motile and not even in the Bacillus cereus group. Although the sentinel laboratories now send fewer isolates to FDOH laboratories, should another attack occur the number of isolates submitted would likely increase dramatically, and this upsurge would seriously challenge personnel who are expected to be busy examining an increased number of environmental samples. We examined two selective and differential growth media and alternative motility methods that could be used to streamline the processing of suspicious isolates. Of 60 isolates previously sent to the FDOH laboratory, 56 were endospore-forming gram-positive rods and only 7 grew on mannitol-egg yolk-polymyxin B agar and/or the Anthracis chromogenic agar. Microscopic observation of early-log-phase growth (2 to 3 h) in a shaking broth was the best method to detect motility in 40 isolates that appeared nonmotile in the motility media investigated. One of these growth media and microscopic examination of shaken broth cultures can be used to show that an isolate is not B. anthracis before expensive molecular and antibody-based tests are performed. By doing so, costs could be reduced and analysis time shortened. PMID:16145074

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. High-Throughput, Single-Cell Analysis of Macrophage Interactions with Fluorescently Labeled Bacillus anthracis Spores▿

    PubMed Central

    Stojkovic, Bojana; Torres, Eric M.; Prouty, Angela M.; Patel, Hetal K.; Zhuang, Lefan; Koehler, Theresa M.; Ballard, Jimmy D.; Blanke, Steven R.

    2008-01-01

    The engulfment of Bacillus anthracis spores by macrophages is an important step in the pathogenesis of inhalational anthrax. However, from a quantitative standpoint, the magnitude to which macrophages interact with and engulf spores remains poorly understood, in part due to inherent limitations associated with commonly used assays. To analyze phagocytosis of spores by RAW264.7 macrophage-like cells in a high-throughput, nonsubjective manner, we labeled B. anthracis Sterne 7702 spores prior to infection with an Alexa Fluor 488 amine-reactive dye in a manner that did not alter their germination, growth kinetics, and heat resistance. Using flow cytometry, large numbers of cells exposed to labeled spores were screened to concurrently discriminate infected from uninfected cells and surface-associated from internalized spores. These experiments revealed that spore uptake was not uniform, but instead, highly heterogeneous and characterized by subpopulations of infected and uninfected cells, as well as considerable variation in the number of spores associated with individual cells. Flow cytometry analysis of infections demonstrated that spore uptake was independent of the presence or absence of fetal bovine serum, a germinant that, while routinely used in vitro, complicates the interpretation of the outcome of infections. Two commonly used macrophage cell lines, RAW264.7 and J774A.1 cells, were compared, revealing significant disparity between these two models in the rates of phagocytosis of labeled spores. These studies provide the experimental framework for investigating mechanisms of spore phagocytosis, as well as quantitatively evaluating strategies for interfering with macrophage binding and uptake of spores. PMID:18552183

  3. Generation of a novel chimeric PALFn antigen of Bacillus anthracis and its immunological characterization in mouse model.

    PubMed

    Suryanarayana, Nagendra; Verma, Monika; Thavachelvam, Kulanthaivel; Saxena, Nandita; Mankere, Bharti; Tuteja, Urmil; Hmuaka, Vanlal

    2016-10-01

    Bacillus anthracis chimeric molecule PALFn, comprising the immunodominant domains of protective antigen (PA) and lethal factor (LF), has been developed in the past and has been shown to confer enhanced protection against anthrax in mouse model when challenged with anthrax lethal toxin (LeTx). However, the immunological correlates for this chimeric antigen, both in terms of humoral as well as cell-mediated immune responses, have not been described in detail. To address this gap, we have determined the immunological responses both at humoral as well as cellular levels for the protection conferred by the novel chimeric antigen PALFn constructed in our laboratory in comparison to PA antigen. The biological functionality of the chimeric antigen was ascertained by the trypsin digestion assay. The trypsin cleavage activated the functionality of PALFn and rendered it to interact and bind with the LF molecule. Similarly, the LFn component in the chimera could independently interact and bind to the trypsin-activated wild-type PA. Further, it was observed that the PALFn-immunized mice sera could readily react to both PA and LF antigens while PA-immunized mice sera showed reaction to PA and PALFn alone and not to the individual LF antigen. The in vitro toxin neutralizing ability of PALFn antisera on macrophage cell line J774.1 was robust but with 1.3-fold lesser titer than PA-immunized antisera. PALFn-immunized mouse splenocytes showed a significant lymphocyte proliferation when stimulated with PALFn. There was a remarkable increase in the level of interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-4 (IL-4), interleukin 10 (IL-10), interferon-γ (IFN- γ), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) from PALFn- and PA-stimulated splenocytes. In addition, there was a significant increase in antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell counts from both PALFn- and PA-immunized mouse splenocytes. The results clearly demonstrate the ability of chimeric molecule PALFn in eliciting robust humoral and cell

  4. Technical Note: Simple, scalable, and sensitive protocol for retrieving Bacillus anthracis (and other live bacteria) from heroin.

    PubMed

    Grass, Gregor; Ahrens, Bjoern; Schleenbecker, Uwe; Dobrzykowski, Linda; Wagner, Matthias; Krüger, Christian; Wölfel, Roman

    2016-02-01

    We describe a culture-based method suitable for isolating Bacillus anthracis and other live bacteria from heroin. This protocol was developed as a consequence of the bioforensic need to retrieve bacteria from batches of the drug associated with cases of injectional anthrax among heroin-consumers in Europe. This uncommon manifestation of infection with the notorious pathogen B. anthracis has resulted in 26 deaths between the years 2000 to 2013. Thus far, no life disease agent has been isolated from heroin during forensic investigations surrounding these incidences. Because of the conjectured very small number of disease-causing endospores in the contaminated drug it is likely that too few target sequences are available for molecular genetic analysis. Therefore, a direct culture-based approach was chosen here. Endospores of attenuated B. anthracis artificially spiked into heroin were successfully retrieved at 84-98% recovery rates using a wash solution consisting of 0.5% Tween 20 in water. Using this approach, 82 samples of un-cut heroin originating from the German Federal Criminal Police Office's heroin analysis program seized during the period between 2000 and 2014 were tested and found to be surprisingly poor in retrievable bacteria. Notably, while no B. anthracis was isolated from the drug batches, other bacteria were successfully cultured. The resulting methodical protocol is therefore suitable for analyzing un-cut heroin which can be anticipated to comprise the original microbiota from the drug's original source without interference from contaminations introduced by cutting. PMID:26734987

  5. Bacillus anthracis Diversity and Geographic Potential across Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad: Further Support of a Novel West African Lineage

    PubMed Central

    Blackburn, Jason K.; Odugbo, Moses Ode; Van Ert, Matthew; O’Shea, Bob; Mullins, Jocelyn; Perrenten, Vincent; Maho, Angaya; Hugh-Jones, Martin; Hadfield, Ted

    2015-01-01

    Zoonoses, diseases affecting both humans and animals, can exert tremendous pressures on human and veterinary health systems, particularly in resource limited countries. Anthrax is one such zoonosis of concern and is a disease requiring greater public health attention in Nigeria. Here we describe the genetic diversity of Bacillus anthracis in Nigeria and compare it to Chad, Cameroon and a broader global dataset based on the multiple locus variable number tandem repeat (MLVA-25) genetic typing system. Nigerian B. anthracis isolates had identical MLVA genotypes and could only be resolved by measuring highly mutable single nucleotide repeats (SNRs). The Nigerian MLVA genotype was identical or highly genetically similar to those in the neighboring countries, confirming the strains belong to this unique West African lineage. Interestingly, sequence data from a Nigerian isolate shares the anthrose deficient genotypes previously described for strains in this region, which may be associated with vaccine evasion. Strains in this study were isolated over six decades, indicating a high level of temporal strain stability regionally. Ecological niche models were used to predict the geographic distribution of the pathogen for all three countries. We describe a west-east habitat corridor through northern Nigeria extending into Chad and Cameroon. Ecological niche models and genetic results show B. anthracis to be ecologically established in Nigeria. These findings expand our understanding of the global B. anthracis population structure and can guide regional anthrax surveillance and control planning. PMID:26291625

  6. Bacillus anthracis Diversity and Geographic Potential across Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad: Further Support of a Novel West African Lineage.

    PubMed

    Blackburn, Jason K; Odugbo, Moses Ode; Van Ert, Matthew; O'Shea, Bob; Mullins, Jocelyn; Perreten, Vincent; Perrenten, Vincent; Maho, Angaya; Hugh-Jones, Martin; Hadfield, Ted

    2015-01-01

    Zoonoses, diseases affecting both humans and animals, can exert tremendous pressures on human and veterinary health systems, particularly in resource limited countries. Anthrax is one such zoonosis of concern and is a disease requiring greater public health attention in Nigeria. Here we describe the genetic diversity of Bacillus anthracis in Nigeria and compare it to Chad, Cameroon and a broader global dataset based on the multiple locus variable number tandem repeat (MLVA-25) genetic typing system. Nigerian B. anthracis isolates had identical MLVA genotypes and could only be resolved by measuring highly mutable single nucleotide repeats (SNRs). The Nigerian MLVA genotype was identical or highly genetically similar to those in the neighboring countries, confirming the strains belong to this unique West African lineage. Interestingly, sequence data from a Nigerian isolate shares the anthrose deficient genotypes previously described for strains in this region, which may be associated with vaccine evasion. Strains in this study were isolated over six decades, indicating a high level of temporal strain stability regionally. Ecological niche models were used to predict the geographic distribution of the pathogen for all three countries. We describe a west-east habitat corridor through northern Nigeria extending into Chad and Cameroon. Ecological niche models and genetic results show B. anthracis to be ecologically established in Nigeria. These findings expand our understanding of the global B. anthracis population structure and can guide regional anthrax surveillance and control planning.

  7. Detection of Bacillus anthracis spores by super-paramagnetic lateral-flow immunoassays based on "Road Closure".

    PubMed

    Wang, Dian-Bing; Tian, Bo; Zhang, Zhi-Ping; Wang, Xu-Ying; Fleming, Joy; Bi, Li-Jun; Yang, Rui-Fu; Zhang, Xian-En

    2015-05-15

    Detection of Bacillus anthracis in the field, whether as a natural infection or as a biothreat remains challenging. Here we have developed a new lateral-flow immunochromatographic assay (LFIA) for B. anthracis spore detection based on the fact that conjugates of B. anthracis spores and super-paramagnetic particles labeled with antibodies will block the pores of chromatographic strips and form retention lines on the strips, instead of the conventionally reported test lines and control lines in classic LFIA. As a result, this new LFIA can simultaneously realize optical, magnetic and naked-eye detection by analyzing signals from the retention lines. As few as 500-700 pure B. anthracis spores can be recognized with CV values less than 8.31% within 5 min of chromatography and a total time of 20 min. For powdery sample tests, this LFIA can endure interference from 25% (w/v) milk, 10% (w/v) baking soda and 10% (w/v) starch without any sample pre-treatment, and has a corresponding detection limit of 6×10(4) spores/g milk powder, 2×10(5) spores/g starch and 5×10(5) spores/g baking soda. Compared with existing methods, this new approach is very competitive in terms of sensitivity, specificity, cost and ease of operation. This proof-of-concept study can also be extended for detection of many other large-sized analytes. PMID:25294802

  8. Identification of capsule-forming Bacillus anthracis spores with the PCR and a novel dual-probe hybridization format.

    PubMed Central

    Reif, T C; Johns, M; Pillai, S D; Carl, M

    1994-01-01

    Anthrax is a fatal infection of humans and livestock that is caused by the gram-positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The virulent strains of B. anthracis are encapsulated and toxigenic. In this paper we describe the development of a PCR technique for identifying spores of B. anthracis. Two 20-mer oligonucleotide primers specific for the capB region of 60-MDa plasmid pXO2 were used for amplification. The amplification products were detected by using biotin- and fluorescein-labeled probes in a novel dual-probe hybridization format. Using the combination of PCR amplification and dual-probe hybridization, we detected two copies of the bacterial genome. Because the PCR assay could detect a minimum of 100 unprocessed spores per PCR mixture, we attempted to facilitate the release of DNA by comparing the effect of limited spore germination with the effect of mechanical spore disruption prior to PCR amplification. The two methods were equally effective and allowed us to identify single spores of B. anthracis in PCR mixtures. Images PMID:8017940

  9. Detection of Bacillus anthracis spores by super-paramagnetic lateral-flow immunoassays based on "Road Closure".

    PubMed

    Wang, Dian-Bing; Tian, Bo; Zhang, Zhi-Ping; Wang, Xu-Ying; Fleming, Joy; Bi, Li-Jun; Yang, Rui-Fu; Zhang, Xian-En

    2015-05-15

    Detection of Bacillus anthracis in the field, whether as a natural infection or as a biothreat remains challenging. Here we have developed a new lateral-flow immunochromatographic assay (LFIA) for B. anthracis spore detection based on the fact that conjugates of B. anthracis spores and super-paramagnetic particles labeled with antibodies will block the pores of chromatographic strips and form retention lines on the strips, instead of the conventionally reported test lines and control lines in classic LFIA. As a result, this new LFIA can simultaneously realize optical, magnetic and naked-eye detection by analyzing signals from the retention lines. As few as 500-700 pure B. anthracis spores can be recognized with CV values less than 8.31% within 5 min of chromatography and a total time of 20 min. For powdery sample tests, this LFIA can endure interference from 25% (w/v) milk, 10% (w/v) baking soda and 10% (w/v) starch without any sample pre-treatment, and has a corresponding detection limit of 6×10(4) spores/g milk powder, 2×10(5) spores/g starch and 5×10(5) spores/g baking soda. Compared with existing methods, this new approach is very competitive in terms of sensitivity, specificity, cost and ease of operation. This proof-of-concept study can also be extended for detection of many other large-sized analytes.

  10. Bacillus anthracis-Like Bacteria and Other B. cereus Group Members in a Microbial Community Within the International Space Station: A Challenge for Rapid and Easy Molecular Detection of Virulent B. anthracis

    PubMed Central

    van Tongeren, Sandra P.; Roest, Hendrik I. J.; Degener, John E.; Harmsen, Hermie J. M.

    2014-01-01

    For some microbial species, such as Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent of the disease anthrax, correct detection and identification by molecular methods can be problematic. The detection of virulent B. anthracis is challenging due to multiple virulence markers that need to be present in order for B. anthracis to be virulent and its close relationship to Bacillus cereus and other members of the B. cereus group. This is especially the case in environments where build-up of Bacillus spores can occur and several representatives of the B. cereus group may be present, which increases the chance for false-positives. In this study we show the presence of B. anthracis-like bacteria and other members of the B. cereus group in a microbial community within the human environment of the International Space Station and their preliminary identification by using conventional culturing as well as molecular techniques including 16S rDNA sequencing, PCR and real-time PCR. Our study shows that when monitoring the microbial hygiene in a given human environment, health risk assessment is troublesome in the case of virulent B. anthracis, especially if this should be done with rapid, easy to apply and on-site molecular methods. PMID:24945323

  11. Bacillus anthracis-like bacteria and other B. cereus group members in a microbial community within the International Space Station: a challenge for rapid and easy molecular detection of virulent B. anthracis.

    PubMed

    van Tongeren, Sandra P; Roest, Hendrik I J; Degener, John E; Harmsen, Hermie J M

    2014-01-01

    For some microbial species, such as Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent of the disease anthrax, correct detection and identification by molecular methods can be problematic. The detection of virulent B. anthracis is challenging due to multiple virulence markers that need to be present in order for B. anthracis to be virulent and its close relationship to Bacillus cereus and other members of the B. cereus group. This is especially the case in environments where build-up of Bacillus spores can occur and several representatives of the B. cereus group may be present, which increases the chance for false-positives. In this study we show the presence of B. anthracis-like bacteria and other members of the B. cereus group in a microbial community within the human environment of the International Space Station and their preliminary identification by using conventional culturing as well as molecular techniques including 16S rDNA sequencing, PCR and real-time PCR. Our study shows that when monitoring the microbial hygiene in a given human environment, health risk assessment is troublesome in the case of virulent B. anthracis, especially if this should be done with rapid, easy to apply and on-site molecular methods.

  12. Targeted Mutations of Bacillus anthracis Dihydrofolate Reductase Condense Complex Structure-Activity Relationships

    SciTech Connect

    J Beierlein; N Karri; A Anderson

    2011-12-31

    Several antifolates, including trimethoprim (TMP) and a series of propargyl-linked analogues, bind dihydrofolate reductase from Bacillus anthracis (BaDHFR) with lower affinity than is typical in other bacterial species. To guide lead optimization for BaDHFR, we explored a new approach to determine structure-activity relationships whereby the enzyme is altered and the analogues remain constant, essentially reversing the standard experimental design. Active site mutants of the enzyme, Ba(F96I)DHFR and Ba(Y102F)DHFR, were created and evaluated with enzyme inhibition assays and crystal structures. The affinities of the antifolates increase up to 60-fold with the Y102F mutant, suggesting that interactions with Tyr 102 are critical for affinity. Crystal structures of the enzymes bound to TMP and propargyl-linked inhibitors reveal the basis of TMP resistance and illuminate the influence of Tyr 102 on the lipophilic linker between the pyrimidine and aryl rings. Two new inhibitors test and validate these conclusions and show the value of the technique for providing new directions during lead optimization.

  13. Cytidylyl- and Uridylyl Cyclase Activity of Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor and Bordetella pertussis CyaA

    PubMed Central

    Göttle, Martin; Dove, Stefan; Kees, Frieder; Schlossmann, Jens; Geduhn, Jens; König, Burkhard; Shen, Yuequan; Tang, Wei-Jen; Kaever, Volkhard; Seifert, Roland

    2010-01-01

    Cyclic adenosine 3′:5′-monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine 3′:5′-monophosphate (cGMP) are second messengers for a numerous mammalian cell functions. The natural occurrence and synthesis of a third cyclic nucleotide (cNMP), cyclic cytidine 3′:5′-monophosphate (cCMP) is discussed controversially, and almost nothing is known about cyclic uridine 3′:5′-monophosphate (cUMP). Bacillus anthracis and Bordetella pertussis secrete the adenylyl cyclase (AC) toxins edema factor (EF) and CyaA, respectively, weakening immune responses and facilitating bacterial proliferation. A cell-permeable cCMP analog inhibits human neutrophil superoxide production. Here, we report that EF and CyaA also possess cytidylyl cyclase (CC) and uridylyl cyclase (UC) activity. CC- and UC activity was determined by a radiometric assay, using [α-32P]CTP and [α-32P]UTP as substrates, respectively, and by an HPLC method. The identity of cNMPs was confirmed by mass spectrometry. Based on available crystal structures, we developed a model illustrating conversion of CTP to cCMP by bacterial toxins. In conclusion, we have shown both EF and CyaA have a rather broad substrate-specificity and exhibit cytidylyl- and uridylyl cyclase activity. Both cCMP and cUMP may contribute to toxin actions. PMID:20521845

  14. Intranasal immunization with protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis induces a long-term immunological memory response.

    PubMed

    Woo, Sun-Je; Kang, Seok-Seong; Park, Sung-Moo; Yang, Jae Seung; Song, Man Ki; Yun, Cheol-Heui; Han, Seung Hyun

    2015-10-01

    Although intranasal vaccination has been shown to be effective for the protection against inhalational anthrax, establishment of long-term immunity has yet to be achieved. Here, we investigated whether intranasal immunization with recombinant protective antigen (rPA) of Bacillus anthracis induces immunological memory responses in the mucosal and systemic compartments. Intranasal immunization with rPA plus cholera toxin (CT) sustained PA-specific antibody responses for 6 months in lung, nasal washes, and vaginal washes as well as serum. A significant induction of PA-specific memory B cells was observed in spleen, cervical lymph nodes (CLNs) and lung after booster immunization. Furthermore, intranasal immunization with rPA plus CT remarkably generated effector memory CD4(+) T cells in the lung. PA-specific CD4(+) T cells preferentially increased the expression of Th1- and Th17-type cytokines in lung, but not in spleen or CLNs. Collectively, the intranasal immunization with rPA plus CT promoted immunologic memory responses in the mucosal and systemic compartments, providing long-term immunity.

  15. Biochemical and structural analysis of an Eis family aminoglycoside acetyltransferase from bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Green, Keith D; Biswas, Tapan; Chang, Changsoo; Wu, Ruiying; Chen, Wenjing; Janes, Brian K; Chalupska, Dominika; Gornicki, Piotr; Hanna, Philip C; Tsodikov, Oleg V; Joachimiak, Andrzej; Garneau-Tsodikova, Sylvie

    2015-05-26

    Proteins from the enhanced intracellular survival (Eis) family are versatile acetyltransferases that acetylate amines at multiple positions of several aminoglycosides (AGs). Their upregulation confers drug resistance. Homologues of Eis are present in diverse bacteria, including many pathogens. Eis from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Eis_Mtb) has been well characterized. In this study, we explored the AG specificity and catalytic efficiency of the Eis family protein from Bacillus anthracis (Eis_Ban). Kinetic analysis of specificity and catalytic efficiency of acetylation of six AGs indicates that Eis_Ban displays significant differences from Eis_Mtb in both substrate binding and catalytic efficiency. The number of acetylated amines was also different for several AGs, indicating a distinct regiospecificity of Eis_Ban. Furthermore, most recently identified inhibitors of Eis_Mtb did not inhibit Eis_Ban, underscoring the differences between these two enzymes. To explain these differences, we determined an Eis_Ban crystal structure. The comparison of the crystal structures of Eis_Ban and Eis_Mtb demonstrates that critical residues lining their respective substrate binding pockets differ substantially, explaining their distinct specificities. Our results suggest that acetyltransferases of the Eis family evolved divergently to garner distinct specificities while conserving catalytic efficiency, possibly to counter distinct chemical challenges. The unique specificity features of these enzymes can be utilized as tools for developing AGs with novel modifications and help guide specific AG treatments to avoid Eis-mediated resistance. PMID:25928210

  16. The antibiotic sensitivity patterns of Bacillus anthracis isolated from the Kruger National Park.

    PubMed

    Odendaal, M W; Pieterson, P M; de Vos, V; Botha, A D

    1991-03-01

    Forty-four isolates of Bacillus anthracis made from carcasses and soil in different localities of an endemic anthrax area in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, were tested by standard disc diffusion for their susceptibility to 18 different antibiotics. These were ampicillin, penicillin G, sulphatriad, streptomycin, clindamycin, gentamicin, fusidic acid, trimethoprim, sulphamethoxazole, chloramphenicol, erythromycin, methicillin, tetracycline (2 different concentrations), novobiocin, cefotaxime, netilmicin, cefamandole and cefoxitin. All the isolates were susceptible to ampicillin, streptomycin, chloramphenicol, erythromycin, tetracycline, methicillin and netilmicin. More than 90% of the isolates were sensitive to clindamycin, gentamicin and cefoxitin, whereas only 84.1% of the isolates were sensitive to penicillin G, 86.4% to novobiocin and 68.18% to cefamandole. Complete resistance in 100% of the isolates was encountered with trimethoprim and sulphamethoxazole, with 95.45% for sulphatriad. Moderate sensitivity occurred with penicillin G (15.9% of the isolates), clindamycin (6.8%), novobiocin (13.6%), fusidic acid (84.1%), cefotaxime (100%), cefamandole (31.8%) and cefoxitin (6.8%). The relevance of the findings to the therapeutic uses of different types of antibiotic in human clinical cases referred to in the literature is discussed. PMID:1905000

  17. EsxB, a secreted protein from Bacillus anthracis forms two distinct helical bundles

    DOE PAGES

    Fan, Yao; Tan, Kemin; Chhor, Gekleng; Butler, Emily K.; Jedrzejczak, Robert P.; Missiakas, Dominique; Joachimiak, Andrzej

    2015-07-03

    The EsxB protein from Bacillus anthracis belongs to the WXG100 family, a group of proteins secreted by a specialized secretion system. We have determined the crystal structures of recombinant EsxB and discovered that the small protein (~10 kDa), comprised of a helix-loop-helix (HLH) hairpin, is capable of associating into two different helical bundles. The two basic quaternary assemblies of EsxB are an antiparallel (AP) dimer and a rarely observed bisecting U (BU) dimer. This structural duality of EsxB is believed to originate from the heptad repeat sequence diversity of the first helix of its HLH hairpin, which allows for twomore » alternative helix packing. The flexibility of EsxB and the ability to form alternative helical bundles underscore the possibility that this protein can serve as an adaptor in secretion and can form hetero-oligomeric helix bundle(s) with other secreted members of the WXG100 family, such as EsxW. The highly conserved WXG motif is located within the loop of the HLH hairpin and is mostly buried within the helix bundle suggesting that its role is mainly structural. The exact functions of the motif, including a proposed role as a secretion signal, remain unknown.« less

  18. First detection of Bacillus anthracis in feces of free-ranging raptors from central Argentina.

    PubMed

    Saggese, Miguel D; Noseda, Ramón P; Uhart, Marcela M; Deem, Sharon L; Ferreyra, Hebe; Romano, Marcelo C; Ferreyra-Armas, María C; Hugh-Jones, Martin

    2007-01-01

    Prevalence of anthrax spores in feces of raptors was determined from samples collected in November-December 2000 and April-May 2001 in an agricultural region of Santa Fé province, Argentina. Feces were tested from 48 birds of six raptor species. One of 14 chimango caracaras (Milvago chimango) and one of eight road-side hawks (Buteo magnirostris) tested positive. The prevalence of Bacillus anthracis spores in feces for the six species was 4% (n=48). The prevalence was 7% (n=14) for chimango caracaras, 13% for road-side hawks (n=8), and 0% for the remaining species (Burrowing owl [Speotyto cunicularia] [n=17], Swainson's hawk [Buteo swainsoni] [n=3], Aplomado falcon [Falco femoralis] [n=2], and American kestrel [Falco sparverius] [n=4]). Grouped by their feeding habits, prevalence for scavenger species was not significantly different than for predators (7% vs. 3%, P>0.999). This study provides evidence that in central Argentina scavenger and non-scavenger raptors may have a role in the epidemiology of anthrax. Long-term studies to determine the extent of this potential involvement in the epidemiology of anthrax in central Argentina are required.

  19. Biochemical characterization of alanine racemase--a spore protein produced by Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Kanodia, Shivani; Agarwal, Shivangi; Singh, Priyanka; Agarwal, Shivani; Singh, Preeti; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2009-01-31

    Alanine racemase catalyzes the interconversion of L-alanine and D-alanine and plays a crucial role in spore germination and cell wall biosynthesis. In this study, alanine racemase produced by Bacillus anthracis was expressed and purified as a monomer in Escherichia coli and the importance of lysine 41 in the cofactor binding octapeptide and tyrosine 270 in catalysis was evaluated. The native enzyme exhibited an apparent K(m) of 3 mM for L-alanine, and a V(max) of 295 micromoles/min/mg, with the optimum activity occurring at 37 degrees C and a pH of 8-9. The activity observed in the absence of exogenous pyridoxal 5'-phosphate suggested that the cofactor is bound to the enzyme. Additionally, the UV-visible absorption spectra indicated that the activity was pH independece, of VV-visible absorption spectra suggests that the bound PLP exists as a protonated Schiff's base. Furthermore, the loss of activity observed in the apoenzyme suggested that bound PLP is required for catalysis. Finally, the enzyme followed non-competitive and mixed inhibition kinetics for hydroxylamine and propionate with a K(i) of 160 microM and 30 mM, respectively. [BMB reports 2009; 42(1): 47-52]. PMID:19192393

  20. EsxB, a secreted protein from Bacillus anthracis forms two distinct helical bundles

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Yao; Tan, Kemin; Chhor, Gekleng; Butler, Emily K; Jedrzejczak, Robert P; Missiakas, Dominique; Joachimiak, Andrzej

    2015-01-01

    The EsxB protein from Bacillus anthracis belongs to the WXG100 family, a group of proteins secreted by a specialized secretion system. We have determined the crystal structures of recombinant EsxB and discovered that the small protein (∼10 kDa), comprised of a helix-loop-helix (HLH) hairpin, is capable of associating into two different helical bundles. The two basic quaternary assemblies of EsxB are an antiparallel (AP) dimer and a rarely observed bisecting U (BU) dimer. This structural duality of EsxB is believed to originate from the heptad repeat sequence diversity of the first helix of its HLH hairpin, which allows for two alternative helix packing. The flexibility of EsxB and the ability to form alternative helical bundles underscore the possibility that this protein can serve as an adaptor in secretion and can form hetero-oligomeric helix bundle(s) with other secreted members of the WXG100 family, such as EsxW. The highly conserved WXG motif is located within the loop of the HLH hairpin and is mostly buried within the helix bundle suggesting that its role is mainly structural. The exact functions of the motif, including a proposed role as a secretion signal, remain unknown. PMID:26032645

  1. First detection of Bacillus anthracis in feces of free-ranging raptors from central Argentina.

    PubMed

    Saggese, Miguel D; Noseda, Ramón P; Uhart, Marcela M; Deem, Sharon L; Ferreyra, Hebe; Romano, Marcelo C; Ferreyra-Armas, María C; Hugh-Jones, Martin

    2007-01-01

    Prevalence of anthrax spores in feces of raptors was determined from samples collected in November-December 2000 and April-May 2001 in an agricultural region of Santa Fé province, Argentina. Feces were tested from 48 birds of six raptor species. One of 14 chimango caracaras (Milvago chimango) and one of eight road-side hawks (Buteo magnirostris) tested positive. The prevalence of Bacillus anthracis spores in feces for the six species was 4% (n=48). The prevalence was 7% (n=14) for chimango caracaras, 13% for road-side hawks (n=8), and 0% for the remaining species (Burrowing owl [Speotyto cunicularia] [n=17], Swainson's hawk [Buteo swainsoni] [n=3], Aplomado falcon [Falco femoralis] [n=2], and American kestrel [Falco sparverius] [n=4]). Grouped by their feeding habits, prevalence for scavenger species was not significantly different than for predators (7% vs. 3%, P>0.999). This study provides evidence that in central Argentina scavenger and non-scavenger raptors may have a role in the epidemiology of anthrax. Long-term studies to determine the extent of this potential involvement in the epidemiology of anthrax in central Argentina are required. PMID:17347404

  2. New Developments in Vaccines, Inhibitors of Anthrax Toxins, and Antibiotic Therapeutics for Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Beierlein, J.M.; Anderson, A.C.

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent responsible for anthrax infections, poses a significant biodefense threat. There is a high mortality rate associated with untreated anthrax infections; specifically, inhalation anthrax is a particularly virulent form of infection with mortality rates close to 100%, even with aggressive treatment. Currently, a vaccine is not available to the general public and few antibiotics have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of inhalation anthrax. With the threat of natural or engineered bacterial resistance to antibiotics and the limited population for whom the current drugs are approved, there is a clear need for more effective treatments against this deadly infection. A comprehensive review of current research in drug discovery is presented in this article, including efforts to improve the purity and stability of vaccines, design inhibitors targeting the anthrax toxins, and identify inhibitors of novel enzyme targets. High resolution structural information for the anthrax toxins and several essential metabolic enzymes has played a significant role in aiding the structure-based design of potent and selective antibiotics. PMID:22050756

  3. Domain specificity of the human antibody response to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen.

    PubMed

    Reason, Donald C; Ullal, Anuska; Liberato, Justine; Sun, Jinying; Keitel, Wendy; Zhou, Jianhui

    2008-07-29

    Protective antigen (PA) is the cell surface recognition moiety of the Bacillus anthracis A-B toxin system, and the active immunogenic component in the currently licensed human anthrax vaccine (BioThrax, or AVA). The serum antibody response to the PA protein is polyclonal and complex both in terms of the antibody combining sites utilized to bind PA and the PA-associated epitopes recognized. We have cloned, sequenced, and expressed a large panel of PA-specific human monoclonal antibodies from seven AVA-immunized donors. Dot blots, Western blots, and radiolabeled antigen capture assays employing both proteolytic fragments of PA and engineered PA sub-domain fusion proteins were used to determine the region (domain) of the PA monomer to which each of the cloned human antibodies bound. The domain specificity of the isolated monoclonals was highly biased towards the amino-terminal 20kDa fragment of PA (PA(20)), with the majority (62%) of independently arising antibody clones reacting with determinants located on this PA fragment. A similar bias in domain specificity was also demonstrated in the serum response of AVA-vaccinated donors. Since PA(20) is cleaved from the remainder of the monomer rapidly following cell surface binding and has no known role in the intoxication process, the immunodominance of PA(20)-associated epitopes may directly affect the efficacy of PA-based anthrax vaccines.

  4. Paratope diversity in the human antibody response to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jianhui; Ullal, Anuska; Liberato, Justine; Sun, Jinying; Keitel, Wendy; Reason, Donald C

    2008-01-01

    The active component of the licensed human anthrax vaccine (BioThrax, or AVA) is a Bacillus anthracis toxin known as protective antigen (PA). Second generation anthrax vaccines currently under development are also based on a recombinant form of PA. Since the current and future anthrax vaccines are based on this toxin, it is important that the immunobiology of this protein in vaccinated humans be understood in detail. We have isolated and analyzed the PA-specific antibody repertoire from an AVA-vaccinated individual. When examined at the clonal level, we find an antibody response that is complex in terms of the combinatorial elements and immunoglobulin variable genes employed. All PA-specific antibodies had undergone somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination, both signs of affinity maturation. Although the antigenic epitopes recognized by the response were distributed throughout the PA monomer, the majority of antibodies arising in this individual following vaccination recognize determinants located on the amino-terminal (PA20) sub-domain of the molecule. This latter finding may have implications for the rational design of future PA-based anthrax vaccines.

  5. Most Probable Number Rapid Viability PCR Method to Detect Viable Spores of Bacillus anthracis in Swab Samples

    SciTech Connect

    Letant, S E; Kane, S R; Murphy, G A; Alfaro, T M; Hodges, L; Rose, L; Raber, E

    2008-05-30

    This note presents a comparison of Most-Probable-Number Rapid Viability (MPN-RV) PCR and traditional culture methods for the quantification of Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores in macrofoam swabs generated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a multi-center validation study aimed at testing environmental swab processing methods for recovery, detection, and quantification of viable B. anthracis spores from surfaces. Results show that spore numbers provided by the MPN RV-PCR method were in statistical agreement with the CDC conventional culture method for all three levels of spores tested (10{sup 4}, 10{sup 2}, and 10 spores) even in the presence of dirt. In addition to detecting low levels of spores in environmental conditions, the MPN RV-PCR method is specific, and compatible with automated high-throughput sample processing and analysis protocols.

  6. Overexpression of the pleiotropic regulator CodY decreases sporulation, attachment and pellicle formation in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Gopalani, Monisha; Dhiman, Alisha; Rahi, Amit; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2016-01-15

    CodY, a global transcriptional regulator, primarily functions as a nutrient and energy sensor. It is activated by metabolic effectors like BCAA and GTP. In low G + C Gram positive bacteria, it facilitates coupling of changes in the cellular metabolite pool with those required in the transcriptome of the cell. This pleiotropic regulator controls the expression of a vast number of genes as the cell transits from exponential to the stationary phase. Earlier studies have shown that CodY is required for the virulence of Bacillus anthracis. We sought to investigate the effect of its overexpression on the physiology of B. anthracis. In our study, we found that cellular CodY levels were unchanged during this phase-transition. Expression of endogenous CodY remained the same in different nutrient limiting conditions. Immunoblotting studies revealed CodY presence in the whole spore lysate of B. anthracis indicating it to be a component of the spore proteome. We could also detect CodY in the secretome of B. anthracis. Further, CodY was overexpressed in B. anthracis Sterne strain and this led to a 100-fold decrease in the sporulation titer and a 2.5-fold decrease in the in vitro attachment ability of the bacteria. We also observed a decrease in the pellicle formation by CodY overexpressed strain when compared to wildtype bacilli. The CodY overexpressed strain showed chaining phenotype during growth in liquid media and pellicle. PMID:26686421

  7. Bacillus anthracis spore interactions with mammalian cells: Relationship between germination state and the outcome of in vitro

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background During inhalational anthrax, internalization of Bacillus anthracis spores by host cells within the lung is believed to be a key step for initiating the transition from the localized to disseminated stages of infection. Despite compelling in vivo evidence that spores remain dormant within the bronchioalveolar spaces of the lungs, and germinate only after uptake into host cells, most in vitro studies of infection have been conducted under conditions that promote rapid germination of spores within the culture medium. Results Using an in vitro model of infection, we evaluated the influence of the germination state of B. anthracis spores, as controlled by defined culture conditions, on the outcome of infection. Spores prepared from B. anthracis Sterne 7702 germinated in a variety of common cell culture media supplemented with fetal bovine serum (FBS) while, in the absence of FBS, germination was strictly dependent on medium composition. RAW264.7 macrophage-like cells internalized spores to the same extent in either germinating or non-germinating media. However, significantly more viable, intracellular B. anthracis were recovered from cells infected under non-germinating conditions compared to germinating conditions. At the same time, RAW264.7 cells demonstrated a significant loss in viability when infected under non-germinating conditions. Conclusions These results suggest that the outcome of host cell infection is sensitive to the germination state of spores at the time of uptake. Moreover, this study demonstrates the efficacy of studying B. anthracis spore infection of host cells within a defined, non-germinating, in vitro environment. PMID:21356113

  8. Cloning, expression, and characterization of recombinant nitric oxide synthase-like protein from Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Midha, Shuchi; Mishra, Rajeev; Aziz, M.A.; Sharma, Meenakshi; Mishra, Ashish; Khandelwal, Puneet; Bhatnagar, Rakesh . E-mail: rakbhat01@yahoo.com

    2005-10-14

    Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is amongst a family of evolutionarily conserved enzymes, involved in a multi-turnover process that results in NO as a product. The significant role of NO in various pathological and physiological processes has created an interest in this enzyme from several perspectives. This study describes for the first time, cloning and expression of a NOS-like protein, baNOS, from Bacillus anthracis, a pathogenic bacterium responsible for causing anthrax. baNOS was expressed in Escherichia coli as a soluble and catalytically active enzyme. Homology models generated for baNOS indicated that the key structural features that are involved in the substrate and active site interaction have been highly conserved. Further, the behavior of baNOS in terms of heme-substrate interactions and heme-transitions was studied in detail. The optical perturbation spectra of the heme domain demonstrated that the ligands perturb the heme site in a ligand specific manner. baNOS forms a five-coordinate, high-spin complex with L-arginine analogs and a six-coordinate low-spin complex with inhibitor imidazole. Studies indicated that the binding of L-arginine, N {sup {omega}}-hydroxy-L-arginine, and imidazole produces various spectroscopic species that closely correspond to the equivalent complexes of mammalian NOS. The values of spectral binding constants further corroborated these results. The overall conservation of the key structural features and the correlation of heme-substrate interactions in baNOS and mammalian NOS, thus, point towards an interesting phenomenon of convergent evolution. Importantly, the NO generated by NOS of mammalian macrophages plays a potent role in antimicrobicidal activity. Because of the existence of high structural and behavioral similarity between mammalian NOS and baNOS, we propose that NO produced by B. anthracis may also have a pivotal pathophysiological role in anthrax infection. Therefore, this first report of characterization of a NOS

  9. Identification, Functional Characterization and Regulon Prediction of a Novel Two Component System Comprising BAS0540-BAS0541 of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Gopalani, Monisha; Kandari, Divya; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2016-01-01

    Two component systems (TCSs) can be envisaged as complex molecular devices that help the bacteria to sense its environment and respond aptly. 41 TCSs are predicted in Bacillus anthracis, a potential bioterrorism agent, of which only four have been studied so far. Thus, the intricate signaling network contributed by TCSs remains largely unmapped in B. anthracis and needs comprehensive exploration. In this study, we functionally characterized one such system composed of BAS0540 (Response regulator) and BAS0541 (Histidine kinase). BAS0540-BAS0541, the closest homolog of CiaRH of Streptococcus in B. anthracis, forms a functional TCS with BAS0541 displaying autophosphorylation and subsequent phosphotransfer to BAS0540. BAS0540 was also found to accept phosphate from physiologically relevant small molecule phosphodonors like acetyl phosphate and carbamoyl phosphate. Results of qRT-PCR and immunoblotting demonstrated that BAS0540 exhibits a constitutive expression throughout the growth of B. anthracis. Regulon prediction for BAS0540 in B. anthracis was done in silico using the consensus DNA binding sequence of CiaR of Streptococcus. The predicted regulon of BAS0540 comprised of 23 genes, which could be classified into 8 functionally diverse categories. None of the proven virulence factors were a part of the predicted regulon, an observation contrasting with the regulon of CiaRH in Streptococci. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay was used to show direct binding of purified BAS0540 to the upstream regions of 5 putative regulon candidates- BAS0540 gene itself; a gene predicted to encode cell division protein FtsA; a self–immunity gene; a RND family transporter gene and a gene encoding stress (heat) responsive protein. A significant enhancement in the DNA binding ability of BAS0540 was observed upon phosphorylation. Overexpression of response regulator BAS0540 in B. anthracis led to a prodigious increase of ~6 folds in the cell length, thereby conferring it a filamentous

  10. 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

  11. Naturally acquired antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen in vultures of southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Turnbull, P C B; Diekmann, M; Kilian, J W; Versfeld, W; De Vos, V; Arntzen, L; Wolter, K; Bartels, P; Kotze, A

    2008-06-01

    Sera from 19 wild caught vultures in northern Namibia and 15 (12 wild caught and three captive bred but with minimal histories) in North West Province, South Africa, were examined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for antibodies to the Bacillus anthracis toxin protective antigen (PA). As assessed from the baseline established with a control group of ten captive reared vultures with well-documented histories, elevated titres were found in 12 of the 19 (63%) wild caught Namibian birds as compared with none of the 15 South African ones. There was a highly significant difference between the Namibian group as a whole and the other groups (P < 0.001) and no significant difference between the South African and control groups (P > 0.05). Numbers in the Namibian group were too small to determine any significances in species-, sex- or age-related differences within the raw data showing elevated titres in four out of six Cape Vultures, Gyps coprotheres, six out of ten White-backed Vultures, Gyps africanus, and one out of three Lappet-faced Vultures, Aegypius tracheliotus, or in five of six males versus three of seven females, and ten of 15 adults versus one of four juveniles. The results are in line with the available data on the incidence of anthrax in northern Namibia and South Africa and the likely contact of the vultures tested with anthrax carcasses. It is not known whether elevated titre indicates infection per se in vultures or absorption of incompletely digested epitopes of the toxin or both. The results are discussed in relation to distances travelled by vultures as determined by new tracking techniques, how serology can reveal anthrax activity in an area and the issue of the role of vultures in transmission of anthrax. PMID:18788202

  12. Naturally acquired antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen in vultures of southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Turnbull, P C B; Diekmann, M; Kilian, J W; Versfeld, W; De Vos, V; Arntzen, L; Wolter, K; Bartels, P; Kotze, A

    2008-06-01

    Sera from 19 wild caught vultures in northern Namibia and 15 (12 wild caught and three captive bred but with minimal histories) in North West Province, South Africa, were examined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for antibodies to the Bacillus anthracis toxin protective antigen (PA). As assessed from the baseline established with a control group of ten captive reared vultures with well-documented histories, elevated titres were found in 12 of the 19 (63%) wild caught Namibian birds as compared with none of the 15 South African ones. There was a highly significant difference between the Namibian group as a whole and the other groups (P < 0.001) and no significant difference between the South African and control groups (P > 0.05). Numbers in the Namibian group were too small to determine any significances in species-, sex- or age-related differences within the raw data showing elevated titres in four out of six Cape Vultures, Gyps coprotheres, six out of ten White-backed Vultures, Gyps africanus, and one out of three Lappet-faced Vultures, Aegypius tracheliotus, or in five of six males versus three of seven females, and ten of 15 adults versus one of four juveniles. The results are in line with the available data on the incidence of anthrax in northern Namibia and South Africa and the likely contact of the vultures tested with anthrax carcasses. It is not known whether elevated titre indicates infection per se in vultures or absorption of incompletely digested epitopes of the toxin or both. The results are discussed in relation to distances travelled by vultures as determined by new tracking techniques, how serology can reveal anthrax activity in an area and the issue of the role of vultures in transmission of anthrax.

  13. Structural and functional characterization of microcin C resistance peptidase MccF from Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Nocek, Boguslaw; Tikhonov, Anton; Babnigg, Gyorgy; Gu, Minyi; Zhou, Min; Makarova, Kira S.; Vondenhoff, Gaston; Van Aerschot, Arthur; Kwon, Keehwan; Anderson, Wayne F.; Severinov, Konstantin; Joachimiak, Andrzej

    2012-01-01

    Microcin C (McC) is heptapeptide-adenylate antibiotic produced by Escherichia coli strains carrying the mccABCDEF gene cluster encoding enzymes, in addition to the heptapeptide structural gene mccA, necessary for McC biosynthesis and self-immunity of the producing cell. The heptapeptide facilitates McC transport into susceptible cells, where it is processed releasing a non-hydrolyzable aminoacyl adenylate that inhibits an essential aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. The self-immunity gene mccF encodes a specialized serine-peptidase that cleaves an amide bond connecting the peptidyl or aminoacyl moieties of, respectively, intact and processed McC with the nucleotidyl moiety. Most mccF orthologs from organisms other than E. coli are not linked to the McC biosynthesis gene cluster. Here, we show that a protein product of one such gene, MccF from Bacillus anthracis (BaMccF), is able to cleave intact and processed McC and we present a series of structures of this protein. Structural analysis of apo-BaMccF and its AMP-complex reveal specific features of MccF-like peptidases that allow them to interact with substrates containing nucleotidyl moieties. Sequence analyses and phylogenetic reconstructions suggest that several distinct subfamilies form the MccF clade of the large S66 family of bacterial serine peptidases. We show that various representatives of the MccF clade can specifically detoxify non-hydrolyzable aminoacyl adenylates differing in their aminoacyl moieties. We hypothesize that bacterial mccF genes serve as a source of bacterial antibiotic resistance. PMID:22516613

  14. Identification of Novel Raft Marker Protein, FlotP in Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Somani, Vikas K.; Aggarwal, Somya; Singh, Damini; Prasad, Tulika; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2016-01-01

    Lipid rafts are dynamic, nanoscale assemblies of specific proteins and lipids, distributed heterogeneously on eukaryotic membrane. Flotillin-1, a conserved eukaryotic raft marker protein (RMP) harbor SPFH (Stomatin, Prohibitin, Flotillin, and HflK/C) and oligomerization domains to regulate various cellular processes through its interactions with other signaling or transport proteins. Rafts were thought to be absent in prokaryotes hitherto, but recent report of its presence and significance in physiology of Bacillus subtilis prompted us to investigate the same in pathogenic bacteria (PB) also. In prokaryotes, proteins of SPFH2a subfamily show highest identity to SPFH domain of Flotillin-1. Moreover, bacterial genome organization revealed that Flotillin homolog harboring SPFH2a domain exists in an operon with an upstream gene containing NFeD domain. Here, presence of RMP in PB was initially investigated in silico by analyzing the presence of SPFH2a, oligomerization domains in the concerned gene and NfeD domain in the adjacent upstream gene. After investigating 300 PB, four were found to harbor RMP. Among them, domains of Bas0525 (FlotP) of Bacillus anthracis (BA) showed highest identity with characteristic domains of RMP. Considering the global threat of BA as the bioterror agent, it was selected as a model for further in vitro characterization of rafts in PB. In silico and in vitro analysis showed significant similarity of FlotP with numerous attributes of Flotillin-1. Its punctate distribution on membrane with exclusive localization in detergent resistant membrane fraction; strongly favors presence of raft with RMP FlotP in BA. Furthermore, significant effect of Zaragozic acid (ZA), a raft associated lipid biosynthesis inhibitor, on several patho-physiological attributes of BA such as growth, morphology, membrane rigidity etc., were also observed. Specifically, a considerable decrease in membrane rigidity, strongly recommended presence of an unknown raft associated

  15. Identification of Novel Raft Marker Protein, FlotP in Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Somani, Vikas K; Aggarwal, Somya; Singh, Damini; Prasad, Tulika; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2016-01-01

    Lipid rafts are dynamic, nanoscale assemblies of specific proteins and lipids, distributed heterogeneously on eukaryotic membrane. Flotillin-1, a conserved eukaryotic raft marker protein (RMP) harbor SPFH (Stomatin, Prohibitin, Flotillin, and HflK/C) and oligomerization domains to regulate various cellular processes through its interactions with other signaling or transport proteins. Rafts were thought to be absent in prokaryotes hitherto, but recent report of its presence and significance in physiology of Bacillus subtilis prompted us to investigate the same in pathogenic bacteria (PB) also. In prokaryotes, proteins of SPFH2a subfamily show highest identity to SPFH domain of Flotillin-1. Moreover, bacterial genome organization revealed that Flotillin homolog harboring SPFH2a domain exists in an operon with an upstream gene containing NFeD domain. Here, presence of RMP in PB was initially investigated in silico by analyzing the presence of SPFH2a, oligomerization domains in the concerned gene and NfeD domain in the adjacent upstream gene. After investigating 300 PB, four were found to harbor RMP. Among them, domains of Bas0525 (FlotP) of Bacillus anthracis (BA) showed highest identity with characteristic domains of RMP. Considering the global threat of BA as the bioterror agent, it was selected as a model for further in vitro characterization of rafts in PB. In silico and in vitro analysis showed significant similarity of FlotP with numerous attributes of Flotillin-1. Its punctate distribution on membrane with exclusive localization in detergent resistant membrane fraction; strongly favors presence of raft with RMP FlotP in BA. Furthermore, significant effect of Zaragozic acid (ZA), a raft associated lipid biosynthesis inhibitor, on several patho-physiological attributes of BA such as growth, morphology, membrane rigidity etc., were also observed. Specifically, a considerable decrease in membrane rigidity, strongly recommended presence of an unknown raft associated

  16. The differential susceptibility of spores from virulent and attenuated Bacillus anthracis strains to aldehyde- and hypochlorite-based disinfectants

    PubMed Central

    March, Jordon K; Cohen, Marissa N; Lindsey, James M; Millar, D A; Lowe, Chinn-Woan; Bunnell, Annette J; O'Neill, Kim L; Bruce Schaalje, G; Robison, Richard A

    2012-01-01

    This study compared the sensitivity of spores from virulent and attenuated Bacillus anthracis strains in suspension to inactivation by various chemical disinfectants. Spore suspensions from two virulent strains (A0256 and A0372) and two attenuated strains (Sterne and A0141) of B. anthracis were tested against two aldehyde-based disinfectants and one hypochlorite-based disinfectant. A novel statistical model was used to estimate 4-log10 reduction times for each disinfectant/strain combination. Reduction times were compared statistically using approximate Z and χ2 tests. Although there was no consistent correlation between virulence and increased sporicidal resistance across all three disinfectants, spores from the two virulent and two attenuated strains did display significantly different susceptibilities to different disinfectants. Significant disinfectant–strain interactions were observed for two of the three disinfectants evaluated. The comparative results suggest that the use of surrogate organisms to model the inactivation kinetics of virulent B. anthracis spores may be misleading. The accuracy of such extrapolations is disinfectant dependent and must be used with caution. PMID:23233190

  17. Rapid Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Burkholderia pseudomallei by Use of Laser Light Scattering Technology.

    PubMed

    Bugrysheva, Julia V; Lascols, Christine; Sue, David; Weigel, Linda M

    2016-06-01

    Rapid methods to determine antimicrobial susceptibility would assist in the timely distribution of effective treatment or postexposure prophylaxis in the aftermath of the release of bacterial biothreat agents such as Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, or Burkholderia pseudomallei Conventional susceptibility tests require 16 to 48 h of incubation, depending on the bacterial species. We evaluated a method that is based on laser light scattering technology that measures cell density in real time. We determined that it has the ability to rapidly differentiate between growth (resistant) and no growth (susceptible) of several bacterial threat agents in the presence of clinically relevant antimicrobials. Results were available in <4 h for B. anthracis and <6 h for Y. pestis and B. pseudomallei One exception was B. pseudomallei in the presence of ceftazidime, which required >10 h of incubation. Use of laser scattering technology decreased the time required to determine antimicrobial susceptibility by 50% to 75% for B. anthracis, Y. pestis, and B. pseudomallei compared to conventional methods. PMID:26984973

  18. Immunoassay for Capsular Antigen of Bacillus anthracis Enables Rapid Diagnosis in a Rabbit Model of Inhalational Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Gates-Hollingsworth, Marcellene A; Perry, Mark R; Chen, Hongjing; Needham, James; Houghton, Raymond L; Raychaudhuri, Syamal; Hubbard, Mark A; Kozel, Thomas R

    2015-01-01

    Inhalational anthrax is a serious biothreat. Effective antibiotic treatment of inhalational anthrax requires early diagnosis; the further the disease has progressed, the less the likelihood for cure. Current means for diagnosis such as blood culture require several days to a result and require advanced laboratory infrastructure. An alternative approach to diagnosis is detection of a Bacillus anthracis antigen that is shed into blood and can be detected by rapid immunoassay. The goal of the study was to evaluate detection of poly-γ-D-glutamic acid (PGA), the capsular antigen of B. anthracis, as a biomarker surrogate for blood culture in a rabbit model of inhalational anthrax. The mean time to a positive blood culture was 26 ± 5.7 h (mean ± standard deviation), whereas the mean time to a positive ELISA was 22 ± 4.2 h; P = 0.005 in comparison with blood culture. A lateral flow immunoassay was constructed for detection of PGA in plasma at concentrations of less than 1 ng PGA/ml. Use of the lateral flow immunoassay for detection of PGA in the rabbit model found that antigen was detected somewhat earlier than the earliest time point at which the blood culture became positive. The low cost, ease of use, and rapid time to result of the lateral flow immunoassay format make an immunoassay for PGA a viable surrogate for blood culture for detection of infection in individuals who have a likelihood of exposure to B. anthracis.

  19. Ultrasensitive electrochemical immunoassay for surface array protein, a Bacillus anthracis biomarker using Au-Pd nanocrystals loaded on boron-nitride nanosheets as catalytic labels.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Mukesh Kumar; Narayanan, J; Pardasani, Deepak; Srivastava, Divesh N; Upadhyay, Sanjay; Goel, Ajay Kumar

    2016-06-15

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a well known bioterrorism agent. The determination of surface array protein (Sap), a unique biomarker for B. anthracis can offer an opportunity for specific detection of B. anthracis in culture broth. In this study, we designed a new catalytic bionanolabel and fabricated a novel electrochemical immunosensor for ultrasensitive detection of B. anthracis Sap antigen. Bimetallic gold-palladium nanoparticles were in-situ grown on poly (diallyldimethylammonium chloride) functionalized boron nitride nanosheets (Au-Pd NPs@BNNSs) and conjugated with the mouse anti-B. anthracis Sap antibodies (Ab2); named Au-Pd NPs@BNNSs/Ab2. The resulting Au-Pd NPs@BNNSs/Ab2 bionanolabel demonstrated high catalytic activity towards reduction of 4-nitrophenol. The sensitivity of the electrochemical immunosensor along with redox cycling of 4-aminophenol to 4-quinoneimine was improved to a great extent. Under optimal conditions, the proposed immunosensor exhibited a wide working range from 5 pg/mL to 100 ng/mL with a minimum detection limit of 1 pg/mL B. anthracis Sap antigen. The practical applicability of the immunosensor was demonstrated by specific detection of Sap secreted by the B. anthracis in culture broth just after 1h of growth. These labels open a new direction for the ultrasensitive detection of different biological warfare agents and their markers in different matrices. PMID:26874112

  20. 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.

  1. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray characterization of arylamine N-acetyltransferase C (BanatC) from Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Pluvinage, Benjamin; Li de la Sierra-Gallay, Inés; Martins, Marta; Ragunathan, Nilusha; Dupret, Jean-Marie; Rodrigues-Lima, Fernando

    2007-10-01

    Bacillus anthracis arylamine N-acetyltransferase C (BanatC) is an enzyme that metabolizes the drug sulfamethoxazole. Crystals of the purified enzyme that diffract at 1.95 Å are reported. The arylamine N-acetyltransferase (NAT) enzymes are xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes that have been found in a large range of eukaryotes and prokaryotes. These enzymes catalyse the acetylation of arylamine drugs and/or pollutants. Recently, a Bacillus anthracis NAT isoform (BanatC) has been cloned and shown to acetylate the sulfonamide antimicrobial sulfamethoxazole (SMX). Subsequently, it was shown that BanatC contributes to the resistance of this bacterium to SMX. Here, the crystallization and the X-ray characterization of BanatC (Y38F mutant) are reported. The crystals belong to the tetragonal space group P4{sub 1}2{sub 1}2 or P4{sub 3}2{sub 1}2, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 53.70, c = 172.40 Å, and diffract to 1.95 Å resolution on a synchrotron source.

  2. Possible use of bacteriophages active against Bacillus anthracis and other B. cereus group members in the face of a bioterrorism threat.

    PubMed

    Jończyk-Matysiak, Ewa; Kłak, Marlena; Weber-Dąbrowska, Beata; Borysowski, Jan; Górski, Andrzej

    2014-01-01

    Anthrax is an infectious fatal disease with epidemic potential. Nowadays, bioterrorism using Bacillus anthracis is a real possibility, and thus society needs an effective weapon to neutralize this threat. The pathogen may be easily transmitted to human populations. It is easy to store, transport, and disseminate and may survive for many decades. Recent data strongly support the effectiveness of bacteriophage in treating bacterial diseases. Moreover, it is clear that bacteriophages should be considered a potential incapacitative agent against bioterrorism using bacteria belonging to B. cereus group, especially B. anthracis. Therefore, we have reviewed the possibility of using bacteriophages active against Bacillus anthracis and other species of the B. cereus group in the face of a bioterrorism threat. PMID:25247187

  3. Possible use of bacteriophages active against Bacillus anthracis and other B. cereus group members in the face of a bioterrorism threat.

    PubMed

    Jończyk-Matysiak, Ewa; Kłak, Marlena; Weber-Dąbrowska, Beata; Borysowski, Jan; Górski, Andrzej

    2014-01-01

    Anthrax is an infectious fatal disease with epidemic potential. Nowadays, bioterrorism using Bacillus anthracis is a real possibility, and thus society needs an effective weapon to neutralize this threat. The pathogen may be easily transmitted to human populations. It is easy to store, transport, and disseminate and may survive for many decades. Recent data strongly support the effectiveness of bacteriophage in treating bacterial diseases. Moreover, it is clear that bacteriophages should be considered a potential incapacitative agent against bioterrorism using bacteria belonging to B. cereus group, especially B. anthracis. Therefore, we have reviewed the possibility of using bacteriophages active against Bacillus anthracis and other species of the B. cereus group in the face of a bioterrorism threat.

  4. Possible Use of Bacteriophages Active against Bacillus anthracis and Other B. cereus Group Members in the Face of a Bioterrorism Threat

    PubMed Central

    Weber-Dąbrowska, Beata; Borysowski, Jan; Górski, Andrzej

    2014-01-01

    Anthrax is an infectious fatal disease with epidemic potential. Nowadays, bioterrorism using Bacillus anthracis is a real possibility, and thus society needs an effective weapon to neutralize this threat. The pathogen may be easily transmitted to human populations. It is easy to store, transport, and disseminate and may survive for many decades. Recent data strongly support the effectiveness of bacteriophage in treating bacterial diseases. Moreover, it is clear that bacteriophages should be considered a potential incapacitative agent against bioterrorism using bacteria belonging to B. cereus group, especially B. anthracis. Therefore, we have reviewed the possibility of using bacteriophages active against Bacillus anthracis and other species of the B. cereus group in the face of a bioterrorism threat. PMID:25247187

  5. Capsules, toxins and AtxA as virulence factors of emerging Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis.

    PubMed

    Brézillon, Christophe; Haustant, Michel; Dupke, Susann; Corre, Jean-Philippe; Lander, Angelika; Franz, Tatjana; Monot, Marc; Couture-Tosi, Evelyne; Jouvion, Gregory; Leendertz, Fabian H; Grunow, Roland; Mock, Michèle E; Klee, Silke R; Goossens, Pierre L

    2015-04-01

    Emerging B. cereus strains that cause anthrax-like disease have been isolated in Cameroon (CA strain) and Côte d'Ivoire (CI strain). These strains are unusual, because their genomic characterisation shows that they belong to the B. cereus species, although they harbour two plasmids, pBCXO1 and pBCXO2, that are highly similar to the pXO1 and pXO2 plasmids of B. anthracis that encode the toxins and the polyglutamate capsule respectively. The virulence factors implicated in the pathogenicity of these B. cereus bv anthracis strains remain to be characterised. We tested their virulence by cutaneous and intranasal delivery in mice and guinea pigs; they were as virulent as wild-type B. anthracis. Unlike as described for pXO2-cured B. anthracis, the CA strain cured of the pBCXO2 plasmid was still highly virulent, showing the existence of other virulence factors. Indeed, these strains concomitantly expressed a hyaluronic acid (HA) capsule and the B. anthracis polyglutamate (PDGA) capsule. The HA capsule was encoded by the hasACB operon on pBCXO1, and its expression was regulated by the global transcription regulator AtxA, which controls anthrax toxins and PDGA capsule in B. anthracis. Thus, the HA and PDGA capsules and toxins were co-regulated by AtxA. We explored the respective effect of the virulence factors on colonisation and dissemination of CA within its host by constructing bioluminescent mutants. Expression of the HA capsule by itself led to local multiplication and, during intranasal infection, to local dissemination to the adjacent brain tissue. Co-expression of either toxins or PDGA capsule with HA capsule enabled systemic dissemination, thus providing a clear evolutionary advantage. Protection against infection by B. cereus bv anthracis required the same vaccination formulation as that used against B. anthracis. Thus, these strains, at the frontier between B. anthracis and B. cereus, provide insight into how the monomorphic B. anthracis may have emerged.

  6. Capsules, Toxins and AtxA as Virulence Factors of Emerging Bacillus cereus Biovar anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Corre, Jean-Philippe; Lander, Angelika; Franz, Tatjana; Monot, Marc; Couture-Tosi, Evelyne; Jouvion, Gregory; Leendertz, Fabian H.; Grunow, Roland; Mock, Michèle E.; Klee, Silke R.; Goossens, Pierre L.

    2015-01-01

    Emerging B. cereus strains that cause anthrax-like disease have been isolated in Cameroon (CA strain) and Côte d’Ivoire (CI strain). These strains are unusual, because their genomic characterisation shows that they belong to the B. cereus species, although they harbour two plasmids, pBCXO1 and pBCXO2, that are highly similar to the pXO1 and pXO2 plasmids of B. anthracis that encode the toxins and the polyglutamate capsule respectively. The virulence factors implicated in the pathogenicity of these B. cereus bv anthracis strains remain to be characterised. We tested their virulence by cutaneous and intranasal delivery in mice and guinea pigs; they were as virulent as wild-type B. anthracis. Unlike as described for pXO2-cured B. anthracis, the CA strain cured of the pBCXO2 plasmid was still highly virulent, showing the existence of other virulence factors. Indeed, these strains concomitantly expressed a hyaluronic acid (HA) capsule and the B. anthracis polyglutamate (PDGA) capsule. The HA capsule was encoded by the hasACB operon on pBCXO1, and its expression was regulated by the global transcription regulator AtxA, which controls anthrax toxins and PDGA capsule in B. anthracis. Thus, the HA and PDGA capsules and toxins were co-regulated by AtxA. We explored the respective effect of the virulence factors on colonisation and dissemination of CA within its host by constructing bioluminescent mutants. Expression of the HA capsule by itself led to local multiplication and, during intranasal infection, to local dissemination to the adjacent brain tissue. Co-expression of either toxins or PDGA capsule with HA capsule enabled systemic dissemination, thus providing a clear evolutionary advantage. Protection against infection by B. cereus bv anthracis required the same vaccination formulation as that used against B. anthracis. Thus, these strains, at the frontier between B. anthracis and B. cereus, provide insight into how the monomorphic B. anthracis may have emerged. PMID

  7. Structural Analysis of a Putative Aminoglycoside N-Acetyltransferase from Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Klimecka, Maria M.; Chruszcz, Maksymilian; Font, Jose; Skarina, Tatiana; Shumilin, Igor; Onopryienko, Olena; Porebski, Przemyslaw J.; Cymborowski, Marcin; Zimmerman, Matthew D.; Hasseman, Jeremy; Glomski, Ian J.; Lebioda, Lukasz; Savchenko, Alexei; Edwards, Aled; Minor, Wladek

    2012-02-15

    For the last decade, worldwide efforts for the treatment of anthrax infection have focused on developing effective vaccines. Patients that are already infected are still treated traditionally using different types of standard antimicrobial agents. The most popular are antibiotics such as tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones. While aminoglycosides appear to be less effective antimicrobial agents than other antibiotics, synthetic aminoglycosides have been shown to act as potent inhibitors of anthrax lethal factor and may have potential application as antitoxins. Here, we present a structural analysis of the BA2930 protein, a putative aminoglycoside acetyltransferase, which may be a component of the bacterium's aminoglycoside resistance mechanism. The determined structures revealed details of a fold characteristic only for one other protein structure in the Protein Data Bank, namely, YokD from Bacillus subtilis. Both BA2930 and YokD are members of the Antibiotic-NAT superfamily (PF02522). Sequential and structural analyses showed that residues conserved throughout the Antibiotic-NAT superfamily are responsible for the binding of the cofactor acetyl coenzyme A. The interaction of BA2930 with cofactors was characterized by both crystallographic and binding studies.

  8. Structural and functional analysis of two glutamate racemase isozymes from Bacillus anthracis and implications for inhibitor design†‡

    PubMed Central

    May, Melissa; Mehboob, Shahila; Mulhearn, Debbie C.; Wang, Zhiqiang; Yu, Huidong; Thatcher, Gregory R.J.; Santarsiero, Bernard D.; Johnson, Michael E.; Mesecar, Andrew D.

    2009-01-01

    Glutamate racemase (RacE) is responsible for converting L-glutamate to D-glutamate, which is an essential component of peptidoglycan biosynthesis, and the primary constituent of the poly-γ-D-glutamate capsule of the pathogen Bacillus anthracis. RacE enzymes are essential for bacterial growth and lack a human homolog, making them attractive targets for the design and development of antibacterial therapeutics. We have cloned, expressed and purified the two glutamate racemase isozymes, RacE1 and RacE2, from the B. anthracis genome. Through a series of steady-state kinetic studies, and based upon the ability of both RacE1 and RacE2 to catalyze the rapid formation of D-glutamate, we have determined that RacE1 and RacE2 are bona fide isozymes. The x-ray structures of B. anthracis RacE1 and RacE2, in complex with D-glutamate, were determined to resolutions of 1.75 Å and 2.0 Å. Both enzymes are dimers with monomers arranged in a “tail-to-tail” orientation, similar to the B. subtilis RacE structure, but differing substantially from the A. pyrophilus RacE structure. The differences in quaternary structures produce differences in the active sites of racemases among the various species, which has important implications for structure-based, inhibitor design efforts within this class of enzymes. We found a Val to Ala variance at the entrance of the active site between RacE1 and RacE2 which results in the active site entrance being less sterically hindered for RacE1. Using a series of inhibitors, we show that this variance results in differences in the inhibitory activity against the two isozymes and suggest a strategy for structure-based inhibitor design to obtain broad-spectrum inhibitors for glutamate racemases. PMID:17610893

  9. Detection of frequency resonance energy transfer pair on double-labeled microsphere and Bacillus anthracis spores by flow cytometry.

    PubMed

    Zahavy, E; Fisher, M; Bromberg, A; Olshevsky, U

    2003-04-01

    Development of an ultrasensitive biosensor for biological hazards in the environment is a major need for pollutant control and for the detection of biological warfare. Fluorescence methods combined with immunodiagnostic methods are the most common. To minimize background noise, arising from the unspecific adsorption effect, we have adapted the FRET (frequency resonance energy transfer) effect to the immunofluorescence method. FRET will increase the selectivity of the diagnosis process by introducing a requirement for two different reporter molecules that have to label the antigen surface at a distance that will enable FRET. Utilizing the multiparameter capability of flow cytometry analysis to analyze the double-labeling/FRET immunostaining will lead to a highly selective and sensitive diagnostic method. This work examined the FRET interaction of fluorescence-labeled avidin molecules on biotin-coated microspheres as a model system. As target system, we have used labeled polyclonal antibodies on Bacillus anthracis spores. The antibodies used were purified immunoglobulin G (IgG) molecules raised in rabbits against B. anthracis exosoporium components. The antibodies were fluorescence labeled by a donor-acceptor chromophore pair, alexa488 as a donor and alexa594 as an acceptor. On labeling the spores with alexa488-IgG as a donor and alexa594-IgG as an acceptor, excitation at 488 nm results in quenching of the alexa-488 fluorescence (E(q) = 35%) and appearance of the alexa594 fluorescence (E(s) = 22%), as detected by flow cytometry analysis. The FRET effect leads to a further isolated gate (FL1/FL3) for the target spores compared to competitive spores such as B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis and B. subtilis. This new approach, combining FRET labeling and flow cytometry analysis, improved the selectivity of the B. anthracis spores by a factor of 10 with respect to B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis and a factor of 100 with respect to B. subtilis as control spores

  10. Hfqs in Bacillus anthracis: Role of protein sequence variation in the structure and function of proteins in the Hfq family.

    PubMed

    Vrentas, Catherine; Ghirlando, Rodolfo; Keefer, Andrea; Hu, Zonglin; Tomczak, Aurelie; Gittis, Apostolos G; Murthi, Athulaprabha; Garboczi, David N; Gottesman, Susan; Leppla, Stephen H

    2015-11-01

    Hfq proteins in Gram-negative bacteria play important roles in bacterial physiology and virulence, mediated by binding of the Hfq hexamer to small RNAs and/or mRNAs to post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression. However, the physiological role of Hfqs in Gram-positive bacteria is less clear. Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, uniquely expresses three distinct Hfq proteins, two from the chromosome (Hfq1, Hfq2) and one from its pXO1 virulence plasmid (Hfq3). The protein sequences of Hfq1 and 3 are evolutionarily distinct from those of Hfq2 and of Hfqs found in other Bacilli. Here, the quaternary structure of each B. anthracis Hfq protein, as produced heterologously in Escherichia coli, was characterized. While Hfq2 adopts the expected hexamer structure, Hfq1 does not form similarly stable hexamers in vitro. The impact on the monomer-hexamer equilibrium of varying Hfq C-terminal tail length and other sequence differences among the Hfqs was examined, and a sequence region of the Hfq proteins that was involved in hexamer formation was identified. It was found that, in addition to the distinct higher-order structures of the Hfq homologs, they give rise to different phenotypes. Hfq1 has a disruptive effect on the function of E. coli Hfq in vivo, while Hfq3 expression at high levels is toxic to E. coli but also partially complements Hfq function in E. coli. These results set the stage for future studies of the roles of these proteins in B. anthracis physiology and for the identification of sequence determinants of phenotypic complementation.

  11. Characterization of the variable-number tandem repeats in vrrA from different Bacillus anthracis isolates

    SciTech Connect

    Jackson, P.J.; Walthers, E.A.; Richmond, K.L.

    1997-04-01

    PCR analysis of 198 Bacillus anthracis isolates revealed a variable region of DNA sequence differing in length among the isolates. Five Polymorphisms differed by the presence Of two to six copies of the 12-bp tandem repeat 5{prime}-CAATATCAACAA-3{prime}. This variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) region is located within a larger sequence containing one complete open reading frame that encodes a putative 30-kDa protein. Length variation did not change the reading frame of the encoded protein and only changed the copy number of a 4-amino-acid sequence (QYQQ) from 2 to 6. The structure of the VNTR region suggests that these multiple repeats are generated by recombination or polymerase slippage. Protein structures predicted from the reverse-translated DNA sequence suggest that any structural changes in the encoded protein are confined to the region encoded by the VNTR sequence. Copy number differences in the VNTR region were used to define five different B. anthracis alleles. Characterization of 198 isolates revealed allele frequencies of 6.1, 17.7, 59.6, 5.6, and 11.1% sequentially from shorter to longer alleles. The high degree of polymorphism in the VNTR region provides a criterion for assigning isolates to five allelic categories. There is a correlation between categories and geographic distribution. Such molecular markers can be used to monitor the epidemiology of anthrax outbreaks in domestic and native herbivore populations. 22 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs.

  12. Whole Genome-Sequencing and Phylogenetic Analysis of a Historical Collection of Bacillus anthracis Strains from Danish Cattle

    PubMed Central

    Derzelle, Sylviane; Girault, Guillaume; Kokotovic, Branko; Angen, Øystein

    2015-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is known as one of the most genetically monomorphic species. Canonical single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing and whole-genome sequencing were used to investigate the molecular diversity of eleven B. anthracis strains isolated from cattle in Denmark between 1935 and 1988. Danish strains were assigned into five canSNP groups or lineages, i.e. A.Br.001/002 (n = 4), A.Br.Ames (n = 2), A.Br.008/011 (n = 2), A.Br.005/006 (n = 2) and A.Br.Aust94 (n = 1). The match with the A.Br.Ames lineage is of particular interest as the occurrence of such lineage in Europe is demonstrated for the first time, filling an historical gap within the phylogeography of the lineage. Comparative genome analyses of these strains with 41 isolates from other parts of the world revealed that the two Danish A.Br.008/011 strains were related to the heroin-associated strains responsible for outbreaks of injection anthrax in drug users in Europe. Eight novel diagnostic SNPs that specifically discriminate the different sub-groups of Danish strains were identified and developed into PCR-based genotyping assays. PMID:26317972

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. gyrB as a phylogenetic discriminator for members of the Bacillus anthracis-cereus-thuringiensis group

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    La Duc, Myron T.; Satomi, Masataka; Agata, Norio; Venkateswaran, Kasthuri

    2004-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of the human disease anthrax, Bacillus cereus, a food-borne pathogen capable of causing human illness, and Bacillus thuringiensis, a well-characterized insecticidal toxin producer, all cluster together within a very tight clade (B. cereus group) phylogenetically and are indistinguishable from one another via 16S rDNA sequence analysis. As new pathogens are continually emerging, it is imperative to devise a system capable of rapidly and accurately differentiating closely related, yet phenotypically distinct species. Although the gyrB gene has proven useful in discriminating closely related species, its sequence analysis has not yet been validated by DNA:DNA hybridization, the taxonomically accepted "gold standard". We phylogenetically characterized the gyrB sequences of various species and serotypes encompassed in the "B. cereus group," including lab strains and environmental isolates. Results were compared to those obtained from analyses of phenotypic characteristics, 16S rDNA sequence, DNA:DNA hybridization, and virulence factors. The gyrB gene proved more highly differential than 16S, while, at the same time, as analytical as costly and laborious DNA:DNA hybridization techniques in differentiating species within the B. cereus group.

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

    PubMed

    Tomasula, P M; Mukhopadhyay, S; Datta, N; Porto-Fett, A; Call, J E; Luchansky, J B; Renye, J; Tunick, M

    2011-09-01

    High-temperature, short-time pasteurization of milk is 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 size of 1.4 μm has been shown to reject most microorganisms from skim milk; and, in combination with pasteurization, has been shown to extend its shelf life. The objectives of this study were to evaluate MF for its efficiency in removing spores of the attenuated Sterne strain of BA from milk; to evaluate the combined efficiency of MF using a 0.8-μm ceramic membrane, followed by pasteurization (72°C, 18.6s); and to monitor any residual BA in the permeates when stored at temperatures of 4, 10, and 25°C for up to 28 d. In each trial, 95 L of raw skim milk was inoculated with about 6.5 log(10) BA spores/mL of milk. It was then microfiltered in total recycle mode at 50°C using ceramic membranes with pore sizes of either 0.8 μm or 1.4 μm, at crossflow velocity of 6.2 m/s and transmembrane pressure of 127.6 kPa, conditions selected to exploit the selectivity of the membrane. Microfiltration using the 0.8-μm membrane removed 5.91±0.05 log(10) BA spores/mL of milk and the 1.4-μm membrane removed 4.50±0.35 log(10) BA spores/mL of milk. The 0.8-μm membrane showed efficient removal of the native microflora and both membranes showed near complete transmission of the casein proteins. Spore germination was evident in the permeates obtained at 10, 30, and 120 min of MF time (0.8-μm membrane) but when stored at 4 or 10°C, spore levels were decreased to below detection levels (≤0.3 log(10) spores/mL) by d 7 or 3 of storage, respectively. Permeates stored at 25°C showed coagulation and were not evaluated further. Pasteurization of the permeate samples immediately after MF resulted in additional spore germination that was related to the length of MF time. Pasteurized permeates obtained at 10 min of MF and stored at 4 or 10°C showed no

  17. Anthrax Toxins in Context of Bacillus anthracis Spores and Spore Germination.

    PubMed

    Cote, Christopher K; Welkos, Susan L

    2015-08-17

    The interaction of anthrax toxin or toxin components with B. anthracis spores has been demonstrated. Germinating spores can produce significant amounts of toxin components very soon after the initiation of germination. In this review, we will summarize the work performed that has led to our understanding of toxin and spore interactions and discuss the complexities associated with these interactions.

  18. Anthrax Toxins in Context of Bacillus anthracis Spores and Spore Germination

    PubMed Central

    Cote, Christopher K.; Welkos, Susan L.

    2015-01-01

    The interaction of anthrax toxin or toxin components with B. anthracis spores has been demonstrated. Germinating spores can produce significant amounts of toxin components very soon after the initiation of germination. In this review, we will summarize the work performed that has led to our understanding of toxin and spore interactions and discuss the complexities associated with these interactions. PMID:26287244

  19. Evaluation of New Dihydrophthalazine-Appended 2,4-Diaminopyrimidines against Bacillus anthracis: Improved Syntheses Using a New Pincer Complex

    PubMed Central

    Muddala, Nagendra Prasad; Nammalwar, Baskar; Selvaraju, Subhashini; Bourne, Christina R.; Henry, Mary; Bunce, Richard A.; Berlin, K. Darrell; Barrow, Esther W.; Barrow, William W.

    2015-01-01

    The synthesis and evaluation of ten new dihydrophthalazine-appended 2,4-diaminopyrimidines as potential drugs to treat Bacillus anthracis is reported. An improved synthesis utilizing a new pincer catalyst, dichlorobis[1-(dicyclohexylphosphanyl)-piperidine]palladium(II), allows the final Heck coupling to be performed at 90 °C using triethylamine as the base. These milder conditions have been used to achieve improved yields for new and previously reported substrates with functional groups that degrade or react at the normal 140 °C reaction temperature. An analytical protocol for separating the S and R enantiomers of two of the most active compounds is also disclosed. Finally, the X-ray structure for the most active enantiomer of the lead compound, (S)-RAB1, is given. PMID:25905602

  20. Expression, Purification, Crystallization And Preliminary X-Ray Studies of a Prolyl-4-Hydroxylase Protein From Bacillus Anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Miller, M.A.; Scott, E.E.; Limburg, J.

    2009-05-26

    Collagen prolyl-4-hydroxylase (C-P4H) catalyzes the hydroxylation of specific proline residues in procollagen, which is an essential step in collagen biosynthesis. A new form of P4H from Bacillus anthracis (anthrax-P4H) that shares many characteristics with the type I C-P4H from human has recently been characterized. The structure of anthrax-P4H could provide important insight into the chemistry of C-P4Hs and into the function of this unique homodimeric P4H. X-ray diffraction data of selenomethionine-labeled anthrax-P4H recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli have been collected to 1.4 {angstrom} resolution.

  1. Identification of Three Noncontiguous Regions on Bacillus anthracis Plasmid pXO1 That Are Important for Its Maintenance

    PubMed Central

    Pomerantsev, Andrei P.; Chang, Zanetta; Rappole, Catherine

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis pXO1 minireplicon (MR) plasmid consisting of open reading frames (ORFs) GBAA_pXO1_0020 to GBAA_pXO1_0023 is not stably maintained in B. anthracis, whereas the full-size parent pXO1 plasmid (having 181,677 bp and 217 ORFs) is extremely stable under the same growth conditions. Two genetic tools developed for DNA manipulation in B. anthracis (Cre-loxP and Flp-FRT systems) were used to identify pXO1 regions important for plasmid stability. We localized a large segment of pXO1 that enables stable plasmid maintenance during vegetative growth. Further genetic analysis identified three genes that are necessary for pXO1 maintenance: amsP (GBAA_pXO1_0069), minP (GBAA_pXO1_0082), and sojP (GBAA_pXO1_0084). Analysis of conserved domains in the corresponding proteins indicated that only AmsP (activator of maintenance system of pXO1) is predicted to bind DNA, due to its strong helix-turn-helix domain. Two conserved domains were found in the MinP protein (Min protein from pXO1): an N-terminal domain having some similarity to the B. anthracis septum site-determining protein MinD and a C-terminal domain that resembles a baculovirus single-stranded-DNA-binding protein. The SojP protein (Soj from pXO1) contains putative Walker box motifs and belongs to the ParA family of ATPases. No sequences encoding other components of type I plasmid partition systems, namely, cis-acting centromere parS and its binding ParB protein, were identified within the pXO1 genome. A model describing the role of the MinP protein in pXO1 distribution between daughter cells is proposed. PMID:24914182

  2. Discrimination of Bacillus anthracis from closely related microorganisms by analysis of 16S and 23S rRNA with oligonucleotide microchips

    DOEpatents

    Bavykin, Sergei G.; Mirzabekov, Andrei D.

    2007-10-30

    The present invention is directed to a novel method of discriminating a highly infectious bacterium Bacillus anthracis from a group of closely related microorganisms. Sequence variations in the 16S and 23S rRNA of the B. cereus subgroup including B. anthracis are utilized to construct an array that can detect these sequence variations through selective hybridizations. The identification and analysis of these sequence variations enables positive discrimination of isolates of the B. cereus group that includes B. anthracis. Discrimination of single base differences in rRNA was achieved with a microchip during analysis of B. cereus group isolates from both single and in mixed probes, as well as identification of polymorphic sites. Successful use of a microchip to determine the appropriate subgroup classification using eight reference microorganisms from the B. cereus group as a study set, was demonstrated.

  3. Response surface modeling for hot, humid air decontamination of materials contaminated with Bacillus anthracis ∆Sterne and Bacillus thuringiensis Al Hakam spores

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Response surface methodology using a face-centered cube design was used to describe and predict spore inactivation of Bacillus anthracis ∆Sterne and Bacillus thuringiensis Al Hakam spores after exposure of six spore-contaminated materials to hot, humid air. For each strain/material pair, an attempt was made to fit a first or second order model. All three independent predictor variables (temperature, relative humidity, and time) were significant in the models except that time was not significant for B. thuringiensis Al Hakam on nylon. Modeling was unsuccessful for wiring insulation and wet spores because there was complete spore inactivation in the majority of the experimental space. In cases where a predictive equation could be fit, response surface plots with time set to four days were generated. The survival of highly purified Bacillus spores can be predicted for most materials tested when given the settings for temperature, relative humidity, and time. These predictions were cross-checked with spore inactivation measurements. PMID:24949256

  4. Detailed Genomic Analysis of the Wβ and γ Phages Infecting Bacillus anthracis: Implications for Evolution of Environmental Fitness and Antibiotic Resistance†

    PubMed Central

    Schuch, Raymond; Fischetti, Vincent A.

    2006-01-01

    Phage-mediated lysis has been an essential laboratory tool for rapidly identifying Bacillus anthracis for more than 40 years, relying on the γ phage derivative of a Bacillus cereus prophage called W. The complete genomic sequences of the temperate W phage, referred to as Wβ, and its lytic variant γ were determined and found to encode 53 open reading frames each, spanning 40,864 bp and 37,373 bp, respectively. Direct comparison of the genomes showed that γ evolved through mutations at key loci controlling host recognition, lysogenic growth, and possibly host phenotypic modification. Included are a cluster of point mutations at the gp14 tail fiber locus of γ, encoding a protein that, when fused to green fluorescent protein, binds specifically to B. anthracis. A large 2,003-bp deletion was also identified at the γ lysogeny module, explaining its shift from a temperate to a lytic lifestyle. Finally, evidence of recombination was observed at a dicistronic Wβ locus, encoding putative bacterial cell surface-modifying proteins, replaced in γ with a locus, likely obtained from a B. anthracis prophage, encoding demonstrable fosfomycin resistance. Reverse transcriptase PCR analysis confirmed strong induction at the dicistronic Wβ locus and at four other phage loci in B. anthracis and/or B. cereus lysogens. In all, this study represents the first genomic and functional description of two historically important phages and is part of a broader investigation into contributions of phage to the B. anthracis life cycle. Initial findings suggest that lysogeny of B. anthracis promotes ecological adaptation, rather than virulence, as with other gram-positive pathogens. PMID:16585764

  5. Small Molecule Inhibitors of Anthrax Lethal Factor Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Williams, John D.; Khan, Atiyya R.; Cardinale, Steven C.; Butler, Michelle M.; Bowlin, Terry L.; Peet, Norton P.

    2014-01-01

    This manuscript describes the preparation of new small molecule inhibitors of Bacillus anthracis lethal factor. Our starting point was the symmetrical, bis-quinolinyl compound 1 (NSC 12155). Optimization of one half of this molecule led to new LF inhibitors that were desymmetrized to afford more drug-like compounds. PMID:24290062

  6. Panning of a phage display library against a synthetic capsule for peptide ligands that bind to the native capsule of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Beer, Michael; Liu, Chun-Qiang

    2012-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax with the ability to not only produce a tripartite toxin, but also an enveloping capsule comprised primarily of γ-D-glutamic acid residues. The purpose of this study was to isolate peptide ligands capable of binding to the native capsule of B. anthracis from a commercial phage display peptide library using a synthetic form of the capsule consisting of 12 γ-D-glutamic acid residues. Following four rounds of selection, 80 clones were selected randomly and analysed by DNA sequencing. Four clones, each containing a unique consensus sequence, were identified by sequence alignment analysis. Phage particles were prepared and their derived 12-mer peptides were also chemically synthesized and conjugated to BSA. Both the phage particles and free peptide-BSA conjugates were evaluated by ELISA for binding to encapsulated cells of B. anthracis as well as a B. anthracis capsule extract. All the phage particles tested except one were able to bind to both the encapsulated cells and the capsule extract. However, the peptide-BSA conjugates could only bind to the encapsulated cells. One of the peptide-BSA conjugates, with the sequence DSSRIPMQWHPQ (termed G1), was fluorescently labelled and its binding to the encapsulated cells was further confirmed by confocal microscopy. The results demonstrated that the synthetic capsule was effective in isolating phage-displayed peptides with binding affinity for the native capsule of B. anthracis.

  7. Virtual screening of LPXTG competitive SrtA inhibitors targeting signal transduction mechanism in Bacillus anthracis: a combined experimental and theoretical study.

    PubMed

    Selvaraj, Chandrabose; Sivakamavalli, Jeyachandran; Baskaralingam, Vaseeharan; Singh, Sanjeev Kumar

    2014-06-01

    Members of the sortase enzyme super family decorate the surfaces of Bacillus anthracis cell wall with proteins that play key roles in microbial pathogenesis and its biofilm formation. Bacillus anthracis Sortase-A (Ba-SrtA) is a potential target for new therapeutics as it is required for B. anthracis survival and replication within macrophages. An understanding of the binding site pocket and substrate recognition mechanism by SrtA enzymes may serve to be beneficial in the rational development of sortase inhibitors. Here, the LPXTG signal peptide-based competitive inhibitors are screened against the Ba-SrtA and compounds with reasonable inhibition, specificity, and mechanisms of inactivation of SrtA have been covered. The screened compounds are experimentally validated against the phylogenetically similar Gram-positive pathogen B. cereus. In situ microscopic visualizations suggest that these screened compounds showed the microbial and biofilm inhibitory activity against B. cereus. It facilitates the further development of these molecules into useful anti-infective agents to treat infections caused by B. anthracis and other Gram-positive pathogens. These results provide insight into basic design principles for generating new clinically relevant lead molecules. It also provides an alternative strategy where a screened ligand molecule can be used in combination to battle increasingly against the Gram-positive pathogens.

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

    PubMed Central

    Seiner, DR; Colburn, HA; Baird, C; Bartholomew, RA; Straub, T; Victry, K; Hutchison, JR; Valentine, N; Bruckner-Lea, CJ

    2013-01-01

    Aims To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the BioFire Diagnostics FilmArray® system in combination with their 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-neighbours, and live Ba spores were analysed using the FilmArray® Biothreat Panel, a multiplexed PCR-based assay for 17 pathogens and toxins. Sensitivity studies with DNA indicate that the limit of detection is 250 genome equivalents (GEs) per sample or lower. Furthermore, the identification of Ft, Yp or Bacillus species was made in 63 of 72 samples tested at 25 GE or less. With samples containing 25 CFU of Ba Sterne spores, at least one of the two possible Ba markers was identified in all samples tested. We observed no cross-reactivity with near-neighbour DNAs. Conclusions Our results indicate that the FilmArray® Biothreat Panel is a sensitive and selective assay for detecting the genetic signatures of Ba, Ft and Yp. Significance and Impact of the Study The FilmArray® platform is a complete sample-to-answer system, combining sample preparation, PCR and data analysis. This system is particularly suited for biothreat testing where samples need to be analysed for multiple biothreats by operators with limited training. PMID:23279070

  9. A survey of the occurrence of Bacillus anthracis in North American soils over two long-range transects and within post-Katrina New Orleans

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Griffin, Dale W.; Petrosky, Terry; Morman, Suzette A.; Luna, Vicki A.

    2009-01-01

    Soil samples were collected along a north-south transect extending from Manitoba, Canada, to the US-Mexico border near El Paso, Texas in 2004 (104 samples), a group of sites within New Orleans, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (19 samples), and a Gulf Coast transect extending from Sulphur, Louisiana, to DeFuniak Springs, Florida, in 2007 (38 samples). Samples were collected from the top 40 cm of soil and were screened for the presence of total Bacillus species and Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), specifically using multiplex-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Using an assay with a sensitivity of ~170 equivalent colony-forming units (CFU) g-1 field moist soil, the prevalence rate of Bacillus sp./B. anthracis in the north-south transect and the 2005 New Orleans post-Katrina sample set were 20/5% and 26/26%, respectively. Prevalence in the 2007 Gulf Coast sample set using an assay with a sensitivity of ~4 CFU g-1 of soil was 63/0%. Individual transect-set data indicate a positive relation between occurrences of species and soil moisture or soil constituents (i.e., Zn and Cu content). The 2005 New Orleans post-Katrina data indicated that B. anthracis is readily detectable in Gulf Coast soils following flood events. The data also indicated that occurrence, as it relates to soil chemistry, may be confounded by flood-induced dissemination of germinated cells and the mixing of soil constituents for short temporal periods following an event.

  10. A survey of the occurrence of Bacillus anthracis in North American soils over two long-range transects and within post-Katrina New Orleans

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Griffin, Dale W.; Petrosky, T.; Morman, S.A.; Luna, V.A.

    2009-01-01

    Soil samples were collected along a north-south transect extending from Manitoba, Canada, to the US-Mexico border near El Paso, Texas in 2004 (104 samples), a group of sites within New Orleans, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (19 samples), and a Gulf Coast transect extending from Sulphur, Louisiana, to DeFuniak Springs, Florida, in 2007 (38 samples). Samples were collected from the top 40 cm of soil and were screened for the presence of total Bacillus species and Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), specifically using multiplex-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Using an assay with a sensitivity of ???170 equivalent colony-forming units (CFU) g-1 field moist soil, the prevalence rate of Bacillus sp./B. anthracis in the north-south transect and the 2005 New Orleans post-Katrina sample set were 20/5% and 26/26%, respectively. Prevalence in the 2007 Gulf Coast sample set using an assay with a sensitivity of ???4 CFU g-1 of soil was 63/0%. Individual transect-set data indicate a positive relation between occurrences of species and soil moisture or soil constituents (i.e., Zn and Cu content). The 2005 New Orleans post-Katrina data indicated that B. anthracis is readily detectable in Gulf Coast soils following flood events. The data also indicated that occurrence, as it relates to soil chemistry, may be confounded by flood-induced dissemination of germinated cells and the mixing of soil constituents for short temporal periods following an event.

  11. Baulamycins A and B, broad-spectrum antibiotics identified as inhibitors of siderophore biosynthesis in Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Tripathi, Ashootosh; Schofield, Michael M; Chlipala, George E; Schultz, Pamela J; Yim, Isaiah; Newmister, Sean A; Nusca, Tyler D; Scaglione, Jamie B; Hanna, Philip C; Tamayo-Castillo, Giselle; Sherman, David H

    2014-01-29

    Siderophores are high-affinity iron chelators produced by microorganisms and frequently contribute to the virulence of human pathogens. Targeted inhibition of the biosynthesis of siderophores staphyloferrin B of Staphylococcus aureus and petrobactin of Bacillus anthracis hold considerable potential as a single or combined treatment for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and anthrax infection, respectively. The biosynthetic pathways for both siderophores involve a nonribosomal peptide synthetase independent siderophore (NIS) synthetase, including SbnE in staphyloferrin B and AsbA in petrobactin. In this study, we developed a biochemical assay specific for NIS synthetases to screen for inhibitors of SbnE and AsbA against a library of marine microbial-derived natural product extracts (NPEs). Analysis of the NPE derived from Streptomyces tempisquensis led to the isolation of the novel antibiotics baulamycins A (BmcA, 6) and B (BmcB, 7). BmcA and BmcB displayed in vitro activity with IC50 values of 4.8 μM and 19 μM against SbnE and 180 μM and 200 μM against AsbA, respectively. Kinetic analysis showed that the compounds function as reversible competitive enzyme inhibitors. Liquid culture studies with S. aureus , B. anthracis , E. coli , and several other bacterial pathogens demonstrated the capacity of these natural products to penetrate bacterial barriers and inhibit growth of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative species. These studies provide proof-of-concept that natural product inhibitors targeting siderophore virulence factors can provide access to novel broad-spectrum antibiotics, which may serve as important leads for the development of potent anti-infective agents.

  12. Crystal structure of Bacillus anthracis virulence regulator AtxA and effects of phosphorylated histidines on multimerization and activity

    PubMed Central

    Hammerstrom, Troy G.; Horton, Lori B.; Swick, Michelle C.; Joachimiak, Andrzej; Osipiuk, Jerzy; Koehler, Theresa M.

    2015-01-01

    Summary The Bacillus anthracis virulence regulator AtxA controls transcription of the anthrax toxin genes and capsule biosynthesis operon. AtxA activity is elevated during growth in media containing glucose and CO2/bicarbonate, and there is a positive correlation between the CO2/bicarbonate signal, AtxA activity, and homomultimerization. AtxA activity is also affected by phosphorylation at specific histidines. We show that AtxA crystallizes as a dimer. Distinct folds associated with predicted DNA-binding domains (HTH1 and HTH2) and phosphoenolpyruvate: carbohydrate phosphotransferase system-regulated domains (PRD1 and PRD2) are apparent. We tested AtxA variants containing single and double phosphomimetic (His → Asp) and phosphoablative (His → Ala) amino acid changes for activity in B. anthracis cultures and for protein-protein interactions in cell lysates. Reduced activity of AtxA H199A, lack of multimerization and activity of AtxAH379D variants, and predicted structural changes associated with phosphorylation support a model for control of AtxA function. We propose that (1) in the AtxA dimer, phosphorylation of H199 in PRD1 affects HTH2 positioning, influencing DNA-binding; and (2) phosphorylation of H379 in PRD2 disrupts dimer formation. The AtxA structure is the first reported high-resolution full-length structure of a PRD-containing regulator and can serve as a model for proteins of this family, especially those that link virulence to bacterial metabolism. PMID:25402841

  13. Crystal Structure and Catalytic Properties of Bacillus anthracis CoADR-RHD: Implications for Flavin-Linked Sulfur Trafficking

    SciTech Connect

    Wallen, J.; Mallett, T; Boles, W; Parsonage, D; Furdui, C; Karplus, A; Claiborne, A

    2009-01-01

    Rhodanese homology domains (RHDs) play important roles in sulfur trafficking mechanisms essential to the biosynthesis of sulfur-containing cofactors and nucleosides. We have now determined the crystal structure at 2.10 {angstrom} resolution for the Bacillus anthracis coenzyme A-disulfide reductase isoform (BaCoADR-RHD) containing a C-terminal RHD domain; this is the first structural representative of the multidomain proteins class of the rhodanese superfamily. The catalytic Cys44 of the CoADR module is separated by 25 {angstrom} from the active-site Cys514' of the RHD domain from the complementary subunit. In stark contrast to the B. anthracis CoADR (Wallen, J. R., Paige, C., Mallett, T. C., Karplus, P. A., and Claiborne, A. (2008) Biochemistry 47, 5182-5193), the BaCoADR-RHD isoform does not catalyze the reduction of coenzyme A-disulfide, although both enzymes conserve the Cys-SSCoA redox center. NADH titrations have been combined with a synchrotron reduction protocol for examination of the structural and redox behavior of the Cys44-SSCoA center. The synchrotron-reduced (Cys44 + CoASH) structure reveals ordered binding for the adenosine 3'-phosphate 5'-pyrophosphate moiety of CoASH, but the absence of density for the pantetheine arm indicates that it is flexible within the reduced active site. Steady-state kinetic analyses with the alternate disulfide substrates methyl methanethiolsulfonate (MMTS) and 5,5'-dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoate) (DTNB), including the appropriate Cys {yields} Ser mutants, demonstrate that MMTS reduction occurs within the CoADR active site. NADH-dependent DTNB reduction, on the other hand, requires communication between Cys44 and Cys514', and we propose that reduction of the Cys44-SSCoA disulfide promotes the transfer of reducing equivalents to the RHD, with the swinging pantetheine arm serving as a ca. 20 {angstrom} bridge.

  14. Crystal structure of Bacillus anthracis virulence regulator AtxA and effects of phosphorylated histidines on multimerization and activity

    SciTech Connect

    Hammerstrom, Troy G.; Horton, Lori B.; Swick, Michelle C.; Joachimiak, Andrzej; Osipiuk, Jerzy; Koehler, Theresa M.

    2014-12-30

    The Bacillus anthracis virulence regulator AtxA controls transcription of the anthrax toxin genes and capsule biosynthesis operon. AtxA activity is elevated during growth in media containing glucose and CO2/bicarbonate, and there is a positive correlation between the CO2/bicarbonate signal, AtxA activity, and homomultimerization. AtxA activity is also affected by phosphorylation at specific histidines. We show that AtxA crystallizes as a dimer. Distinct folds associated with predicted DNA-binding domains (HTH1 and HTH2) and phosphoenolpyruvate: carbohydrate phosphotransferase system-regulated domains (PRD1 and PRD2) are apparent. We tested AtxA variants containing single and double phosphomimetic (His → Asp) and phosphoablative (His → Ala) amino acid changes for activity in B. anthracis cultures and for protein-protein interactions in cell lysates. Reduced activity of AtxA H199A, lack of multimerization and activity of AtxAH379D variants, and predicted structural changes associated with phosphorylation support a model for control of AtxA function. We propose that (1) in the AtxA dimer, phosphorylation of H199 in PRD1 affects HTH2 positioning, influencing DNA-binding; and (2) phosphorylation of H379 in PRD2 disrupts dimer formation. In conclusion, the AtxA structure is the first reported high-resolution full-length structure of a PRD-containing regulator and can serve as a model for proteins of this family, especially those that link virulence to bacterial metabolism.

  15. Crystal structure of Bacillus anthracis virulence regulator AtxA and effects of phosphorylated histidines on multimerization and activity

    DOE PAGES

    Hammerstrom, Troy G.; Horton, Lori B.; Swick, Michelle C.; Joachimiak, Andrzej; Osipiuk, Jerzy; Koehler, Theresa M.

    2014-12-30

    The Bacillus anthracis virulence regulator AtxA controls transcription of the anthrax toxin genes and capsule biosynthesis operon. AtxA activity is elevated during growth in media containing glucose and CO2/bicarbonate, and there is a positive correlation between the CO2/bicarbonate signal, AtxA activity, and homomultimerization. AtxA activity is also affected by phosphorylation at specific histidines. We show that AtxA crystallizes as a dimer. Distinct folds associated with predicted DNA-binding domains (HTH1 and HTH2) and phosphoenolpyruvate: carbohydrate phosphotransferase system-regulated domains (PRD1 and PRD2) are apparent. We tested AtxA variants containing single and double phosphomimetic (His → Asp) and phosphoablative (His → Ala) aminomore » acid changes for activity in B. anthracis cultures and for protein-protein interactions in cell lysates. Reduced activity of AtxA H199A, lack of multimerization and activity of AtxAH379D variants, and predicted structural changes associated with phosphorylation support a model for control of AtxA function. We propose that (1) in the AtxA dimer, phosphorylation of H199 in PRD1 affects HTH2 positioning, influencing DNA-binding; and (2) phosphorylation of H379 in PRD2 disrupts dimer formation. In conclusion, the AtxA structure is the first reported high-resolution full-length structure of a PRD-containing regulator and can serve as a model for proteins of this family, especially those that link virulence to bacterial metabolism.« less

  16. Baulamycins A and B, Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics Identified as Inhibitors of Siderophore Biosynthesis in Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Tripathi, Ashootosh; Schofield, Michael M.; Chlipala, George E.; Schultz, Pamela J.; Yim, Isaiah; Newmister, Sean A.; Nusca, Tyler D.; Scaglione, Jamie B.; Hanna, Philip C.; Tamayo-Castillo, Giselle; Sherman, David H.

    2014-01-01

    Siderophores are high-affinity iron chelators produced by microorganisms and frequently contribute to the virulence of human pathogens. Targeted inhibition of the biosynthesis of siderophores staphyloferrin B of Staphylococcus aureus and petrobactin of Bacillus anthracis hold considerable potential as a single or combined treatment for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and anthrax infection, respectively. The biosynthetic pathways for both siderophores involve a nonribosomal peptide synthetase independent siderophore (NIS) synthetase, including SbnE in staphyloferrin B and AsbA in petrobactin. In this study, we developed a biochemical assay specific for NIS synthetases to screen for inhibitors of SbnE and AsbA against a library of marine microbial-derived natural product extracts (NPEs). Analysis of the NPE derived from Streptomyces tempisquensis led to the isolation of the novel antibiotics baulamycins A (BmcA, 6) and B (BmcB, 7). BmcA and BmcB displayed in vitro activity with IC50 values of 4.8 µM and 19 µM against SbnE and 180 µM and 200 µM against AsbA, respectively. Kinetic analysis showed that the compounds function as reversible competitive enzyme inhibitors. Liquid culture studies with S. aureus, B. anthracis, E. coli and several other bacterial pathogens demonstrated the capacity of these natural products to penetrate bacterial barriers and inhibit growth of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative species. These studies provide proof-of-concept that natural product inhibitors targeting siderophore virulence factors can provide access to novel broad-spectrum antibiotics, which may serve as important leads for the development of potent anti-infective agents PMID:24401083

  17. Improved Proteomic Analysis Following Trichloroacetic Acid Extraction of Bacillus anthracis Spore Proteins

    SciTech Connect

    Kaiser, Brooke LD; Wunschel, David S.; Sydor, Michael A.; Warner, Marvin G.; Wahl, Karen L.; Hutchison, Janine R.

    2015-08-07

    Proteomic analysis of bacterial samples provides valuable information about cellular responses and functions under different environmental pressures. Proteomic analysis is dependent upon efficient extraction of proteins from bacterial samples without introducing bias toward extraction of particular protein classes. While no single method can recover 100% of the bacterial proteins, selected protocols can improve overall protein isolation, peptide recovery, or enrich for certain classes of proteins. The method presented here is technically simple and does not require specialized equipment such as a mechanical disrupter. Our data reveal that for particularly challenging samples, such as B. anthracis Sterne spores, trichloroacetic acid extraction improved the number of proteins identified within a sample compared to bead beating (714 vs 660, respectively). Further, TCA extraction enriched for 103 known spore specific proteins whereas bead beating resulted in 49 unique proteins. Analysis of C. botulinum samples grown to 5 days, composed of vegetative biomass and spores, showed a similar trend with improved protein yields and identification using our method compared to bead beating. Interestingly, easily lysed samples, such as B. anthracis vegetative cells, were equally as effectively processed via TCA and bead beating, but TCA extraction remains the easiest and most cost effective option. As with all assays, supplemental methods such as implementation of an alternative preparation method may provide additional insight to the protein biology of the bacteria being studied.

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

    PubMed

    Antwerpen, Markus; 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 ofBacillus anthracisstrain Stendal, isolated from one of the diseased cows. PMID:27056225

  19. Induction of opsonic antibodies to the gamma-D-glutamic acid capsule of Bacillus anthracis by immunization with a synthetic peptide-carrier protein conjugate.

    PubMed

    Wang, Taia T; Fellows, Patricia F; Leighton, Terrance J; Lucas, Alexander H

    2004-04-01

    The capsule of Bacillus anthracis, a polymer of gamma-D-glutamic acid, functions as a virulence determinant and is a poor immunogen. In this study we show that antibodies reactive with the B. anthracis capsule can be elicited in mice by immunization with a conjugate consisting of a synthetic gamma-D-glutamic acid nonamer peptide (gamma-D-glu9) covalently coupled to keyhole limpet hemocyanin. The serum response to gamma-D-glu9 was comprised primarily of IgG antibodies that recognized an epitope requiring a minimum of four gamma-linked D-glutamic acid residues. Antibodies to (gamma-D-glu9) bound to the surface of encapsulated B. anthracis cells and mediated opsonophagoctosis. These findings suggest that anti-capsular antibodies could mediate the clearance of vegetative B. anthracis cells in vivo. Thus, inclusion of an immunogenic capsular component as well as protective antigen in new anthrax vaccines would generate immune responses targeting both the bacteremic and toxigenic aspects of anthrax infection and thus may increase protective efficacy.

  20. Different Roles of N-Terminal and C-Terminal Domains in Calmodulin for Activation of Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor

    PubMed Central

    Lübker, Carolin; Dove, Stefan; Tang, Wei-Jen; Urbauer, Ramona J. Bieber; Moskovitz, Jackob; Urbauer, Jeffrey L.; Seifert, Roland

    2015-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis adenylyl cyclase toxin edema factor (EF) is one component of the anthrax toxin and is essential for establishing anthrax disease. EF activation by the eukaryotic Ca2+-sensor calmodulin (CaM) leads to massive cAMP production resulting in edema. cAMP also inhibits the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-oxidase, thus reducing production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) used for host defense in activated neutrophils and thereby facilitating bacterial growth. Methionine (Met) residues in CaM, important for interactions between CaM and its binding partners, can be oxidized by ROS. We investigated the impact of site-specific oxidation of Met in CaM on EF activation using thirteen CaM-mutants (CaM-mut) with Met to leucine (Leu) substitutions. EF activation shows high resistance to oxidative modifications in CaM. An intact structure in the C-terminal region of oxidized CaM is sufficient for major EF activation despite altered secondary structure in the N-terminal region associated with Met oxidation. The secondary structures of CaM-mut were determined and described in previous studies from our group. Thus, excess cAMP production and the associated impairment of host defence may be afforded even under oxidative conditions in activated neutrophils. PMID:26184312

  1. EsxB, a secreted protein from Bacillus anthracis forms two distinct helical bundles

    SciTech Connect

    Fan, Yao; Tan, Kemin; Chhor, Gekleng; Butler, Emily K.; Jedrzejczak, Robert P.; Missiakas, Dominique; Joachimiak, Andrzej

    2015-07-03

    The EsxB protein from Bacillus anthracis belongs to the WXG100 family, a group of proteins secreted by a specialized secretion system. We have determined the crystal structures of recombinant EsxB and discovered that the small protein (~10 kDa), comprised of a helix-loop-helix (HLH) hairpin, is capable of associating into two different helical bundles. The two basic quaternary assemblies of EsxB are an antiparallel (AP) dimer and a rarely observed bisecting U (BU) dimer. This structural duality of EsxB is believed to originate from the heptad repeat sequence diversity of the first helix of its HLH hairpin, which allows for two alternative helix packing. The flexibility of EsxB and the ability to form alternative helical bundles underscore the possibility that this protein can serve as an adaptor in secretion and can form hetero-oligomeric helix bundle(s) with other secreted members of the WXG100 family, such as EsxW. The highly conserved WXG motif is located within the loop of the HLH hairpin and is mostly buried within the helix bundle suggesting that its role is mainly structural. The exact functions of the motif, including a proposed role as a secretion signal, remain unknown.

  2. Obiltoxaximab Prevents Disseminated Bacillus anthracis Infection and Improves Survival during Pre- and Postexposure Prophylaxis in Animal Models of Inhalational Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Yamamoto, Brent J.; Shadiack, Annette M.; Carpenter, Sarah; Sanford, Daniel; Henning, Lisa N.; Gonzales, Nestor; O'Connor, Edward; Casey, Leslie S.

    2016-01-01

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adjunctive antitoxins when systemic anthrax is suspected. Obiltoxaximab, a monoclonal antibody against protective antigen (PA), is approved for treatment of inhalational anthrax in combination with antibiotics and for prophylaxis when alternative therapies are not available. The impact of toxin neutralization with obiltoxaximab during pre- and postexposure prophylaxis was explored, and efficacy results that supported the prophylaxis indication are presented here. New Zealand White rabbits and cynomolgus macaques received obiltoxaximab as a single intramuscular or intravenous dose of 2 to 16 mg/kg of body weight at various times relative to Bacillus anthracis aerosol spore challenge. The primary endpoint was survival, and effect of treatment timing was explored. In rabbits, obiltoxaximab administration 9 h postchallenge singly or combined with a 5-day levofloxacin regimen protected 89% to 100% of animals compared to 33% with levofloxacin monotherapy. In cynomolgus macaques, a single intramuscular dose of 16 mg/kg obiltoxaximab led to 100% survival when given 1 to 3 days preexposure and 83% to 100% survival when given 18 to 24 h postexposure and prior to systemic bacteremia onset. Obiltoxaximab administration after bacteremia onset resulted in lower (25% to 50%) survival rates reflective of treatment setting. Prophylactic administration of obiltoxaximab before spore challenge or to spore-challenged animals before systemic bacterial dissemination is efficacious in promoting survival, ameliorating toxemia, and inhibiting bacterial spread to the periphery. PMID:27431219

  3. Obiltoxaximab Prevents Disseminated Bacillus anthracis Infection and Improves Survival during Pre- and Postexposure Prophylaxis in Animal Models of Inhalational Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Yamamoto, Brent J; Shadiack, Annette M; Carpenter, Sarah; Sanford, Daniel; Henning, Lisa N; Gonzales, Nestor; O'Connor, Edward; Casey, Leslie S; Serbina, Natalya V

    2016-10-01

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adjunctive antitoxins when systemic anthrax is suspected. Obiltoxaximab, a monoclonal antibody against protective antigen (PA), is approved for treatment of inhalational anthrax in combination with antibiotics and for prophylaxis when alternative therapies are not available. The impact of toxin neutralization with obiltoxaximab during pre- and postexposure prophylaxis was explored, and efficacy results that supported the prophylaxis indication are presented here. New Zealand White rabbits and cynomolgus macaques received obiltoxaximab as a single intramuscular or intravenous dose of 2 to 16 mg/kg of body weight at various times relative to Bacillus anthracis aerosol spore challenge. The primary endpoint was survival, and effect of treatment timing was explored. In rabbits, obiltoxaximab administration 9 h postchallenge singly or combined with a 5-day levofloxacin regimen protected 89% to 100% of animals compared to 33% with levofloxacin monotherapy. In cynomolgus macaques, a single intramuscular dose of 16 mg/kg obiltoxaximab led to 100% survival when given 1 to 3 days preexposure and 83% to 100% survival when given 18 to 24 h postexposure and prior to systemic bacteremia onset. Obiltoxaximab administration after bacteremia onset resulted in lower (25% to 50%) survival rates reflective of treatment setting. Prophylactic administration of obiltoxaximab before spore challenge or to spore-challenged animals before systemic bacterial dissemination is efficacious in promoting survival, ameliorating toxemia, and inhibiting bacterial spread to the periphery. PMID:27431219

  4. Inhibitory effects of nisin-coated multi-walled carbon nanotube sheet on biofilm formation from Bacillus anthracis spores.

    PubMed

    Dong, Xiuli; McCoy, Eric; Zhang, Mei; Yang, Liju

    2014-12-01

    Multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) sheet was fabricated from a drawable MWCNT forest and then deposited on poly(methyl methacrylate) film. The film was further coated with a natural antimicrobial peptide nisin. We studied the effects of nisin coating on the attachment of Bacillus anthracis spores, the germination of attached spores, and the subsequent biofilm formation from attached spores. It was found that the strong adsorptivity and the super hydrophobicity of MWCNTs provided an ideal platform for nisin coating. Nisin coating on MWCNT sheets decreased surface hydrophobicity, reduced spore attachment, and reduced the germination of attached spores by 3.5 fold, and further inhibited the subsequent biofilm formation by 94.6% compared to that on uncoated MWCNT sheet. Nisin also changed the morphology of vegetative cells in the formed biofilm. The results of this study demonstrated that the anti-adhesion and antimicrobial effect of nisin in combination with the physical properties of carbon nanotubes had the potential in producing effective anti-biofilm formation surfaces.

  5. Black-backed jackal exposure to rabies virus, canine distemper virus, and Bacillus anthracis in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    PubMed

    Bellan, Steve E; Cizauskas, Carrie A; Miyen, Jacobeth; Ebersohn, Karen; Küsters, Martina; Prager, K C; Van Vuuren, Moritz; Sabeta, Claude; Getz, Wayne M

    2012-04-01

    Canine distemper virus (CDV) and rabies virus (RABV) occur worldwide in wild carnivore and domestic dog populations and pose threats to wildlife conservation and public health. In Etosha National Park (ENP), Namibia, anthrax is endemic and generates carcasses frequently fed on by an unusually dense population of black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas). Using serology, phylogenetic analyses (on samples obtained from February 2009-July 2010), and historical mortality records (1975-2011), we assessed jackal exposure to Bacillus anthracis (BA; the causal bacterial agent of anthrax), CDV, and RABV. Prevalence of antibodies against BA (95%, n = 86) and CDV (71%, n = 80) was relatively high, while that of antibodies against RABV was low (9%, n = 81). Exposure to BA increased significantly with age, and all animals >6 mo old were antibody-positive. As with BA, prevalence of antibodies against CDV increased significantly with age, with similar age-specific trends during both years of the study. No significant effect of age was found on the prevalence of antibodies against RABV. Three of the seven animals with antibodies against RABV were monitored for more than 1 yr after sampling and showed no signs of active infection. Mortality records revealed that rabid animals are destroyed nearly every year inside the ENP tourist camps. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that jackal RABV in ENP is part of the same transmission cycle as other dog-jackal RABV cycles in Namibia. PMID:22493112

  6. Cellular functions and X-ray structure of anthrolysin O, a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin secreted by Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Bourdeau, Raymond W; Malito, Enrico; Chenal, Alexandre; Bishop, Brian L; Musch, Mark W; Villereal, Mitch L; Chang, Eugene B; Mosser, Elise M; Rest, Richard F; Tang, Wei-Jen

    2009-05-22

    Anthrolysin O (ALO) is a pore-forming, cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC) secreted by Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent for anthrax. Growing evidence suggests the involvement of ALO in anthrax pathogenesis. Here, we show that the apical application of ALO decreases the barrier function of human polarized epithelial cells as well as increases intracellular calcium and the internalization of the tight junction protein occludin. Using pharmacological agents, we also found that barrier function disruption requires increased intracellular calcium and protein degradation. We also report a crystal structure of the soluble state of ALO. Based on our analytical ultracentrifugation and light scattering studies, ALO exists as a monomer. Our ALO structure provides the molecular basis as to how ALO is locked in a monomeric state, in contrast to other CDCs that undergo antiparallel dimerization or higher order oligomerization in solution. ALO has four domains and is globally similar to perfringolysin O (PFO) and intermedilysin (ILY), yet the highly conserved undecapeptide region in domain 4 (D4) adopts a completely different conformation in all three CDCs. Consistent with the differences within D4 and at the D2-D4 interface, we found that ALO D4 plays a key role in affecting the barrier function of C2BBE cells, whereas PFO domain 4 cannot substitute for this role. Novel structural elements and unique cellular functions of ALO revealed by our studies provide new insight into the molecular basis for the diverse nature of the CDC family.

  7. Cellular Functions and X-ray Structure of Anthrolysin O, a Cholesterol-dependent Cytolysin Secreted by Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Bourdeau, Raymond W.; Malito, Enrico; Chenal, Alexandre; Bishop, Brian L.; Musch, Mark W.; Villereal, Mitch L.; Chang, Eugene B.; Mosser, Elise M.; Rest, Richard F.; Tang, Wei-Jen

    2009-06-02

    Anthrolysin O (ALO) is a pore-forming, cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC) secreted by Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent for anthrax. Growing evidence suggests the involvement of ALO in anthrax pathogenesis. Here, we show that the apical application of ALO decreases the barrier function of human polarized epithelial cells as well as increases intracellular calcium and the internalization of the tight junction protein occludin. Using pharmacological agents, we also found that barrier function disruption requires increased intracellular calcium and protein degradation. We also report a crystal structure of the soluble state of ALO. Based on our analytical ultracentrifugation and light scattering studies, ALO exists as a monomer. Our ALO structure provides the molecular basis as to how ALO is locked in a monomeric state, in contrast to other CDCs that undergo antiparallel dimerization or higher order oligomerization in solution. ALO has four domains and is globally similar to perfringolysin O (PFO) and intermedilysin (ILY), yet the highly conserved undecapeptide region in domain 4 (D4) adopts a completely different conformation in all three CDCs. Consistent with the differences within D4 and at the D2-D4 interface, we found that ALO D4 plays a key role in affecting the barrier function of C2BBE cells, whereas PFO domain 4 cannot substitute for this role. Novel structural elements and unique cellular functions of ALO revealed by our studies provide new insight into the molecular basis for the diverse nature of the CDC family.

  8. Black-backed jackal exposure to rabies virus, canine distemper virus, and Bacillus anthracis in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    PubMed

    Bellan, Steve E; Cizauskas, Carrie A; Miyen, Jacobeth; Ebersohn, Karen; Küsters, Martina; Prager, K C; Van Vuuren, Moritz; Sabeta, Claude; Getz, Wayne M

    2012-04-01

    Canine distemper virus (CDV) and rabies virus (RABV) occur worldwide in wild carnivore and domestic dog populations and pose threats to wildlife conservation and public health. In Etosha National Park (ENP), Namibia, anthrax is endemic and generates carcasses frequently fed on by an unusually dense population of black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas). Using serology, phylogenetic analyses (on samples obtained from February 2009-July 2010), and historical mortality records (1975-2011), we assessed jackal exposure to Bacillus anthracis (BA; the causal bacterial agent of anthrax), CDV, and RABV. Prevalence of antibodies against BA (95%, n = 86) and CDV (71%, n = 80) was relatively high, while that of antibodies against RABV was low (9%, n = 81). Exposure to BA increased significantly with age, and all animals >6 mo old were antibody-positive. As with BA, prevalence of antibodies against CDV increased significantly with age, with similar age-specific trends during both years of the study. No significant effect of age was found on the prevalence of antibodies against RABV. Three of the seven animals with antibodies against RABV were monitored for more than 1 yr after sampling and showed no signs of active infection. Mortality records revealed that rabid animals are destroyed nearly every year inside the ENP tourist camps. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that jackal RABV in ENP is part of the same transmission cycle as other dog-jackal RABV cycles in Namibia.

  9. Possession, Use, and Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins-- Addition of Bacillus Cereus Biovar Anthracis to the HHS List of Select Agents and Toxins. Interim final rule and request for comments.

    PubMed

    2016-09-14

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is adding Bacillus cereus Biovar anthracis to the list of HHS select agents and toxins as a Tier 1 select agent. We are taking this action to regulate this agent that is similar to B. anthracis to prevent its misuse, which could cause a biological threat to public health and/or national security. PMID:27632805

  10. Possession, Use, and Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins-- Addition of Bacillus Cereus Biovar Anthracis to the HHS List of Select Agents and Toxins. Interim final rule and request for comments.

    PubMed

    2016-09-14

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is adding Bacillus cereus Biovar anthracis to the list of HHS select agents and toxins as a Tier 1 select agent. We are taking this action to regulate this agent that is similar to B. anthracis to prevent its misuse, which could cause a biological threat to public health and/or national security.

  11. Direct selection of cloned DNA in Bacillus subtilis based on sucrose-induced lethality.

    PubMed Central

    Bramucci, M G; Nagarajan, V

    1996-01-01

    Expression of the Bacillus subtilis or Bacillus amyloliquefaciens sacB gene in the presence of sucrose is lethal for a variety of bacteria. Sucrose-induced lethality can be used to select for inactivation of sacB by insertion of heterologous DNA in sensitive bacteria. This procedure has not been applicable to B. subtilis heretofore because expression of wild-type sacB is not detrimental to B. subtilis. The W29 mutation in the B. amyloliquefaciens sacB gene interferes with processing of the levansucrase signal peptide. The W29 mutation does not affect growth of B. subtilis in media lacking sucrose. However, this mutation inhibited growth of B. subtilis in media containing sucrose. Inactivation of the fructose polymerase activity encoded by sacB indicated that levan production was essential for sucrose-induced lethality. As a result, it was possible to select for cloned DNA in B. subtilis by insertional inactivation of the mutant sacB gene located on a multicopy plasmid vector in medium containing sucrose. PMID:8899981

  12. Microevolution of Anthrax from a Young Ancestor (M.A.Y.A.) Suggests a Soil-Borne Life Cycle of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Braun, Peter; Grass, Gregor; Aceti, Angela; Serrecchia, Luigina; Affuso, Alessia; Marino, Leonardo; Grimaldi, Stefania; Pagano, Stefania; Hanczaruk, Matthias; Georgi, Enrico; Northoff, Bernd; Schöler, Anne; Schloter, Michael; Antwerpen, Markus; Fasanella, Antonio

    2015-01-01

    During an anthrax outbreak at the Pollino National Park (Basilicata, Italy) in 2004, diseased cattle were buried and from these anthrax-foci Bacillus anthracis endospores still diffuse to the surface resulting in local accumulations. Recent data suggest that B. anthracis multiplies in soil outside the animal-host body. This notion is supported by the frequent isolation of B. anthracis from soil lacking one or both virulence plasmids. Such strains represent an evolutionary dead end, as they are likely no longer able to successfully infect new hosts. This loss of virulence plasmids is explained most simply by postulating a soil-borne life cycle of the pathogen. To test this hypothesis we investigated possible microevolution at two natural anthrax foci from the 2004 outbreak. If valid, then genotypes of strains isolated from near the surface at these foci should be on a different evolutionary trajectory from those below residing in deeper-laying horizons close to the carcass. Thus, the genetic diversity of B. anthracis isolates was compared conducting Progressive Hierarchical Resolving Assays using Nucleic Acids (PHRANA) and next generation Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). PHRANA was not discriminatory enough to resolve the fine genetic relationships between the isolates. Conversely, WGS of nine isolates from near-surface and nine from near-carcass revealed five isolate specific SNPs, four of which were found only in different near-surface isolates. In support of our hypothesis, one surface-isolate lacked plasmid pXO1 and also harbored one of the unique SNPs. Taken together, our results suggest a limited soil-borne life cycle of B. anthracis. PMID:26266934

  13. Structure of the Type III Pantothenate Kinase from Bacillus Anthracis at 2.0 A Resolution: Implications for Coenzyme A-Dependent Redox Biology

    SciTech Connect

    Nicely,N.; Parsonage, D.; Paige, C.; Newton, G.; Fahey, R.; Leonardi, R.; Jackowski, S.; Mallett, T.; Claiborne, A.

    2007-01-01

    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, 11278-89]. 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 {angstrom}, 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.

  14. Antimicrobial effects of gold/copper sulphide (Gold/Copper monosulfide) core/shell nanoparticles on Bacillus anthracis spores and cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Addae, Ebenezer

    Bacillus anthracis is a gram positive, rod shaped and spore forming bacteria. It causes anthrax, a deadly human and animal disease that can kill its victims in three days. The spores of B. anthracis can survive extreme environmental conditions for decades and germinate when exposed to proper conditions. Due to its potential as a bio-weapon, effective disinfectants that pose less harm to the environment and animals are urgently needed. Metal nanoparticles have the potential of killing microbial cells and spores. We present here the effect of Gold/Copper Sulphide core/shell (Au/CuS) nanoparticles on B. anthracis cells and spores. The results indicated that the continuous presence of 0.83 microM during the spore growth in nutrient medium completely inhibited spore outgrowth. Au/CuS nanoparticles at concentration of 4.15 μM completely inactivated B. anthracis cells (x 107) after 30 min of pre-treatment in any of the three buffers including water, PBS, and nutrient broth. However, the same and even higher concentrations of nanoparticles produce no significant spore (x 105) killing after 24 h of pre-treatment. SEM imaging, EDS analysis, and DNA extrusion experiments revealed that nanoparticles damaged the cell membrane causing DNA and cytosolic content efflux and eventually cell death. The study demonstrated the strong antimicrobial activity of Au/CuS nanoparticles to B. anthracis cells and revealed that Au/CuS NPs showed more effective inactivation effect against the cells than they did against the spores.

  15. Failure of Sterne- and Pasteur-like strains of Bacillus anthracis to replicate and survive in the urban bluebottle blow fly Calliphora vicina under laboratory conditions.

    PubMed

    von Terzi, Britta; Turnbull, Peter C B; Bellan, Steve E; Beyer, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    This study aimed to elucidate the bacteriological events occurring within the gut of Calliphora vicina, selected as the European representative of blow flies held responsible for the spread of anthrax during epidemics in certain parts of the world. Green-fluorescent-protein-carrying derivatives of Bacillus anthracis were used. These lacked either one of the virulence plasmids pXO1 and pXO2 and were infected, or not infected, with a worm intestine phage (Wip4) known to influence the phenotype and survival of the pathogen. Blood meals were prepared for the flies by inoculation of sheep blood with germinated and, in case of pXO2+ strains, encapsulated cells of the four B. anthracis strains. After being fed for 4 h an initial 10 flies were externally disinfected with peracetic acid to ensure subsequent quantitation representing ingested B. anthracis only. Following neutralization, they were crushed in sterile saline. Over each of the ensuing 7 to 10 days, 10 flies were removed and processed the same way. In the absence of Wip4, strains showed steady declines to undetectable in the total B. anthracis counts, within 7-9 days. With the phage infected strains, the falls in viable counts were significantly more rapid than in their uninfected counterparts. Spores were detectable in flies for longer periods than vegetative bacteria. In line with the findings in both biting and non-biting flies of early workers our results indicate that B. anthracis does not multiply in the guts of blow flies and survival is limited to a matter of days. PMID:24392098

  16. Failure of Sterne- and Pasteur-Like Strains of Bacillus anthracis to Replicate and Survive in the Urban Bluebottle Blow Fly Calliphora vicina under Laboratory Conditions

    PubMed Central

    von Terzi, Britta; Turnbull, Peter C. B.; Bellan, Steve E.; Beyer, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    This study aimed to elucidate the bacteriological events occurring within the gut of Calliphora vicina, selected as the European representative of blow flies held responsible for the spread of anthrax during epidemics in certain parts of the world. Green-fluorescent-protein-carrying derivatives of Bacillus anthracis were used. These lacked either one of the virulence plasmids pXO1 and pXO2 and were infected, or not infected, with a worm intestine phage (Wip4) known to influence the phenotype and survival of the pathogen. Blood meals were prepared for the flies by inoculation of sheep blood with germinated and, in case of pXO2+ strains, encapsulated cells of the four B. anthracis strains. After being fed for 4 h an initial 10 flies were externally disinfected with peracetic acid to ensure subsequent quantitation representing ingested B. anthracis only. Following neutralization, they were crushed in sterile saline. Over each of the ensuing 7 to 10 days, 10 flies were removed and processed the same way. In the absence of Wip4, strains showed steady declines to undetectable in the total B. anthracis counts, within 7–9 days. With the phage infected strains, the falls in viable counts were significantly more rapid than in their uninfected counterparts. Spores were detectable in flies for longer periods than vegetative bacteria. In line with the findings in both biting and non-biting flies of early workers our results indicate that B. anthracis does not multiply in the guts of blow flies and survival is limited to a matter of days. PMID:24392098

  17. Microevolution of Anthrax from a Young Ancestor (M.A.Y.A.) Suggests a Soil-Borne Life Cycle of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Braun, Peter; Grass, Gregor; Aceti, Angela; Serrecchia, Luigina; Affuso, Alessia; Marino, Leonardo; Grimaldi, Stefania; Pagano, Stefania; Hanczaruk, Matthias; Georgi, Enrico; Northoff, Bernd; Schöler, Anne; Schloter, Michael; Antwerpen, Markus; Fasanella, Antonio

    2015-01-01

    During an anthrax outbreak at the Pollino National Park (Basilicata, Italy) in 2004, diseased cattle were buried and from these anthrax-foci Bacillus anthracis endospores still diffuse to the surface resulting in local accumulations. Recent data suggest that B. anthracis multiplies in soil outside the animal-host body. This notion is supported by the frequent isolation of B. anthracis from soil lacking one or both virulence plasmids. Such strains represent an evolutionary dead end, as they are likely no longer able to successfully infect new hosts. This loss of virulence plasmids is explained most simply by postulating a soil-borne life cycle of the pathogen. To test this hypothesis we investigated possible microevolution at two natural anthrax foci from the 2004 outbreak. If valid, then genotypes of strains isolated from near the surface at these foci should be on a different evolutionary trajectory from those below residing in deeper-laying horizons close to the carcass. Thus, the genetic diversity of B. anthracis isolates was compared conducting Progressive Hierarchical Resolving Assays using Nucleic Acids (PHRANA) and next generation Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). PHRANA was not discriminatory enough to resolve the fine genetic relationships between the isolates. Conversely, WGS of nine isolates from near-surface and nine from near-carcass revealed five isolate specific SNPs, four of which were found only in different near-surface isolates. In support of our hypothesis, one surface-isolate lacked plasmid pXO1 and also harbored one of the unique SNPs. Taken together, our results suggest a limited soil-borne life cycle of B. anthracis.

  18. Novel Yersinia Pestis Toxin that Resembles Bacillus Anthracis Edema Factor: Study of Activity and Structural Modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Motin, V; Garcia, E; Barsky, D; Zemla, A

    2003-02-05

    The goal of this project was to begin both experimental and computational studies of the novel plague toxin to establish its biological properties and create its 3D-model. The project was divided into two parts. (1) Experimental--This part was devoted to determine distribution of the genes encoding novel plague toxin among different isolates of Y.pestis. If the EF-like activity is important for Y.pestis pathogenicity, it is anticipated that all highly virulent strains will contain the toxin genes. Also, they proposed to initiate research to investigate the functionality of the novel Y.pestis toxin that they hypothesize is likely to significantly contribute to the virulence of this dangerous microbe. this research design consisted of amplification, cloning and expression in E.coli the toxin genes followed by affinity purification of the recombinant protein that can be further used for testing of enzymatic activity. (2) Computational--The structural modeling of the putative EF of Y.pestis was based on multiple sequence alignments, secondary structure predictions, and comparison with 3D models of the EF of B. anthracis. The x-ray structure of the last has been recently published [Nature. 2002. 415(Jan):396-402]. The final model was selected after detailed analysis to determine if the structure is consistent with the biological function.

  19. Applications of docking and molecular dynamic studies on the search for new drugs against the biological warfare agents Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis.

    PubMed

    França, Tanos Celmar Costa; Guimarães, Ana Paula; Cortopassi, Wilian Augusto; Oliveira, Aline Alves; Ramalho, Teodorico Castro

    2013-12-01

    The fear of biological warfare agents (BWA) use by terrorists is the major concern of the security agencies and health authorities worldwide today. The non-existence of vaccines or drugs against most BWA and the possibility of genetic modified strains has turned the search for new drugs to a state of urgency. Fast in silico techniques are, therefore, perfect tools for this task once they can quickly provide structures of several new lead compounds for further experimental work. Here we try to present a mini-review on docking and molecular dynamics simulations studies applied to the drug design against the BWA Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis.

  20. Influence of temperature and organic load on chemical disinfection of Geobacillus steareothermophilus spores, a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Guan, Jiewen; Chan, Maria; Brooks, Brian W; Rohonczy, Liz

    2013-04-01

    This study evaluated the influence of temperature and organic load on the effectiveness of domestic bleach (DB), Surface Decontamination Foam (SDF), and Virkon in inactivating Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores, which are a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis spores. The spores were suspended in light or heavy organic preparations and the suspension was applied to stainless steel carrier disks. The dried spore inoculum was covered with the disinfectants and the disks were then incubated at various temperatures. At -20°C, the 3 disinfectants caused less than a 2.0 log10 reduction of spores in both organic preparations during a 24-h test period. At 4°C, the DB caused a 4.4 log10 reduction of spores in light organic preparations within 2 h, which was about 3 log10 higher than what was achieved with SDF or Virkon. In heavy organic preparations, after 24 h at 4°C the SDF had reduced the spore count by 4.5 log10, which was about 2 log10 higher than for DB or Virkon. In general, the disinfectants were most effective at 23°C but a 24-h contact time was required for SDF and Virkon to reduce spore counts in both organic preparations by at least 5.5 log10. Comparable disinfecting activity with DB only occurred with the light organic load. In summary, at temperatures as low as 4°C, DB was the most effective disinfectant, inactivating spores within 2 h on surfaces with a light organic load, whereas SDF produced the greatest reduction of spores within 24 h on surfaces with a heavy organic load. PMID:24082400

  1. Enhanced Immune Response to DNA Vaccine Encoding Bacillus anthracis PA-D4 Protects Mice against Anthrax Spore Challenge

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Na Young; Chang, Dong Suk; Kim, Yeonsu; Kim, Chang Hwan; Hur, Gyeung Haeng; Yang, Jai Myung; Shin, Sungho

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax has long been considered the most probable bioweapon-induced disease. The protective antigen (PA) of Bacillus anthracis plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of anthrax. In the current study, we evaluated the efficiency of a genetic vaccination with the fourth domain (D4) of PA, which is responsible for initial binding of the anthrax toxin to the cellular receptor. The eukaryotic expression vector was designed with the immunoglobulin M (IgM) signal sequence encoding for PA-D4, which contains codon-optimized genes. The expression and secretion of recombinant protein was confirmed in vitro in 293T cells transfected with plasmid and detected by western blotting, confocal microscopy, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The results revealed that PA-D4 protein can be efficiently expressed and secreted at high levels into the culture medium. When plasmid DNA was given intramuscularly to mice, a significant PA-D4-specific antibody response was induced. Importantly, high titers of antibodies were maintained for nearly 1 year. Furthermore, incorporation of the SV40 enhancer in the plasmid DNA resulted in approximately a 15-fold increase in serum antibody levels in comparison with the plasmid without enhancer. The antibodies produced were predominantly the immunoglobulin G2 (IgG2) type, indicating the predominance of the Th1 response. In addition, splenocytes collected from immunized mice produced PA-D4-specific interferon gamma (IFN-γ). The biodistribution study showed that plasmid DNA was detected in most organs and it rapidly cleared from the injection site. Finally, DNA vaccination with electroporation induced a significant increase in immunogenicity and successfully protected the mice against anthrax spore challenge. Our approach to enhancing the immune response contributes to the development of DNA vaccines against anthrax and other biothreats. PMID:26430894

  2. Effects of 39 Compounds on Calmodulin-Regulated Adenylyl Cyclases AC1 and Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor

    PubMed Central

    Lübker, Carolin; Seifert, Roland

    2015-01-01

    Adenylyl cyclases (ACs) catalyze the conversion of ATP into the second messenger cAMP. Membranous AC1 (AC1) is involved in processes of memory and learning and in muscle pain. The AC toxin edema factor (EF) of Bacillus anthracis is involved in the development of anthrax. Both ACs are stimulated by the eukaryotic Ca2+-sensor calmodulin (CaM). The CaM-AC interaction could constitute a potential target to enhance or impair the AC activity of AC1 and EF to intervene in above (patho)physiological mechanisms. Thus, we analyzed the impact of 39 compounds including typical CaM-inhibitors, an anticonvulsant, an anticholinergic, antidepressants, antipsychotics and Ca2+-antagonists on CaM-stimulated catalytic activity of AC1 and EF. Compounds were tested at 10 μM, i.e., a concentration that can be reached therapeutically for certain antidepressants and antipsychotics. Calmidazolium chloride decreased CaM-stimulated AC1 activity moderately by about 30%. In contrast, CaM-stimulated EF activity was abrogated by calmidazolium chloride and additionally decreased by chlorpromazine, felodipine, penfluridol and trifluoperazine by about 20–40%. The activity of both ACs was decreased by calmidazolium chloride in the presence and absence of CaM. Thus, CaM-stimulated AC1 activity is more insensitive to inhibition by small molecules than CaM-stimulated EF activity. Inhibition of AC1 and EF by calmidazolium chloride is largely mediated via a CaM-independent allosteric mechanism. PMID:25946093

  3. Reverse-Phase Microarray Analysis Reveals Novel Targets in Lymph Nodes of Bacillus anthracis Spore-Challenged Mice

    PubMed Central

    Popova, Taissia G.; Espina, Virginia; Liotta, Lance A.; Popov, Serguei G.

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax is a frequently fatal infection of many animal species and men. The causative agent Bacillus anthracis propagates through the lymphatic system of the infected host; however, the specific interactions of the host and microbe within the lymphatics are incompletely understood. We report the first description of the phosphoprotein signaling in the lymph nodes of DBA/2 mice using a novel technique combining the reverse-phase microarray with the laser capture microdissesction. Mice were challenged into foot pads with spores of toxinogenic, unencapsulated Sterne strain. The spores quickly migrated to the regional popliteal lymph nodes and spread to the bloodstream as early as 3 h post challenge. All mice died before 72 h post challenge from the systemic disease accompanied by a widespread LN tissue damage by bacteria, including the hemorrhagic necrotizing lymphadenitis, infiltration of CD11b+ and CD3+ cells, and massive proliferation of bacteria in lymph nodes. A macrophage scavenger receptor CD68/macrosialin was upregulated and found in association with vegetative bacteria likely as a marker of their prior interaction with macrophages. The major signaling findings among the 65 tested proteins included the reduced MAPK signaling, upregulation of STAT transcriptional factors, and altered abundance of a number of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins with signaling properties opposing each other. Downregulation of ERK1/2 was associated with the response of CD11b+ macrophages/dendritic cells, while upregulation of the pro-apoptotic Puma indicated a targeting of CD3+ T-cells. A robust upregulation of the anti-apoptotic survivin was unexpected because generally it is not observed in adult tissues. Taken together with the activation of STATs it may reflect a new pathogenic mechanism aimed to delay the onset of apoptosis. Our data emphasize a notion that the net biological outcome of disease is determined by a cumulative impact of factors representing the microbial insult and

  4. Influence of temperature and organic load on chemical disinfection of Geobacillus steareothermophilus spores, a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Guan, Jiewen; Chan, Maria; Brooks, Brian W; Rohonczy, Liz

    2013-04-01

    This study evaluated the influence of temperature and organic load on the effectiveness of domestic bleach (DB), Surface Decontamination Foam (SDF), and Virkon in inactivating Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores, which are a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis spores. The spores were suspended in light or heavy organic preparations and the suspension was applied to stainless steel carrier disks. The dried spore inoculum was covered with the disinfectants and the disks were then incubated at various temperatures. At -20°C, the 3 disinfectants caused less than a 2.0 log10 reduction of spores in both organic preparations during a 24-h test period. At 4°C, the DB caused a 4.4 log10 reduction of spores in light organic preparations within 2 h, which was about 3 log10 higher than what was achieved with SDF or Virkon. In heavy organic preparations, after 24 h at 4°C the SDF had reduced the spore count by 4.5 log10, which was about 2 log10 higher than for DB or Virkon. In general, the disinfectants were most effective at 23°C but a 24-h contact time was required for SDF and Virkon to reduce spore counts in both organic preparations by at least 5.5 log10. Comparable disinfecting activity with DB only occurred with the light organic load. In summary, at temperatures as low as 4°C, DB was the most effective disinfectant, inactivating spores within 2 h on surfaces with a light organic load, whereas SDF produced the greatest reduction of spores within 24 h on surfaces with a heavy organic load.

  5. Influence of temperature and organic load on chemical disinfection of Geobacillus steareothermophilus spores, a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Guan, Jiewen; Chan, Maria; Brooks, Brian W.; Rohonczy, Liz

    2013-01-01

    This study evaluated the influence of temperature and organic load on the effectiveness of domestic bleach (DB), Surface Decontamination Foam (SDF), and Virkon in inactivating Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores, which are a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis spores. The spores were suspended in light or heavy organic preparations and the suspension was applied to stainless steel carrier disks. The dried spore inoculum was covered with the disinfectants and the disks were then incubated at various temperatures. At −20°C, the 3 disinfectants caused less than a 2.0 log10 reduction of spores in both organic preparations during a 24-h test period. At 4°C, the DB caused a 4.4 log10 reduction of spores in light organic preparations within 2 h, which was about 3 log10 higher than what was achieved with SDF or Virkon. In heavy organic preparations, after 24 h at 4°C the SDF had reduced the spore count by 4.5 log10, which was about 2 log10 higher than for DB or Virkon. In general, the disinfectants were most effective at 23°C but a 24-h contact time was required for SDF and Virkon to reduce spore counts in both organic preparations by at least 5.5 log10. Comparable disinfecting activity with DB only occurred with the light organic load. In summary, at temperatures as low as 4°C, DB was the most effective disinfectant, inactivating spores within 2 h on surfaces with a light organic load, whereas SDF produced the greatest reduction of spores within 24 h on surfaces with a heavy organic load. PMID:24082400

  6. Characterization of Genetic Diversity of Bacillus anthracis in France by Using High-Resolution Melting Assays and Multilocus Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Analysis ▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Derzelle, S.; Laroche, S.; Le Flèche, P.; Hauck, Y.; Thierry, S.; Vergnaud, G.; Madani, N.

    2011-01-01

    Using high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis, we developed a cost-effective method to genotype a set of 13 phylogenetically informative single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the genome of Bacillus anthracis. SNP discrimination assays were performed in monoplex or duplex and applied to 100 B. anthracis isolates collected in France from 1953 to 2009 and a few reference strains. HRM provided a reliable and cheap alternative to subtype B. anthracis into one of the 12 major sublineages or subgroups. All strains could be correctly positioned on the canonical SNP (canSNP) phylogenetic tree, except the divergent Pasteur vaccine strain ATCC 4229. We detected the cooccurrence of three canSNP subgroups in France. The dominant B.Br.CNEVA sublineage was found to be prevalent in the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Auvergne region, and the Saône-et-Loire department. Strains affiliated with the A.Br.008/009 subgroup were observed throughout most of the country. The minor A.Br.001/002 subgroup was restricted to northeastern France. Multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis using 24 markers further resolved French strains into 60 unique profiles and identified some regional patterns. Diversity found within the A.Br.008/009 and B.Br.CNEVA subgroups suggests that these represent old, ecologically established clades in France. Phylogenetic relationships with strains from other parts of the world are discussed. PMID:21998431

  7. Comprehensive Laboratory Evaluation of a Highly Specific Lateral Flow Assay for the Presumptive Identification of Bacillus anthracis Spores in Suspicious White Powders and Environmental Samples

    PubMed Central

    Ramage, Jason G.; Prentice, Kristin W.; DePalma, Lindsay; Venkateswaran, Kodumudi S.; Chivukula, Sruti; Chapman, Carol; Bell, Melissa; Datta, Shomik; Singh, Ajay; Hoffmaster, Alex; Sarwar, Jawad; Parameswaran, Nishanth; Joshi, Mrinmayi; Thirunavkkarasu, Nagarajan; Krishnan, Viswanathan; Morse, Stephen; Avila, Julie R.; Sharma, Shashi; Estacio, Peter L.; Stanker, Larry; Hodge, David R.

    2016-01-01

    We conducted a comprehensive, multiphase laboratory evaluation of the Anthrax BioThreat Alert® test strip, a lateral flow immunoassay (LFA) for the rapid detection of Bacillus anthracis spores. The study, conducted at 2 sites, evaluated this assay for the detection of spores from the Ames and Sterne strains of B. anthracis, as well as those from an additional 22 strains. Phylogenetic near neighbors, environmental background organisms, white powders, and environmental samples were also tested. The Anthrax LFA demonstrated a limit of detection of about 106 spores/mL (ca. 1.5 × 105 spores/assay). In this study, overall sensitivity of the LFA was 99.3%, and the specificity was 98.6%. The results indicated that the specificity, sensitivity, limit of detection, dynamic range, and repeatability of the assay support its use in the field for the purpose of qualitatively evaluating suspicious white powders and environmental samples for the presumptive presence of B. anthracis spores. PMID:27661796

  8. Functional and Structural Analysis of the Siderophore Synthetase AsbB through Reconstitution of the Petrobactin Biosynthetic Pathway from Bacillus anthracis*

    PubMed Central

    Nusca, Tyler D.; Kim, Youngchang; Maltseva, Natalia; Lee, Jung Yeop; Eschenfeldt, William; Stols, Lucy; Schofield, Michael M.; Scaglione, Jamie B.; Dixon, Shandee D.; Oves-Costales, Daniel; Challis, Gregory L.; Hanna, Philip C.; Pfleger, Brian F.; Joachimiak, Andrzej; Sherman, David H.

    2012-01-01

    Petrobactin, a mixed catechol-carboxylate siderophore, is required for full virulence of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. The asbABCDEF operon encodes the biosynthetic machinery for this secondary metabolite. Here, we show that the function of five gene products encoded by the asb operon is necessary and sufficient for conversion of endogenous precursors to petrobactin using an in vitro system. In this pathway, the siderophore synthetase AsbB catalyzes formation of amide bonds crucial for petrobactin assembly through use of biosynthetic intermediates, as opposed to primary metabolites, as carboxylate donors. In solving the crystal structure of the B. anthracis siderophore biosynthesis protein B (AsbB), we disclose a three-dimensional model of a nonribosomal peptide synthetase-independent siderophore (NIS) synthetase. Structural characteristics provide new insight into how this bifunctional condensing enzyme can bind and adenylate multiple citrate-containing substrates followed by incorporation of both natural and unnatural polyamine nucleophiles. This activity enables formation of multiple end-stage products leading to final assembly of petrobactin. Subsequent enzymatic assays with the nonribosomal peptide synthetase-like AsbC, AsbD, and AsbE polypeptides show that the alternative products of AsbB are further converted to petrobactin, verifying previously proposed convergent routes to formation of this siderophore. These studies identify potential therapeutic targets to halt deadly infections caused by B. anthracis and other pathogenic bacteria and suggest new avenues for the chemoenzymatic synthesis of novel compounds. PMID:22408253

  9. Comprehensive Laboratory Evaluation of a Highly Specific Lateral Flow Assay for the Presumptive Identification of Bacillus anthracis Spores in Suspicious White Powders and Environmental Samples.

    PubMed

    Ramage, Jason G; Prentice, Kristin W; DePalma, Lindsay; Venkateswaran, Kodumudi S; Chivukula, Sruti; Chapman, Carol; Bell, Melissa; Datta, Shomik; Singh, Ajay; Hoffmaster, Alex; Sarwar, Jawad; Parameswaran, Nishanth; Joshi, Mrinmayi; Thirunavkkarasu, Nagarajan; Krishnan, Viswanathan; Morse, Stephen; Avila, Julie R; Sharma, Shashi; Estacio, Peter L; Stanker, Larry; Hodge, David R; Pillai, Segaran P

    2016-01-01

    We conducted a comprehensive, multiphase laboratory evaluation of the Anthrax BioThreat Alert(®) test strip, a lateral flow immunoassay (LFA) for the rapid detection of Bacillus anthracis spores. The study, conducted at 2 sites, evaluated this assay for the detection of spores from the Ames and Sterne strains of B. anthracis, as well as those from an additional 22 strains. Phylogenetic near neighbors, environmental background organisms, white powders, and environmental samples were also tested. The Anthrax LFA demonstrated a limit of detection of about 10(6) spores/mL (ca. 1.5 × 10(5) spores/assay). In this study, overall sensitivity of the LFA was 99.3%, and the specificity was 98.6%. The results indicated that the specificity, sensitivity, limit of detection, dynamic range, and repeatability of the assay support its use in the field for the purpose of qualitatively evaluating suspicious white powders and environmental samples for the presumptive presence of B. anthracis spores. PMID:27661796

  10. Evaluation of the Relationship between the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Bioluminescence Assay and the Presence of Bacillus anthracis Spores and Vegetative Cells

    PubMed Central

    Gibbs, Shawn G.; Sayles, Harlan; Colbert, Erica M.; Hewlett, Angela; Chaika, Oleg; Smith, Philip W.

    2014-01-01

    Background: The Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence assay was utilized in laboratory evaluations to determine the presence and concentration of vegetative and spore forms of Bacillus anthracis Sterne 34F2. Methods: Seventeen surfaces from the healthcare environment were selected for evaluation. Surfaces were inoculated with 50 µL of organism suspensions at three concentrations of 104, 106, 108 colony forming units per surface (CFU/surface) of B. anthracis. Culture-based methods and ATP based methods were utilized to determine concentrations. Results: When all concentrations were evaluated together, a positive correlation between log-adjusted CFU and Relative Light Units (RLU) for endospores and vegetative cells was established. When concentrations were evaluated separately, a significant correlation was not demonstrated. Conclusions: This study demonstrated a positive correlation for ATP and culture-based methods for the vegetative cells of B. anthracis. When evaluating the endospores and combining both metabolic states, the ATP measurements and CFU recovered did not correspond to the initial concentrations on the evaluated surfaces. The results of our study show that the low ATP signal which does not correlate well to the CFU results would not make the ATP measuring devises effective in confirming contamination residual from a bioterrorist event. PMID:24879485

  11. Structures of an alanine racemase from Bacillus anthracis (BA0252) in the presence and absence of (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonic acid (l-Ala-P)

    SciTech Connect

    Au, Kinfai; Ren, Jingshan; Walter, Thomas S.; Harlos, Karl; Nettleship, Joanne E.; Owens, Raymond J.; Stuart, David I.; Esnouf, Robert M.

    2008-05-01

    Structures of BA0252, an alanine racemase from B. anthracis, in the presence and absence of the inhibitor (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonic acid (l-Ala-P) and determined by X-ray crystallography to resolutions of 2.1 and 1.47 Å, respectively, are described. Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has been targeted by the Oxford Protein Production Facility to validate high-throughput protocols within the Structural Proteomics in Europe project. As part of this work, the structures of an alanine racemase (BA0252) in the presence and absence of the inhibitor (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonic acid (l-Ala-P) have determined by X-ray crystallo@@graphy to resolutions of 2.1 and 1.47 Å, respectively. Difficulties in crystallizing this protein were overcome by the use of reductive methylation. Alanine racemase has attracted much interest as a possible target for anti-anthrax drugs: not only is d-alanine a vital component of the bacterial cell wall, but recent studies also indicate that alanine racemase, which is accessible in the exosporium, plays a key role in inhibition of germination in B. anthracis. These structures confirm the binding mode of l-Ala-P but suggest an unexpected mechanism of inhibition of alanine racemase by this compound and could provide a basis for the design of improved alanine racemase inhibitors with potential as anti-anthrax therapies.

  12. Rapid detection method for Bacillus anthracis using a combination of multiplexed real-time PCR and pyrosequencing and its application for food biodefense.

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has the capacity to form highly resilient spores as part of its life cycle. The potential for the dissemination of these spores using food as a vehicle is a huge public health concern and, hence, requires the development of a foodborne bioterrorism response approach. In this work, we address a critical gap in food biodefense by presenting a novel, combined, sequential method involving the use of real-time PCR and pyrosequencing for the rapid, specific detection of B. anthracis spores in three food matrices: milk, apple juice, and bottled water. The food samples were experimentally inoculated with 40 CFU ml(-1), and DNA was extracted from the spores and analyzed after immunomagnetic separation. Applying the combination of multiplex real-time PCR and pyrosequencing, we successfully detected the presence of targets on both of the virulence plasmids and the chromosome. The results showed that DNA amplicons generated from a five-target multiplexed real-time PCR detection using biotin-labeled primers can be used for single-plex pyrosequencing detection. The combined use of multiplexed real-time PCR and pyrosequencing is a novel, rapid detection method for B. anthracis from food and provides a tool for accurate, quantitative identification with potential biodefense applications.

  13. Rapid detection method for Bacillus anthracis using a combination of multiplexed real-time PCR and pyrosequencing and its application for food biodefense.

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has the capacity to form highly resilient spores as part of its life cycle. The potential for the dissemination of these spores using food as a vehicle is a huge public health concern and, hence, requires the development of a foodborne bioterrorism response approach. In this work, we address a critical gap in food biodefense by presenting a novel, combined, sequential method involving the use of real-time PCR and pyrosequencing for the rapid, specific detection of B. anthracis spores in three food matrices: milk, apple juice, and bottled water. The food samples were experimentally inoculated with 40 CFU ml(-1), and DNA was extracted from the spores and analyzed after immunomagnetic separation. Applying the combination of multiplex real-time PCR and pyrosequencing, we successfully detected the presence of targets on both of the virulence plasmids and the chromosome. The results showed that DNA amplicons generated from a five-target multiplexed real-time PCR detection using biotin-labeled primers can be used for single-plex pyrosequencing detection. The combined use of multiplexed real-time PCR and pyrosequencing is a novel, rapid detection method for B. anthracis from food and provides a tool for accurate, quantitative identification with potential biodefense applications. PMID:25710151

  14. Molecular diversity of Bacillus anthracis in the Netherlands: investigating the relationship to the worldwide population using whole-genome SNP discovery.

    PubMed

    Derzelle, Sylviane; Girault, Guillaume; Roest, Hendrik Ido Jan; Koene, Miriam

    2015-06-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has been widely described as a clonal species. Here we report the use of both canonical SNP analysis and whole-genome sequencing to characterize the phylogenetic lineages of B. anthracis from the Netherlands. Eleven strains isolated over a 25-years period (1968-1993) were paired-end sequenced using parallel sequencing technology. Five canSNP groups or lineages, i.e. A.Br.001/002 (n=6), A.Br.Aust94 (n=2), A.Br.008/011 (n=1), A.Br.011/009 (n=1) and A.Br.Vollum (n=1) were identified. Comparative analyses, with a focus on SNPs discovery, were carried out using a total of 52 B. anthracis genomes. A phylogeographic "Dutch" cluster within the dominant A.Br.001/002 group was discovered, involving isolates from a single outbreak. Diagnostic SNPs specific to the newly identified sub-groups were developed into high-resolution melting SNP discriminative assays for the purpose of rapid molecular epidemiology. Phylogenetic relationships with strains from other parts of the world are discussed. PMID:25843650

  15. National validation study of a swab protocol for the recovery of Bacillus anthracis spores from surfaces.

    PubMed

    Hodges, Lisa R; Rose, Laura J; O'Connell, Heather; Arduino, Matthew J

    2010-05-01

    Twelve Laboratory Response Network (LRN) affiliated laboratories participated in a validation study of a macrofoam swab protocol for the recovery, detection, and quantification of viable B. anthracis (BA) Sterne spores from steel surfaces. CDC personnel inoculated steel coupons (26cm(2)) with 1-4 log(10) BA spores and recovered them by sampling with pre-moistened macrofoam swabs. Phase 1 (P1) of the study evaluated swabs containing BA only, while dust and background organisms were added to swabs in Phase 2 (P2) to mimic environmental conditions. Laboratories processed swabs and enumerated spores by culturing eluted swab suspensions and counting colonies with morphology consistent with BA. Processed swabs were placed in enrichment broth, incubated 24h, and cultured by streaking for isolation. Real-time PCR was performed on selected colonies from P2 samples to confirm the identity of BA. Mean percent recovery (%R) of spores from the surface ranged from 15.8 to 31.0% (P1) and from 27.9 to 55.0% (P2). The highest mean percent recovery was 31.0% (sd 10.9%) for P1 (4 log(10) inoculum) and 55.0% (sd 27.6%) for P2 (1 log(10) inoculum). The overall %R was higher for P2 (44.6%) than P1 (24.1%), but the overall reproducibility (between-lab variability) was lower in P2 than in P1 (25.0 vs 16.5%CV, respectively). The overall precision (within-lab variability) was close to identical for P1 and P2 (44.0 and 44.1, respectively), but varied greatly between inoculum levels. The protocol demonstrated linearity in %R over the three inoculum levels and is able to detect between 26 and 5x10(6)spores/26cm(2). Sensitivity as determined by culture was >98.3% for both phases and all inocula, suggesting that the culture method maintains sensitivity in the presence of contaminants. The enrichment broth method alone was less sensitive for sampled swabs (66.4%) during P2, suggesting that the presence of background organisms inhibited growth or isolation of BA from the broth. The addition of

  16. Characterization of the N-Acetyl-[alpha]-d-glucosaminyl l-Malate Synthase and Deacetylase Functions for Bacillithiol Biosynthesis in Bacillus anthracis

    SciTech Connect

    Parsonage, Derek; Newton, Gerald L.; Holder, Robert C.; Wallace, Bret D.; Paige, Carleitta; Hamilton, Chris J.; Dos Santos, Patricia C.; Redinbo, Matthew R.; Reid, Sean D.; Claiborne, Al

    2012-02-21

    Bacillithiol (Cys-GlcN-malate, BSH) has recently been identified as a novel low-molecular weight thiol in Bacillus anthracis, Staphylococcus aureus, and several other Gram-positive bacteria lacking glutathione and mycothiol. We have now characterized the first two enzymes for the BSH biosynthetic pathway in B. anthracis, which combine to produce {alpha}-D-glucosaminyl L-malate (GlcN-malate) from UDP-GlcNAc and L-malate. The structure of the GlcNAc-malate intermediate has been determined, as have the kinetic parameters for the BaBshA glycosyltransferase ({yields}GlcNAc-malate) and the BaBshB deacetylase ({yields}GlcN-malate). BSH is one of only two natural products reported to contain a malyl glycoside, and the crystal structure of the BaBshA-UDP-malate ternary complex, determined in this work at 3.3 {angstrom} resolution, identifies several active-site interactions important for the specific recognition of L-malate, but not other {alpha}-hydroxy acids, as the acceptor substrate. In sharp contrast to the structures reported for the GlcNAc-1-D-myo-inositol-3-phosphate synthase (MshA) apo and ternary complex forms, there is no major conformational change observed in the structures of the corresponding BaBshA forms. A mutant strain of B. anthracis deficient in the BshA glycosyltransferase fails to produce BSH, as predicted. This B. anthracis bshA locus (BA1558) has been identified in a transposon-site hybridization study as required for growth, sporulation, or germination [Day, W. A., Jr., Rasmussen, S. L., Carpenter, B. M., Peterson, S. N., and Friedlander, A. M. (2007) J. Bacteriol. 189, 3296-3301], suggesting that the biosynthesis of BSH could represent a target for the development of novel antimicrobials with broad-spectrum activity against Gram-positive pathogens like B. anthracis. The metabolites that function in thiol redox buffering and homeostasis in Bacillus are not well understood, and we present a composite picture based on this and other recent work.

  17. Experimental Design for a Macrofoam-Swab Study Relating the Recovery Efficiency and False Negative Rate to Low Concentrations of Two Bacillus anthracis Surrogates on Four Surface Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Piepel, Gregory F.; Hutchison, Janine R.

    2014-12-05

    This report describes the experimental design for a laboratory study to quantify the recovery efficiencies and false negative rates of a validated, macrofoam-swab sampling method for low concentrations of Bacillus anthracis Sterne (BAS) and Bacillus atrophaeus (BG) spores on four surface materials (stainless steel, glass, vinyl tile, plastic light cover panel). Two analytical methods (culture and polymerase chain reaction) will be used. Only one previous study has investigated how the false negative rate depends on test factors. The surrogates BAS and BG have not been tested together in the same study previously. Hence, this study will provide for completing gaps in the available information on the performance of macrofoam-swab sampling at low concentrations.

  18. Experimental Design for a Macrofoam Swab Study Relating the Recovery Efficiency and False Negative Rate to Low Concentrations of Two Bacillus anthracis Surrogates on Four Surface Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Piepel, Gregory F.; Hutchison, Janine R.

    2014-04-16

    This report describes the experimental design for a laboratory study to quantify the recovery efficiencies and false negative rates of a validated, macrofoam swab sampling method for low concentrations of Bacillus anthracis Sterne (BAS) and Bacillus atrophaeus (BG) spores on four surface materials (stainless steel, glass, vinyl tile, plastic light cover panel). Two analytical methods (plating/counting and polymerase chain reaction) will be used. Only one previous study has investigated false negative as a function of affecting test factors. The surrogates BAS and BG have not been tested together in the same study previously. Hence, this study will provide for completing gaps in the available information on the performance of macrofoam swab sampling at low concentrations.

  19. Production of Functionally Active and Immunogenic Non-Glycosylated Protective Antigen from Bacillus anthracis in Nicotiana benthamiana by Co-Expression with Peptide-N-Glycosidase F (PNGase F) of Flavobacterium meningosepticum.

    PubMed

    Mamedov, Tarlan; Chichester, Jessica A; Jones, R Mark; Ghosh, Ananya; Coffin, Megan V; Herschbach, Kristina; Prokhnevsky, Alexey I; Streatfield, Stephen J; Yusibov, Vidadi

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis has long been considered a potential biological warfare agent, and therefore, there is a need for a safe, low-cost and highly efficient anthrax vaccine with demonstrated long-term stability for mass vaccination in case of an emergency. Many efforts have been made towards developing an anthrax vaccine based on recombinant protective antigen (rPA) of B. anthracis, a key component of the anthrax toxin, produced using different expression systems. Plants represent a promising recombinant protein production platform due to their relatively low cost, rapid scalability and favorable safety profile. Previous studies have shown that full-length rPA produced in Nicotiana benthamiana (pp-PA83) is immunogenic and can provide full protection against lethal spore challenge; however, further improvement in the potency and stability of the vaccine candidate is necessary. PA of B. anthracis is not a glycoprotein in its native host; however, this protein contains potential N-linked glycosylation sites, which can be aberrantly glycosylated during expression in eukaryotic systems including plants. This glycosylation could affect the availability of certain key epitopes either due to masking or misfolding of the protein. Therefore, a non-glycosylated form of pp-PA83 was engineered and produced in N. benthamiana using an in vivo deglycosylation approach based on co-expression of peptide-N-glycosidase F (PNGase F) from Flavobacterium meningosepticum. For comparison, versions of pp-PA83 containing point mutations in six potential N-glycosylation sites were also engineered and expressed in N. benthamiana. The in vivo deglycosylated pp-PA83 (pp-dPA83) was shown to have in vitro activity, in contrast to glycosylated pp-PA83, and to induce significantly higher levels of toxin-neutralizing antibody responses in mice compared with glycosylated pp-PA83, in vitro deglycosylated pp-PA83 or the mutated versions of pp-PA83. These results suggest that pp-dPA83 may offer advantages

  20. Production of Functionally Active and Immunogenic Non-Glycosylated Protective Antigen from Bacillus anthracis in Nicotiana benthamiana by Co-Expression with Peptide-N-Glycosidase F (PNGase F) of Flavobacterium meningosepticum

    PubMed Central

    Mamedov, Tarlan; Chichester, Jessica A.; Jones, R. Mark; Ghosh, Ananya; Coffin, Megan V.; Herschbach, Kristina; Prokhnevsky, Alexey I.; Streatfield, Stephen J.; Yusibov, Vidadi

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis has long been considered a potential biological warfare agent, and therefore, there is a need for a safe, low-cost and highly efficient anthrax vaccine with demonstrated long-term stability for mass vaccination in case of an emergency. Many efforts have been made towards developing an anthrax vaccine based on recombinant protective antigen (rPA) of B. anthracis, a key component of the anthrax toxin, produced using different expression systems. Plants represent a promising recombinant protein production platform due to their relatively low cost, rapid scalability and favorable safety profile. Previous studies have shown that full-length rPA produced in Nicotiana benthamiana (pp-PA83) is immunogenic and can provide full protection against lethal spore challenge; however, further improvement in the potency and stability of the vaccine candidate is necessary. PA of B. anthracis is not a glycoprotein in its native host; however, this protein contains potential N-linked glycosylation sites, which can be aberrantly glycosylated during expression in eukaryotic systems including plants. This glycosylation could affect the availability of certain key epitopes either due to masking or misfolding of the protein. Therefore, a non-glycosylated form of pp-PA83 was engineered and produced in N. benthamiana using an in vivo deglycosylation approach based on co-expression of peptide-N-glycosidase F (PNGase F) from Flavobacterium meningosepticum. For comparison, versions of pp-PA83 containing point mutations in six potential N-glycosylation sites were also engineered and expressed in N. benthamiana. The in vivo deglycosylated pp-PA83 (pp-dPA83) was shown to have in vitro activity, in contrast to glycosylated pp-PA83, and to induce significantly higher levels of toxin-neutralizing antibody responses in mice compared with glycosylated pp-PA83, in vitro deglycosylated pp-PA83 or the mutated versions of pp-PA83. These results suggest that pp-dPA83 may offer advantages

  1. A New Generation Microarray for the Simultaneous Detection and Identification of Yersinia pestis and Bacillus anthracis in Food

    PubMed Central

    Goji, Noriko; MacMillan, Trevor; Amoako, Kingsley Kwaku

    2012-01-01

    The use of microarrays as a multiple analytic system has generated increased interest and provided a powerful analytical tool for the simultaneous detection of pathogens in a single experiment. A wide array of applications for this technology has been reported. A low density oligonucleotide microarray was generated from the genetic sequences of Y. pestis and B. anthracis and used to fabricate a microarray chip. The new generation chip, consisting of 2,240 spots in 4 quadrants with the capability of stripping/rehybridization, was designated as “Y-PESTIS/B-ANTHRACIS 4x2K Array.” The chip was tested for specificity using DNA from a panel of bacteria that may be potentially present in food. In all, 37 unique Y. pestis-specific and 83 B. anthracis-specific probes were identified. The microarray assay distinguished Y. pestis and B. anthracis from the other bacterial species tested and correctly identified the Y. pestis-specific oligonucleotide probes using DNA extracted from experimentally inoculated milk samples. Using a whole genome amplification method, the assay was able to detect as low as 1 ng genomic DNA as the start sample. The results suggest that oligonucleotide microarray can specifically detect and identify Y. pestis and B. anthracis and may be a potentially useful diagnostic tool for detecting and confirming the organisms in food during a bioterrorism event. PMID:23125935

  2. Redefining the Australian Anthrax Belt: Modeling the Ecological Niche and Predicting the Geographic Distribution of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Barro, Alassane S; Fegan, Mark; Moloney, Barbara; Porter, Kelly; Muller, Janine; Warner, Simone; Blackburn, Jason K

    2016-06-01

    The ecology and distribution of B. anthracis in Australia is not well understood, despite the continued occurrence of anthrax outbreaks in the eastern states of the country. Efforts to estimate the spatial extent of the risk of disease have been limited to a qualitative definition of an anthrax belt extending from southeast Queensland through the centre of New South Wales and into northern Victoria. This definition of the anthrax belt does not consider the role of environmental conditions in the distribution of B. anthracis. Here, we used the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction model system (GARP), historical anthrax outbreaks and environmental data to model the ecological niche of B. anthracis and predict its potential geographic distribution in Australia. Our models reveal the niche of B. anthracis in Australia is characterized by a narrow range of ecological conditions concentrated in two disjunct corridors. The most dominant corridor, used to redefine a new anthrax belt, parallels the Eastern Highlands and runs from north Victoria to central east Queensland through the centre of New South Wales. This study has redefined the anthrax belt in eastern Australia and provides insights about the ecological factors that limit the distribution of B. anthracis at the continental scale for Australia. The geographic distributions identified can help inform anthrax surveillance strategies by public and veterinary health agencies. PMID:27280981

  3. Redefining the Australian Anthrax Belt: Modeling the Ecological Niche and Predicting the Geographic Distribution of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Barro, Alassane S.; Fegan, Mark; Moloney, Barbara; Porter, Kelly; Muller, Janine; Warner, Simone; Blackburn, Jason K.

    2016-01-01

    The ecology and distribution of B. anthracis in Australia is not well understood, despite the continued occurrence of anthrax outbreaks in the eastern states of the country. Efforts to estimate the spatial extent of the risk of disease have been limited to a qualitative definition of an anthrax belt extending from southeast Queensland through the centre of New South Wales and into northern Victoria. This definition of the anthrax belt does not consider the role of environmental conditions in the distribution of B. anthracis. Here, we used the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction model system (GARP), historical anthrax outbreaks and environmental data to model the ecological niche of B. anthracis and predict its potential geographic distribution in Australia. Our models reveal the niche of B. anthracis in Australia is characterized by a narrow range of ecological conditions concentrated in two disjunct corridors. The most dominant corridor, used to redefine a new anthrax belt, parallels the Eastern Highlands and runs from north Victoria to central east Queensland through the centre of New South Wales. This study has redefined the anthrax belt in eastern Australia and provides insights about the ecological factors that limit the distribution of B. anthracis at the continental scale for Australia. The geographic distributions identified can help inform anthrax surveillance strategies by public and veterinary health agencies. PMID:27280981

  4. Genotyping of French Bacillus anthracis Strains Based on 31-Loci Multi Locus VNTR Analysis: Epidemiology, Marker Evaluation, and Update of the Internet Genotype Database

    PubMed Central

    Thierry, Simon; Tourterel, Christophe; Le Flèche, Philippe; Derzelle, Sylviane; Dekhil, Neira; Mendy, Christiane; Colaneri, Cécile; Vergnaud, Gilles; Madani, Nora

    2014-01-01

    Background Bacillus anthracis is known to have low genetic variability. In spite of this lack of diversity, multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) including the canonical SNPs assay (canSNP) have proved to be highly effective to differentiate strains. Five different MLVA schemes based on a collection of 31 VNTR loci (MLVA8, MLVA15, MLVA20, MLVA25 and MLVA31) with increased resolving power have been described. Results MLVA31 was applied to characterize the French National Reference Laboratory collection. The total collection of 130 strains is resolved in 35 genotypes. The 119 veterinary and environmental strains collection in France were resolved into 26 genotypes belonging to three canSNP lineages and four MLVA clonal complexes (CCs) with particular geographical clustering. A subset of seven loci (MLVA7) is proposed to constitute a first line assay. The loci are compatible with moderate resolution equipment such as agarose gel electrophoresis and show a good congruence value with MLVA31. The associated MLVA and SNP data was imported together with published genotyping data by taking advantage of major enhancements to the MLVAbank software and web site. Conclusions The present report provides a wide coverage of the genetic diversity of naturally occurring B. anthracis strains in France as can be revealed by MLVA. The data obtained suggests that once such coverage is achieved, it becomes possible to devise optimized first-line MLVA assays comprising a sufficiently low number of loci to be typed either in one multiplex PCR or on agarose gels. Such a selection of seven loci is proposed here, and future similar investigations in additional countries will indicate to which extend the same selection can be used worldwide as a common minimum set. It is hoped that this approach will contribute to an efficient and low-cost routine surveillance of important pathogens for biosecurity such as B. anthracis

  5. Pyridine Nucleotide Complexes with Bacillus anthracis Coenzyme A-Disulfide Reductase: A Structural Analysis of Dual NAD(P)H Specificity

    SciTech Connect

    Wallen,J.; Paige, C.; Mallett, T.; Karplus, P.; Claiborne, A.

    2008-01-01

    We have recently reported that CoASH is the major low-molecular weight thiol in Bacillus anthracis, and we have now characterized the kinetic and redox properties of the B. anthracis coenzyme A-disulfide reductase (CoADR, BACoADR) and determined the crystal structure at 2.30 Angstroms resolution. While the Staphylococcus aureus and Borrelia burgdorferi CoADRs exhibit strong preferences for NADPH and NADH, respectively, B. anthracis CoADR can use either pyridine nucleotide equally well. Sequence elements within the respective NAD(P)H-binding motifs correctly reflect the preferences for S. aureus and Bo. burgdorferi CoADRs, but leave questions as to how BACoADR can interact with both pyridine nucleotides. The structures of the NADH and NADPH complexes at ca. 2.3 Angstroms resolution reveal that a loop consisting of residues Glu180-Thr187 becomes ordered and changes conformation on NAD(P)H binding. NADH and NADPH interact with nearly identical conformations of this loop; the latter interaction, however, involves a novel binding mode in which the 2'-phosphate of NADPH points out toward solvent. In addition, the NAD(P)H-reduced BACoADR structures provide the first view of the reduced form (Cys42-SH/CoASH) of the Cys42-SSCoA redox center. The Cys42-SH side chain adopts a new conformation in which the conserved Tyr367'-OH and Tyr425'-OH interact with the nascent thiol(ate) on the flavin si-face. Kinetic data with Y367F, Y425F, and Y367, 425F BACoADR mutants indicate that Tyr425' is the primary proton donor in catalysis, with Tyr367' functioning as a cryptic alternate donor in the absence of Tyr425'.

  6. Capture of methyl bromide emissions with activated carbon following the fumigation of a small building contaminated with a Bacillus anthracis spore simulant.

    PubMed

    Wood, Joseph P; Clayton, Mathew J; McArthur, Timothy; Serre, Shannon D; Mickelsen, Leroy; Touati, Abderrahmane

    2015-02-01

    A wide-area Bacillus anthracis spore contamination incident will present immense challenges related to decontamination capacity. For this reason, fumigation with methyl bromide (MeBr) has been proposed as a potential remediation option. Although a few bench-scale laboratory studies have been conducted to evaluate activated carbon for the capture of MeBr, these studies were conducted at conditions replicating commodity fumigation using relatively low MeBr concentrations, temperatures, and/or relative humidity (RH) levels. The more rigorous MeBr fumigation requirements to fully inactivate B. anthracis spores are much more of a challenge for an activated carbon system (ACS) to capture MeBr, and warrant their own investigation. Further, while the aforementioned studies have shown activated carbon to be a possible option for the capture of MeBr in gas streams, these tests were conducted at laboratory bench scale, and thus lack operational perspective and data. Thus, we present for the first time the results of a full-scale study to evaluate an ACS employed for the capture of MeBr at conditions that would be used for decontaminating a building structure contaminated with B. anthracis spores. Airflow rate, temperature, RH, and MeBr levels were measured within the ACS during its operation. Despite the relatively high humidity, temperature, and MeBr levels, the MeBr capture efficiency of the ACS was demonstrated to be more than 99%. The concentration of MeBr exhausted from the structure was reduced from 41,000 to 136 ppmv in 3.5 hr, corresponding to an overall atmospheric emission rate of less than 2 kg. The practical adsorption rate of the ACS was determined to be 4.83 kg MeBr/100 kg carbon. The information and data presented here will facilitate future use of this technology when fumigating with MeBr.

  7. Comparative evaluation of eleven commercial DNA extraction kits for real-time PCR detection of Bacillus anthracis spores in spiked dairy samples.

    PubMed

    Mertens, Katja; Freund, Lisa; Schmoock, Gernot; Hänsel, Christoph; Melzer, Falk; Elschner, Mandy C

    2014-01-17

    Spores of Bacillus anthracis are highly resistant and can survive conditions used for food preservation. Sample size and complexity represent the major hurdles for pathogen detection in food-related settings. Eleven commercial DNA extraction kits were evaluated for detection of B. anthracis spores by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) in dairy products. DNA was extracted from serial dilutions of B. anthracis spores in milk powder, cream cheese, whole milk and buttermilk. Three kits (QIAamp DNA mini kit, Invisorb Food kit I and II) were determined to produce the lowest limit of detections (LODs) with equally good performance. These kits employed lysozyme and proteinase K treatments or proteinase K in combination with cethyltrimethylamonium bromide-mediated (CTAB) precipitation of cell debris for cell disruption and DNA release. The LODs for these three kits were determined as 10(2) spores/ml of distilled water, 10(3)s pores/20 mg of powdered milk and 10(4) spores/100 mg of cream cheese, respectively. Performance testing of the QIAamp DNA mini kit demonstrated a good reproducibility and appropriate detection limits from 10(3)/ml for butter milk, 10(4)/ml for whole milk and 10(4)/100 mg for low fat cream cheese. However, DNA extraction efficiency was strongly inhibited by cream cheese with higher fat contents with an increased LOD of 10(6)/100 mg spores. This study demonstrated that qPCR detection depends directly on the appropriate DNA extraction method for an individual food matrix and bacterial agent.

  8. Construction and characterization of stable, constitutively expressed, chromosomal green and red fluorescent transcriptional fusions in the select agents, Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei

    PubMed Central

    Su, Shengchang; Bangar, Hansraj; Saldanha, Roland; Pemberton, Adin; Aronow, Bruce; Dean, Gary E; Lamkin, Thomas J; Hassett, Daniel J

    2014-01-01

    Here, we constructed stable, chromosomal, constitutively expressed, green and red fluorescent protein (GFP and RFP) as reporters in the select agents, Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Using bioinformatic approaches and other experimental analyses, we identified P0253 and P1 as potent promoters that drive the optimal expression of fluorescent reporters in single copy in B. anthracis and Burkholderia spp. as well as their surrogate strains, respectively. In comparison, Y. pestis and its surrogate strain need two chromosomal copies of cysZK promoter (P2cysZK) for optimal fluorescence. The P0253-, P2cysZK-, and P1-driven GFP and RFP fusions were first cloned into the vectors pRP1028, pUC18R6KT-mini-Tn7T-Km, pmini-Tn7-gat, or their derivatives. The resultant constructs were delivered into the respective surrogates and subsequently into the select agent strains. The chromosomal GFP- and RFP-tagged strains exhibited bright fluorescence at an exposure time of less than 200 msec and displayed the same virulence traits as their wild-type parental strains. The utility of the tagged strains was proven by the macrophage infection assays and lactate dehydrogenase release analysis. Such strains will be extremely useful in high-throughput screens for novel compounds that could either kill these organisms, or interfere with critical virulence processes in these important bioweapon agents and during infection of alveolar macrophages. PMID:25044501

  9. Construction and characterization of stable, constitutively expressed, chromosomal green and red fluorescent transcriptional fusions in the select agents, Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei.

    PubMed

    Su, Shengchang; Bangar, Hansraj; Saldanha, Roland; Pemberton, Adin; Aronow, Bruce; Dean, Gary E; Lamkin, Thomas J; Hassett, Daniel J

    2014-10-01

    Here, we constructed stable, chromosomal, constitutively expressed, green and red fluorescent protein (GFP and RFP) as reporters in the select agents, Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Using bioinformatic approaches and other experimental analyses, we identified P0253 and P1 as potent promoters that drive the optimal expression of fluorescent reporters in single copy in B. anthracis and Burkholderia spp. as well as their surrogate strains, respectively. In comparison, Y. pestis and its surrogate strain need two chromosomal copies of cysZK promoter (P2cysZK) for optimal fluorescence. The P0253-, P2cysZK-, and P1-driven GFP and RFP fusions were first cloned into the vectors pRP1028, pUC18R6KT-mini-Tn7T-Km, pmini-Tn7-gat, or their derivatives. The resultant constructs were delivered into the respective surrogates and subsequently into the select agent strains. The chromosomal GFP- and RFP-tagged strains exhibited bright fluorescence at an exposure time of less than 200 msec and displayed the same virulence traits as their wild-type parental strains. The utility of the tagged strains was proven by the macrophage infection assays and lactate dehydrogenase release analysis. Such strains will be extremely useful in high-throughput screens for novel compounds that could either kill these organisms, or interfere with critical virulence processes in these important bioweapon agents and during infection of alveolar macrophages.

  10. The mechanism of DNA ejection in the Bacillus anthracis spore-binding phage 8a revealed by cryo-electron tomography

    PubMed Central

    Fu, Xiaofeng; Walter, Michael H.; Paredes, Angel; Morais, Marc C.; Liu, Jun

    2013-01-01

    The structure of the Bacillus anthracis spore-binding phage 8a was determined by cryo-electron tomography. The phage capsid forms a T=16 icosahedron attached to a contractile tail via a head–tail connector protein. The tail consists of a six-start helical sheath surrounding a central tail tube, and a structurally novel baseplate at the distal end of the tail that recognizes and attaches to host cells. The parameters of the icosahedral capsid lattice and the helical tail sheath suggest protein folds for the capsid and tail-sheath proteins, respectively, and indicate evolutionary relationships to other dsDNA viruses. Analysis of 2518 intact phage particles show four distinct conformations that likely correspond to four sequential states of the DNA ejection process during infection. Comparison of the four observed conformations suggests a mechanism for DNA ejection, including the molecular basis underlying coordination of tail sheath contraction and genome release from the capsid. PMID:22018785

  11. The mechanism of DNA ejection in the Bacillus anthracis spore-binding phage 8a revealed by cryo-electron tomography

    SciTech Connect

    Fu, Xiaofeng; Walter, Michael H.; Paredes, Angel; Morais, Marc C.; Liu, Jun

    2011-12-20

    The structure of the Bacillus anthracis spore-binding phage 8a was determined by cryo-electron tomography. The phage capsid forms a T = 16 icosahedron attached to a contractile tail via a head-tail connector protein. The tail consists of a six-start helical sheath surrounding a central tail tube, and a structurally novel baseplate at the distal end of the tail that recognizes and attaches to host cells. The parameters of the icosahedral capsid lattice and the helical tail sheath suggest protein folds for the capsid and tail-sheath proteins, respectively, and indicate evolutionary relationships to other dsDNA viruses. Analysis of 2518 intact phage particles show four distinct conformations that likely correspond to four sequential states of the DNA ejection process during infection. Comparison of the four observed conformations suggests a mechanism for DNA ejection, including the molecular basis underlying coordination of tail sheath contraction and genome release from the capsid.

  12. 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.

  13. Comparison of French and Worldwide Bacillus anthracis Strains Favors a Recent, Post-Columbian Origin of the Predominant North-American Clade

    PubMed Central

    Vergnaud, Gilles; Girault, Guillaume; Thierry, Simon; Pourcel, Christine; Madani, Nora; Blouin, Yann

    2016-01-01

    Background Bacillus anthracis, the highly dangerous zoonotic bacterial pathogen species is currently composed of three genetic groups, called A, B and C. Group A is represented worldwide whereas group B is present essentially in Western Europe and Southern Africa. Only three strains from group C have been reported. This knowledge is derived from the genotyping of more than 2000 strains collected worldwide. Strains from both group A and group B are present in France. Previous investigations showed that the majority of sporadic French strains belong to the so-called A.Br.011/009 group A clade and define a very remarkable polytomy with six branches. Here we explore the significance of this polytomy by comparing the French B. anthracis lineages to worldwide lineages. We take advantage of whole genome sequence data previously determined for 122 French strains and 45 strains of various origins. Results A total of 6690 SNPs was identified among the available dataset and used to draw the phylogeny. The phylogeny of the French B group strains which belongs to B.Br.CNEVA indicates an expansion from the south-east part of France (the Alps) towards the south-west (Massif-Central and Pyrenees). The relatively small group A strains belonging to A.Br.001/002 results from at least two independent introductions. Strikingly, the data clearly demonstrates that the currently predominant B. anthracis lineage in North America, called WNA for Western North American, is derived from one branch of the A.Br.011/009 polytomy predominant in France. Conclusions/Significance The present work extends the range of observed substitution rate heterogeneity within B. anthracis, in agreement with its ecology and in contrast with some other pathogens. The population structure of the six branches A.Br.011/009 polytomy identified in France, diversity of branch length, and comparison with the WNA lineage, suggests that WNA is of post-Columbian and west European origin, with France as a likely source

  14. Discrimination of bacillus anthracis and closely related microorganisms by analysis of 16S and 23S rRNA with oligonucleotide microarray.

    SciTech Connect

    Bavykin, S. G.; Mikhailovich, V. M.; Zakharyev, V. M.; Lysov, Y. P.; Kelly, J. J.; Alferov, O. S.; Jackman, J.; Stahl, D. A.; Mirzabekov, A. D.; Gavin, I. M.; Kukhtin, A. V.; Chandler, D.

    2008-01-30

    Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences is a commonly used method for the identification and discrimination of microorganisms. However, the high similarity of 16S and 23S rRNA sequences of Bacillus cereus group organisms (up to 99-100%) and repeatedly failed attempts to develop molecular typing systems that would use DNA sequences to discriminate between species within this group have resulted in several suggestions to consider B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, or these two species together with B. anthracis, as one species. Recently, we divided the B. cereus group into seven subgroups, Anthracis, Cereus A and B, Thuringiensis A and B, and Mycoides A and B, based on 16S rRNA, 23S rRNA and gyrB gene sequences and identified subgroup-specific makers in each of these three genes. Here we for the first time demonstrated discrimination of these seven subgroups, including subgroup Anthracis, with a 3D gel element microarray of oligonucleotide probes targeting 16S and 23S rRNA markers. This is the first microarray enabled identification of B. anthracis and discrimination of these seven subgroups in pure cell cultures and in environmental samples using rRNA sequences. The microarray bearing perfect match/mismatch (p/mm) probe pairs was specific enough to discriminate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and was able to identify targeted organisms in 5 min. We also demonstrated the ability of the microarray to determine subgroup affiliations for B. cereus group isolates without rRNA sequencing. Correlation of these seven subgroups with groupings based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST), fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis (AFLP) and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MME) analysis of a wide spectrum of different genes, and the demonstration of subgroup-specific differences in toxin profiles, psychrotolerance, and the ability to harbor some plasmids, suggest that these seven subgroups are not based solely on neutral genomic polymorphisms, but instead reflect

  15. Discrimination of Bacillus anthracis and Closely Related Microorganisms by Analysis of 16S and 23S rRNA with Oligonucleotide Microarray

    PubMed Central

    Bavykin, Sergei G.; Mikhailovich, Vladimir M.; Zakharyev, Vladimir M.; Lysov, Yuri p.; Kelly, John J.; Alferov, Oleg S.; Gavin, Igor M.; Kukhtin, Alexander V.; Jackman, Joany; Stahl, David A.; Chandler, Darrell; Mirzabekov, Andrei D.

    2009-01-01

    Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences is a commonly used method for the identification and discrimination of microorganisms. However, the high similarity of 16S and 23S rRNA sequences of Bacillus cereus group organisms (up to 99-100%) and repeatedly failed attempts to develop molecular typing systems that would use DNA sequences to discriminate between species within this group have resulted in several suggestions to consider B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, or these two species together with B. anthracis, as one species. Recently, we divided the B. cereus group into seven subgroups, Anthracis, Cereus A and B, Thuringiensis A and B, and Mycoides A and B, based on 16S rRNA, 23S rRNA and gyrB gene sequences and identified subgroup-specific makers in each of these three genes. Here we for the first time demonstrated discrimination of these seven subgroups, including subgroup Anthracis, with a 3D gel element microarray of oligonucleotide probes targeting 16S and 23S rRNA markers. This is the first microarray enabled identification of B. anthracis and discrimination of these seven subgroups in pure cell cultures and in environmental samples using rRNA sequences. The microarray bearing perfect match/mismatch (p/mm) probe pairs was specific enough to discriminate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and was able to identify targeted organisms in 5 minutes. We also demonstrated the ability of the microarray to determine subgroup affiliations for B. cereus group isolates without rRNA sequencing. Correlation of these seven subgroups with groupings based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST), fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis (AFLP) and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MME) analysis of a wide spectrum of different genes, and the demonstration of subgroup-specific differences in toxin profiles, psychrotolerance, and the ability to harbor some plasmids, suggest that these seven subgroups are not based solely on neutral genomic polymorphisms, but instead

  16. High-throughput sequencing of Bacillus anthracis in France: investigating genome diversity and population structure using whole-genome SNP discovery

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are ideal signatures for subtyping monomorphic pathogens such as Bacillus anthracis. Here we report the use of next-generation sequencing technology to investigate the historical, geographic and genetic diversity of Bacillus anthracis in France. 122 strains isolated over a 60-years period throughout the country were whole-genome sequenced and comparative analyses were carried out with a focus on SNPs discovery to discriminate regional sub-groups of strains. Results A total of 1581 chromosomal SNPs precisely establish the phylogenetic relationships existing between the French strains. Phylogeography patterns within the three canSNP sub-lineages present in France (i.e. B.Br.CNEVA, A.Br.011/009 and A.Br.001/002) were observed. One of the more remarkable findings was the identification of a variety of genotypes within the A.Br.011/009 sub-group that are persisting in the different regions of France. The 560 SNPs defining the A.Br.011/009- affiliated French strains split the Trans-Eurasian sub-group into six distinct branches without any intermediate nodes. Distinct sub-branches, with some geographic clustering, were resolved. The 345 SNPs defining the major B.Br CNEVA sub-lineage clustered three main phylogeographic clades, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Massif Central, with a small Saône-et-Loire sub-cluster nested within the latter group. The French strains affiliated to the minor A.Br.001/002 group were characterized by 226 SNPs. All recent isolates collected from the Doubs department were closely related. Identification of SNPs from whole-genome sequences facilitates high-resolution strain tracking and provides the level of discrimination required for outbreak investigations. Eight diagnostic SNPs, representative of the main French-specific phylogeographic clusters, were therefore selected and developed into high-resolution melting SNP discriminative assays. Conclusions This work has established one of the most

  17. Multivalent Chromosomal Expression of the Clostridium botulinum Serotype A Neurotoxin Heavy-Chain Antigen and the Bacillus anthracis Protective Antigen in Lactobacillus acidophilus

    PubMed Central

    Klaenhammer, Todd R.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus anthracis produce potent toxins that cause severe disease in humans. New and improved vaccines are needed for both of these pathogens. For mucosal vaccine delivery using lactic acid bacteria, chromosomal expression of antigens is preferred over plasmid-based expression systems, as chromosomal expression circumvents plasmid instability and the need for antibiotic pressure. In this study, we constructed three strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM expressing from the chromosome (i) the nontoxic host receptor-binding domain of the heavy chain of Clostridium botulinum serotype A neurotoxin (BoNT/A-Hc), (ii) the anthrax protective antigen (PA), and (iii) both the BoNT/A-Hc and the PA. The BoNT/A-Hc vaccine cassette was engineered to contain the signal peptide from the S-layer protein A from L. acidophilus and a dendritic-cell-targeting peptide. A chromosomal region downstream of lba0889 carrying a highly expressed enolase gene was selected for insertion of the vaccine cassettes. Western blot analysis confirmed the heterologous expression of the two antigens from plasmid and chromosome locations. Stability assays demonstrated loss of the vaccine cassettes from expression plasmids without antibiotic maintenance. RNA sequencing showed high expression of each antigen and that insertion of the vaccine cassettes had little to no effect on the transcription of other genes in the chromosome. This study demonstrated that chromosomal integrative recombinant strains are promising vaccine delivery vehicles when targeted into high-expression chromosomal regions. Levels of expression match high-copy-number plasmids and eliminate the requirement for antibiotic selective maintenance of recombinant plasmids. IMPORTANCE Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus anthracis produce potent neurotoxins that pose a biochemical warfare concern; therefore, effective vaccines against these bacteria are required. Chromosomal expression of antigens is

  18. False Negative Rates of a Macrofoam-Swab Sampling Method with Low Surface Concentrations of Two Bacillus anthracis Surrogates via Real-Time PCR

    SciTech Connect

    Hutchison, Janine R.; Piepel, Gregory F.; Amidan, Brett G.; Sydor, Michael A.; Deatherage Kaiser, Brooke L

    2015-05-01

    Surface sampling for Bacillus anthracis spores has traditionally relied on detection via bacterial cultivation methods. Although effective, this approach does not provide the level of organism specificity that can be gained through molecular techniques. False negative rates (FNR) and limits of detection (LOD) were determined for two B. anthracis surrogates with modified rapid viability-polymerase chain reaction (mRV-PCR) following macrofoam-swab sampling. This study was conducted in parallel with a previously reported study that analyzed spores using a plate-culture method. B. anthracis Sterne (BAS) or B. atrophaeus Nakamura (BG) spores were deposited onto four surface materials (glass, stainless steel, vinyl tile, and plastic) at nine target concentrations (2 to 500 spores/coupon; 0.078 to 19.375 colony-forming units [CFU] per cm²). Mean FNR values for mRV-PCR analysis ranged from 0 to 0.917 for BAS and 0 to 0.875 for BG and increased as spore concentration decreased (over the concentrations investigated) for each surface material. FNRs based on mRV-PCR data were not statistically different for BAS and BG, but were significantly lower for glass than for vinyl tile. FNRs also tended to be lower for the mRV-PCR method compared to the culture method. The mRV-PCR LOD₉₅ was lowest for glass (0.429 CFU/cm² with BAS and 0.341 CFU/cm² with BG) and highest for vinyl tile (0.919 CFU/cm² with BAS and 0.917 CFU/cm² with BG). These mRV-PCR LOD₉₅ values were lower than the culture values (BAS: 0.678 to 1.023 CFU/cm² and BG: 0.820 to 1.489 CFU/cm²). The FNR and LOD₉₅ values reported in this work provide guidance for environmental sampling of Bacillus spores at low concentrations.

  19. Identification of the bacterial protein FtsX as a unique target of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity against Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Crawford, Matthew A.; Lowe, David E.; Fisher, Debra J.; Stibitz, Scott; Plaut, Roger D.; Beaber, John W.; Zemansky, Jason; Mehrad, Borna; Glomski, Ian J.; Strieter, Robert M.; Hughes, Molly A.

    2011-01-01

    Chemokines are a family of chemotactic cytokines that function in host defense by orchestrating cellular movement during infection. In addition to this function, many chemokines have also been found to mediate the direct killing of a range of pathogenic microorganisms through an as-yet-undefined mechanism. As an understanding of the molecular mechanism and microbial targets of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity is likely to lead to the identification of unique, broad-spectrum therapeutic targets for effectively treating infection, we sought to investigate the mechanism by which the chemokine CXCL10 mediates bactericidal activity against the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. Here, we report that disruption of the gene ftsX, which encodes the transmembrane domain of a putative ATP-binding cassette transporter, affords resistance to CXCL10-mediated antimicrobial effects against vegetative B. anthracis bacilli. Furthermore, we demonstrate that in the absence of FtsX, CXCL10 is unable to localize to its presumed site of action at the bacterial cell membrane, suggesting that chemokines interact with specific, identifiable bacterial components to mediate direct microbial killing. These findings provide unique insight into the mechanism of CXCL10-mediated bactericidal activity and establish, to our knowledge, the first description of a bacterial component critically involved in the ability of host chemokines to target and kill a bacterial pathogen. These observations also support the notion of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity as an important foundation for the development of innovative therapeutic strategies for treating infections caused by pathogenic, potentially multidrug-resistant microorganisms. PMID:21949405

  20. Identification of the bacterial protein FtsX as a unique target of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity against Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Matthew A; Lowe, David E; Fisher, Debra J; Stibitz, Scott; Plaut, Roger D; Beaber, John W; Zemansky, Jason; Mehrad, Borna; Glomski, Ian J; Strieter, Robert M; Hughes, Molly A

    2011-10-11

    Chemokines are a family of chemotactic cytokines that function in host defense by orchestrating cellular movement during infection. In addition to this function, many chemokines have also been found to mediate the direct killing of a range of pathogenic microorganisms through an as-yet-undefined mechanism. As an understanding of the molecular mechanism and microbial targets of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity is likely to lead to the identification of unique, broad-spectrum therapeutic targets for effectively treating infection, we sought to investigate the mechanism by which the chemokine CXCL10 mediates bactericidal activity against the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. Here, we report that disruption of the gene ftsX, which encodes the transmembrane domain of a putative ATP-binding cassette transporter, affords resistance to CXCL10-mediated antimicrobial effects against vegetative B. anthracis bacilli. Furthermore, we demonstrate that in the absence of FtsX, CXCL10 is unable to localize to its presumed site of action at the bacterial cell membrane, suggesting that chemokines interact with specific, identifiable bacterial components to mediate direct microbial killing. These findings provide unique insight into the mechanism of CXCL10-mediated bactericidal activity and establish, to our knowledge, the first description of a bacterial component critically involved in the ability of host chemokines to target and kill a bacterial pathogen. These observations also support the notion of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity as an important foundation for the development of innovative therapeutic strategies for treating infections caused by pathogenic, potentially multidrug-resistant microorganisms.

  1. Contributions of Edema Factor and Protective Antigen to the Induction of Protective Immunity by Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin as an Intranasal Adjuvant

    PubMed Central

    Duverger, Alexandra; Carré, Jeanne-Marie; Jee, Junbae; Leppla, Stephen H.; Cormet-Boyaka, Estelle; Tang, Wei-Jen; Tomé, Daniel; Boyaka, Prosper N.

    2013-01-01

    We have shown that intranasal coapplication of Bacillus anthracis protective Ag (PA) together with a B. anthracis edema factor (EF) mutant having reduced adenylate cyclase activity (i.e., EF-S414N) enhances anti-PAAb responses, but also acts as a mucosal adjuvant for coadministered unrelated Ags. To elucidate the role of edema toxin (EdTx) components in its adjuvanticity, we examined how a PA mutant lacking the ability to bind EF (PA-U7) or another mutant that allows the cellular uptake of EF, but fails to efficiently mediate its translocation into the cytosol (PA-dFF), would affect EdTx-induced adaptive immunity. Native EdTx promotes costimulatory molecule expression by macrophages and B lymphocytes, and a broad spectrum of cytokine responses by cervical lymph node cells in vitro. These effects were reduced or abrogated when cells were treated with EF plus PA-dFF, or PA-U7 instead of PA. We also intranasally immunized groups of mice with a recombinant fusion protein of Yersinia pestis F1 and LcrVAgs (F1-V) together with EdTx variants consisting of wild-type or mutants PA and EF. Analysis of serum and mucosal Ab responses against F1-V or EdTx components (i.e., PA and EF) revealed no adjuvant activity in mice that received PA-U7 instead of PA. In contrast, coimmunization with PA-dFF enhanced serum Ab responses. Finally, immunization with native PA and an EF mutant lacking adenylate cyclase activity (EF-K346R) failed to enhance Ab responses. In summary, a fully functional PA and a minimum of adenylate cyclase activity are needed for EdTx to act as a mucosal adjuvant. PMID:20952678

  2. The Solution Structure of Bacillus anthracis Dihydrofolate Reductase Yields Insight into the Analysis of Structure–Activity Relationships for Novel Inhibitors†,‡

    PubMed Central

    Beierlein, Jennifer M.; Deshmukh, Lalit; Frey, Kathleen M.; Vinogradova, Olga; Anderson, Amy C.

    2010-01-01

    There is a significant need for new therapeutics to treat infections caused by the biodefense agent Bacillus anthracis. In pursuit of drug discovery against this organism, we have developed novel propargyl-linked inhibitors that target the essential enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) from B. anthracis. Previously, we reported an initial series of these inhibitors and a high-resolution crystal structure of the ternary complex of the enzyme bound to its cofactor and one of the most potent inhibitors, UCP120B [Beierlein, J., Frey, K., Bolstad, D., Pelphrey, P., Joska, T., Smith, A., Priestley, N., Wright, D., and Anderson, A. (2008) J. Med. Chem. 51, 7532–7540]. Herein, we describe a three-dimensional solution structure of the ternary complex as determined by NMR. A comparison of this solution structure to the crystal structure reveals a general conservation of the DHFR fold and cofactor interactions as well as differences in the location of an active site helix and specific ligand interactions. In addition to data for the fully assigned ternary complex, data for the binary (enzyme–cofactor) complex were collected, providing chemical shift comparisons and revealing perturbations in residues that accommodate ligand binding. Dynamics of the protein, measured using 15N T1 and T2 relaxation times and {1H}–15N heteronuclear NOEs, reveal residue flexibility at the active site that explains enzyme inhibition and structure–activity relationships for two different series of these propargyl-linked inhibitors. The information obtained from the solution structure regarding active site flexibility will be especially valuable in the design of inhibitors with increased potency. PMID:19323450

  3. Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis spores by a combination of biocides and heating under high-temperature short-time pasteurization conditions.

    PubMed

    Xu, Sa; Labuza, Theodore P; Diez-Gonzalez, Francisco

    2008-06-01

    The milk supply is considered a primary route for a bioterrorism attack with Bacillus anthracis spores because typical high-temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurization conditions cannot inactivate spores. In the event of intentional contamination, an effective method to inactivate the spores in milk under HTST processing conditions is needed. This study was undertaken to identify combinations and concentrations of biocides that can inactivate B. anthracis spores at temperatures in the HTST range in less than 1 min. Hydrogen peroxide (HP), sodium hypochlorite (SH), and peroxyacetic acid (PA) were evaluated for their efficacy in inactivating spores of strains 7702, ANR-1, and 9131 in milk at 72, 80, and 85 degrees C using a sealed capillary tube technique. Strains ANR-1 and 9131 were more resistant to all of the biocide treatments than strain 7702. Addition of 1,260 ppm SH to milk reduced the number of viable spores of each strain by 6 log CFU/ml in less than 90 and 60 s at 72 and 80 degrees C, respectively. After neutralization, 1,260 ppm SH reduced the time necessary to inactivate 6 log CFU/ml (TTI6-log) at 80 degrees C to less than 20 s. Treatment of milk with 7,000 ppm HP resulted in a similar level of inactivation in 60 s. Combined treatment with 1,260 ppm SH and 1,800 ppm HP inactivated spores of all strains in less than 20 s at 80 degrees C. Mixing 15 ppm PA with milk containing 1,260 ppm SH resulted in TTI6-log of 25 and 12 s at 72 and 80 degrees C, respectively. TTI6-log of less than 20 s were also achieved at 80 degrees C by using two combinations of biocides: 250 ppm SH, 700 ppm HP, and 150 ppm PA; and 420 ppm SH (pH 7), 1,100 ppm HP, and 15 ppm PA. These results indicated that different combinations of biocides could consistently result in 6-log reductions in the number of B. anthracis spores in less than 1 min at temperatures in the HTST range. This information could be useful for developing more effective thermal treatment strategies which could be

  4. Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Spores by a Combination of Biocides and Heating under High-Temperature Short-Time Pasteurization Conditions ▿

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Sa; Labuza, Theodore P.; Diez-Gonzalez, Francisco

    2008-01-01

    The milk supply is considered a primary route for a bioterrorism attack with Bacillus anthracis spores because typical high-temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurization conditions cannot inactivate spores. In the event of intentional contamination, an effective method to inactivate the spores in milk under HTST processing conditions is needed. This study was undertaken to identify combinations and concentrations of biocides that can inactivate B. anthracis spores at temperatures in the HTST range in less than 1 min. Hydrogen peroxide (HP), sodium hypochlorite (SH), and peroxyacetic acid (PA) were evaluated for their efficacy in inactivating spores of strains 7702, ANR-1, and 9131 in milk at 72, 80, and 85°C using a sealed capillary tube technique. Strains ANR-1 and 9131 were more resistant to all of the biocide treatments than strain 7702. Addition of 1,260 ppm SH to milk reduced the number of viable spores of each strain by 6 log CFU/ml in less than 90 and 60 s at 72 and 80°C, respectively. After neutralization, 1,260 ppm SH reduced the time necessary to inactivate 6 log CFU/ml (TTI6-log) at 80°C to less than 20 s. Treatment of milk with 7,000 ppm HP resulted in a similar level of inactivation in 60 s. Combined treatment with 1,260 ppm SH and 1,800 ppm HP inactivated spores of all strains in less than 20 s at 80°C. Mixing 15 ppm PA with milk containing 1,260 ppm SH resulted in TTI6-log of 25 and 12 s at 72 and 80°C, respectively. TTI6-log of less than 20 s were also achieved at 80°C by using two combinations of biocides: 250 ppm SH, 700 ppm HP, and 150 ppm PA; and 420 ppm SH (pH 7), 1,100 ppm HP, and 15 ppm PA. These results indicated that different combinations of biocides could consistently result in 6-log reductions in the number of B. anthracis spores in less than 1 min at temperatures in the HTST range. This information could be useful for developing more effective thermal treatment strategies which could be used in HTST milk plants to process

  5. Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis spores by a combination of biocides and heating under high-temperature short-time pasteurization conditions.

    PubMed

    Xu, Sa; Labuza, Theodore P; Diez-Gonzalez, Francisco

    2008-06-01

    The milk supply is considered a primary route for a bioterrorism attack with Bacillus anthracis spores because typical high-temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurization conditions cannot inactivate spores. In the event of intentional contamination, an effective method to inactivate the spores in milk under HTST processing conditions is needed. This study was undertaken to identify combinations and concentrations of biocides that can inactivate B. anthracis spores at temperatures in the HTST range in less than 1 min. Hydrogen peroxide (HP), sodium hypochlorite (SH), and peroxyacetic acid (PA) were evaluated for their efficacy in inactivating spores of strains 7702, ANR-1, and 9131 in milk at 72, 80, and 85 degrees C using a sealed capillary tube technique. Strains ANR-1 and 9131 were more resistant to all of the biocide treatments than strain 7702. Addition of 1,260 ppm SH to milk reduced the number of viable spores of each strain by 6 log CFU/ml in less than 90 and 60 s at 72 and 80 degrees C, respectively. After neutralization, 1,260 ppm SH reduced the time necessary to inactivate 6 log CFU/ml (TTI6-log) at 80 degrees C to less than 20 s. Treatment of milk with 7,000 ppm HP resulted in a similar level of inactivation in 60 s. Combined treatment with 1,260 ppm SH and 1,800 ppm HP inactivated spores of all strains in less than 20 s at 80 degrees C. Mixing 15 ppm PA with milk containing 1,260 ppm SH resulted in TTI6-log of 25 and 12 s at 72 and 80 degrees C, respectively. TTI6-log of less than 20 s were also achieved at 80 degrees C by using two combinations of biocides: 250 ppm SH, 700 ppm HP, and 150 ppm PA; and 420 ppm SH (pH 7), 1,100 ppm HP, and 15 ppm PA. These results indicated that different combinations of biocides could consistently result in 6-log reductions in the number of B. anthracis spores in less than 1 min at temperatures in the HTST range. This information could be useful for developing more effective thermal treatment strategies which could be

  6. The differential effects of heat-shocking on the viability of spores from Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus subtilis, and Clostridium sporogenes after treatment with peracetic acid- and glutaraldehyde-based disinfectants.

    PubMed

    March, Jordon K; Pratt, Michael D; Lowe, Chinn-Woan; Cohen, Marissa N; Satterfield, Benjamin A; Schaalje, Bruce; O'Neill, Kim L; Robison, Richard A

    2015-10-01

    This study investigated (1) the susceptibility of Bacillus anthracis (Ames strain), Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 19659), and Clostridium sporogenes (ATCC 3584) spores to commercially available peracetic acid (PAA)- and glutaraldehyde (GA)-based disinfectants, (2) the effects that heat-shocking spores after treatment with these disinfectants has on spore recovery, and (3) the timing of heat-shocking after disinfectant treatment that promotes the optimal recovery of spores deposited on carriers. Suspension tests were used to obtain inactivation kinetics for the disinfectants against three spore types. The effects of heat-shocking spores after disinfectant treatment were also determined. Generalized linear mixed models were used to estimate 6-log reduction times for each spore type, disinfectant, and heat treatment combination. Reduction times were compared statistically using the delta method. Carrier tests were performed according to AOAC Official Method 966.04 and a modified version that employed immediate heat-shocking after disinfectant treatment. Carrier test results were analyzed using Fisher's exact test. PAA-based disinfectants had significantly shorter 6-log reduction times than the GA-based disinfectant. Heat-shocking B. anthracis spores after PAA treatment resulted in significantly shorter 6-log reduction times. Conversely, heat-shocking B. subtilis spores after PAA treatment resulted in significantly longer 6-log reduction times. Significant interactions were also observed between spore type, disinfectant, and heat treatment combinations. Immediately heat-shocking spore carriers after disinfectant treatment produced greater spore recovery. Sporicidal activities of disinfectants were not consistent across spore species. The effects of heat-shocking spores after disinfectant treatment were dependent on both disinfectant and spore species. Caution must be used when extrapolating sporicidal data of disinfectants from one spore species to another. Heat

  7. The differential effects of heat-shocking on the viability of spores from Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus subtilis, and Clostridium sporogenes after treatment with peracetic acid- and glutaraldehyde-based disinfectants

    PubMed Central

    March, Jordon K; Pratt, Michael D; Lowe, Chinn-Woan; Cohen, Marissa N; Satterfield, Benjamin A; Schaalje, Bruce; O'Neill, Kim L; Robison, Richard A

    2015-01-01

    This study investigated (1) the susceptibility of Bacillus anthracis (Ames strain), Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 19659), and Clostridium sporogenes (ATCC 3584) spores to commercially available peracetic acid (PAA)- and glutaraldehyde (GA)-based disinfectants, (2) the effects that heat-shocking spores after treatment with these disinfectants has on spore recovery, and (3) the timing of heat-shocking after disinfectant treatment that promotes the optimal recovery of spores deposited on carriers. Suspension tests were used to obtain inactivation kinetics for the disinfectants against three spore types. The effects of heat-shocking spores after disinfectant treatment were also determined. Generalized linear mixed models were used to estimate 6-log reduction times for each spore type, disinfectant, and heat treatment combination. Reduction times were compared statistically using the delta method. Carrier tests were performed according to AOAC Official Method 966.04 and a modified version that employed immediate heat-shocking after disinfectant treatment. Carrier test results were analyzed using Fisher's exact test. PAA-based disinfectants had significantly shorter 6-log reduction times than the GA-based disinfectant. Heat-shocking B. anthracis spores after PAA treatment resulted in significantly shorter 6-log reduction times. Conversely, heat-shocking B. subtilis spores after PAA treatment resulted in significantly longer 6-log reduction times. Significant interactions were also observed between spore type, disinfectant, and heat treatment combinations. Immediately heat-shocking spore carriers after disinfectant treatment produced greater spore recovery. Sporicidal activities of disinfectants were not consistent across spore species. The effects of heat-shocking spores after disinfectant treatment were dependent on both disinfectant and spore species. Caution must be used when extrapolating sporicidal data of disinfectants from one spore species to another. Heat

  8. The differential effects of heat-shocking on the viability of spores from Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus subtilis, and Clostridium sporogenes after treatment with peracetic acid- and glutaraldehyde-based disinfectants.

    PubMed

    March, Jordon K; Pratt, Michael D; Lowe, Chinn-Woan; Cohen, Marissa N; Satterfield, Benjamin A; Schaalje, Bruce; O'Neill, Kim L; Robison, Richard A

    2015-10-01

    This study investigated (1) the susceptibility of Bacillus anthracis (Ames strain), Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 19659), and Clostridium sporogenes (ATCC 3584) spores to commercially available peracetic acid (PAA)- and glutaraldehyde (GA)-based disinfectants, (2) the effects that heat-shocking spores after treatment with these disinfectants has on spore recovery, and (3) the timing of heat-shocking after disinfectant treatment that promotes the optimal recovery of spores deposited on carriers. Suspension tests were used to obtain inactivation kinetics for the disinfectants against three spore types. The effects of heat-shocking spores after disinfectant treatment were also determined. Generalized linear mixed models were used to estimate 6-log reduction times for each spore type, disinfectant, and heat treatment combination. Reduction times were compared statistically using the delta method. Carrier tests were performed according to AOAC Official Method 966.04 and a modified version that employed immediate heat-shocking after disinfectant treatment. Carrier test results were analyzed using Fisher's exact test. PAA-based disinfectants had significantly shorter 6-log reduction times than the GA-based disinfectant. Heat-shocking B. anthracis spores after PAA treatment resulted in significantly shorter 6-log reduction times. Conversely, heat-shocking B. subtilis spores after PAA treatment resulted in significantly longer 6-log reduction times. Significant interactions were also observed between spore type, disinfectant, and heat treatment combinations. Immediately heat-shocking spore carriers after disinfectant treatment produced greater spore recovery. Sporicidal activities of disinfectants were not consistent across spore species. The effects of heat-shocking spores after disinfectant treatment were dependent on both disinfectant and spore species. Caution must be used when extrapolating sporicidal data of disinfectants from one spore species to another. Heat

  9. BslA, the S-layer adhesin of B. anthracis, is a virulence factor for anthrax pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Kern, Justin; Schneewind, Olaf

    2010-01-01

    Summary Microbial pathogens use adhesive surface proteins to bind to and interact with host tissues, events that are universal for the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. A surface adhesin of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, required to mediate these steps has not been discovered. Previous work identified BslA, an S-layer protein, to be necessary and sufficient for adhesion of the anthrax vaccine strain, Bacillus anthracis Sterne, to host cells. Here we asked whether encapsulated bacilli require BslA for anthrax pathogenesis in guinea pigs. Compared with the highly virulent parent strain B. anthracis Ames, bslA mutants displayed a dramatic increase in the lethal dose and in mean time-to-death. Whereas all tissues of animals infected with B. anthracis Ames contained high numbers of bacilli, only few vegetative forms could be recovered from internal organs of animals infected with the bslA mutant. Surface display of BslA occurred at the poles of encapsulated bacilli and enabled the binding of vegetative forms to host cells. Together these results suggest that BslA functions as the surface adhesin of the anthrax pathogen B. anthracis strain Ames. PMID:19906175

  10. Recovery Efficiency, False Negative Rate, and Limit of Detection Performance of a Validated Macrofoam-Swab Sampling Method with Low Surface Concentrations of Two Bacillus anthracis Surrogates

    SciTech Connect

    Piepel, Gregory F.; Hutchison, Janine R.; Deatherage Kaiser, Brooke L; Amidan, Brett G.; Sydor, Michael A.; Barrett, Christopher A.

    2015-03-31

    The performance of a macrofoam-swab sampling method was evaluated using Bacillus anthracis Sterne (BAS) and Bacillus atrophaeus Nakamura (BG) spores applied at nine low target amounts (2-500 spores) to positive-control plates and test coupons (2 in. × 2 in.) of four surface materials (glass, stainless steel, vinyl tile, and plastic). Test results from cultured samples were used to evaluate the effects of surrogate, surface concentration, and surface material on recovery efficiency (RE), false negative rate (FNR), and limit of detection. For RE, surrogate and surface material had statistically significant effects, but concentration did not. Mean REs were the lowest for vinyl tile (50.8% with BAS, 40.2% with BG) and the highest for glass (92.8% with BAS, 71.4% with BG). FNR values ranged from 0 to 0.833 for BAS and 0 to 0.806 for BG, with values increasing as concentration decreased in the range tested (0.078 to 19.375 CFU/cm2, where CFU denotes ‘colony forming units’). Surface material also had a statistically significant effect. A FNR-concentration curve was fit for each combination of surrogate and surface material. For both surrogates, the FNR curves tended to be the lowest for glass and highest for vinyl title. The FNR curves for BG tended to be higher than for BAS at lower concentrations, especially for glass. Results using a modified Rapid Viability-Polymerase Chain Reaction (mRV-PCR) analysis method were also obtained. The mRV-PCR results and comparisons to the culture results will be discussed in a subsequent report.

  11. Expression and refolding of the protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis: A model for high-throughput screening of antigenic recombinant protein refolding.

    PubMed

    Pavan, María Elisa; Pavan, Esteban Enrique; Cairó, Fabián Martín; Pettinari, María Julia

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) is a well known and relevant immunogenic protein that is the basis for both anthrax vaccines and diagnostic methods. Properly folded antigenic PA is necessary for these applications. In this study a high level of PA was obtained in recombinant Escherichia coli. The protein was initially accumulated in inclusion bodies, which facilitated its efficient purification by simple washing steps; however, it could not be recognized by specific antibodies. Refolding conditions were subsequently analyzed in a high-throughput manner that enabled nearly a hundred different conditions to be tested simultaneously. The recovery of the ability of PA to be recognized by antibodies was screened by dot blot using a coefficient that provided a measure of properly refolded protein levels with a high degree of discrimination. The best refolding conditions resulted in a tenfold increase in the intensity of the dot blot compared to the control. The only refolding additive that consistently yielded good results was L-arginine. The statistical analysis identified both cooperative and negative interactions between the different refolding additives. The high-throughput approach described in this study that enabled overproduction, purification and refolding of PA in a simple and straightforward manner, can be potentially useful for the rapid screening of adequate refolding conditions for other overexpressed antigenic proteins. PMID:26777581

  12. Expression and refolding of the protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis: A model for high-throughput screening of antigenic recombinant protein refolding.

    PubMed

    Pavan, María Elisa; Pavan, Esteban Enrique; Cairó, Fabián Martín; Pettinari, María Julia

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) is a well known and relevant immunogenic protein that is the basis for both anthrax vaccines and diagnostic methods. Properly folded antigenic PA is necessary for these applications. In this study a high level of PA was obtained in recombinant Escherichia coli. The protein was initially accumulated in inclusion bodies, which facilitated its efficient purification by simple washing steps; however, it could not be recognized by specific antibodies. Refolding conditions were subsequently analyzed in a high-throughput manner that enabled nearly a hundred different conditions to be tested simultaneously. The recovery of the ability of PA to be recognized by antibodies was screened by dot blot using a coefficient that provided a measure of properly refolded protein levels with a high degree of discrimination. The best refolding conditions resulted in a tenfold increase in the intensity of the dot blot compared to the control. The only refolding additive that consistently yielded good results was L-arginine. The statistical analysis identified both cooperative and negative interactions between the different refolding additives. The high-throughput approach described in this study that enabled overproduction, purification and refolding of PA in a simple and straightforward manner, can be potentially useful for the rapid screening of adequate refolding conditions for other overexpressed antigenic proteins.

  13. Validation of potential inhibitors for SrtA against Bacillus anthracis by combined approach of ligand-based and molecular dynamics simulation.

    PubMed

    Selvaraj, Chandrabose; Singh, Sanjeev Kumar

    2014-01-01

    The development of SrtA inhibitors targeting the biothreat organism namely Bacillus anthracis was achieved by the combined approach of pharmacophore modeling, binding interactions, electron transferring capacity, ADME, and Molecular dynamics studies. In this study, experimentally reported Ba-SrtA inhibitors (pyridazinone and pyrazolethione derivatives) were considered for the development of enhanced pharmacophoric model. The obtained AAAHR hypothesis was a pure theoretical concept that accounts for common molecular interaction network present in experimentally active pyridazinone and pyrazolethione derivatives. Pharmacophore-based screening of AAAHR hypothesis provides several new compounds, and those compounds were treated with four phases of docking protocols with combined Glide-QPLD docking approach. In this approach, scoring and charge accuracy variations were seen to be dominated by QM/MM approach through the allocation of partial charges. Finally, we reported the best compounds from binding db, Chembridge db, and Toslab based on scoring values, energy parameters, electron transfer reaction, ADME, and cell adhesion inhibition activity. The dynamic state of interaction and binding energy assess that new compounds are more active inside the binding pocket and these compounds on experimental validations will survive as better inhibitors for targeting the cell adhesion mechanism of Ba-SrtA. PMID:23869520

  14. Cellular Functions and X-ray Structure of Anthrolysin O, a Cholesterol-dependent Cytolysin Secreted by Bacillus anthracis*S⃞

    PubMed Central

    Bourdeau, Raymond W.; Malito, Enrico; Chenal, Alexandre; Bishop, Brian L.; Musch, Mark W.; Villereal, Mitch L.; Chang, Eugene B.; Mosser, Elise M.; Rest, Richard F.; Tang, Wei-Jen

    2009-01-01

    Anthrolysin O (ALO) is a pore-forming, cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC) secreted by Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent for anthrax. Growing evidence suggests the involvement of ALO in anthrax pathogenesis. Here, we show that the apical application of ALO decreases the barrier function of human polarized epithelial cells as well as increases intracellular calcium and the internalization of the tight junction protein occludin. Using pharmacological agents, we also found that barrier function disruption requires increased intracellular calcium and protein degradation. We also report a crystal structure of the soluble state of ALO. Based on our analytical ultracentrifugation and light scattering studies, ALO exists as a monomer. Our ALO structure provides the molecular basis as to how ALO is locked in a monomeric state, in contrast to other CDCs that undergo antiparallel dimerization or higher order oligomerization in solution. ALO has four domains and is globally similar to perfringolysin O (PFO) and intermedilysin (ILY), yet the highly conserved undecapeptide region in domain 4 (D4) adopts a completely different conformation in all three CDCs. Consistent with the differences within D4 and at the D2-D4 interface, we found that ALO D4 plays a key role in affecting the barrier function of C2BBE cells, whereas PFO domain 4 cannot substitute for this role. Novel structural elements and unique cellular functions of ALO revealed by our studies provide new insight into the molecular basis for the diverse nature of the CDC family. PMID:19307185

  15. Finished Genome Sequence of Bacillus cereus Strain 03BB87, a Clinical Isolate with B. anthracis Virulence Genes.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Shannon L; Minogue, Timothy D; Teshima, Hazuki; Davenport, Karen W; Shea, April A; Miner, Haven L; Wolcott, Mark J; Chain, Patrick S G

    2015-01-01

    Bacillus cereus strain 03BB87, a blood culture isolate, originated in a 56-year-old male muller operator with a fatal case of pneumonia in 2003. Here we present the finished genome sequence of that pathogen, including a 5.46-Mb chromosome and two plasmids (209 and 52 Kb, respectively).

  16. Finished Genome Sequence of Bacillus cereus Strain 03BB87, a Clinical Isolate with B. anthracis Virulence Genes

    SciTech Connect

    Johnson, Shannon L.; Minogue, Timothy D.; Teshima, Hazuki; Davenport, Karen W.; Shea, April A.; Miner, Haven L.; Wolcott, Mark J.; Chain, Patrick S.G.

    2015-01-15

    Bacillus cereus strain 03BB87, a blood culture isolate, originated in a 56-year-old male muller operator with a fatal case of pneumonia in 2003. Here we present the finished genome sequence of that pathogen, including a 5.46-Mb chromosome and two plasmids (209 and 52 Kb, respectively).

  17. Lethal factor, but not edema factor, is required to cause fatal anthrax in cynomolgus macaques after pulmonary spore challenge.

    PubMed

    Hutt, Julie A; Lovchik, Julie A; Drysdale, Melissa; Sherwood, Robert L; Brasel, Trevor; Lipscomb, Mary F; Lyons, C Rick

    2014-12-01

    Inhalational anthrax is caused by inhalation of Bacillus anthracis spores. The ability of B. anthracis to cause anthrax is attributed to the plasmid-encoded A/B-type toxins, edema toxin (edema factor and protective antigen) and lethal toxin (lethal factor and protective antigen), and a poly-d-glutamic acid capsule. To better understand the contribution of these toxins to the disease pathophysiology in vivo, we used B. anthracis Ames strain and isogenic toxin deletion mutants derived from the Ames strain to examine the role of lethal toxin and edema toxin after pulmonary spore challenge of cynomolgus macaques. Lethal toxin, but not edema toxin, was required to induce sustained bacteremia and death after pulmonary challenge with spores delivered via bronchoscopy. After intravenous challenge with bacilli to model the systemic phase of infection, lethal toxin contributed to bacterial proliferation and subsequent host death to a greater extent than edema toxin. Deletion of protective antigen resulted in greater loss of virulence after intravenous challenge with bacilli than deletion of lethal toxin or edema toxin alone. These findings are consistent with the ability of anti-protective antigen antibodies to prevent anthrax and suggest that lethal factor is the dominant toxin that contributes to the escape of significant numbers of bacilli from the thoracic cavity to cause anthrax after inhalation challenge with spores.

  18. In situ detection of Bacillus anthracis spores using fully submersible, self-exciting, self-sensing PMN-PT/Sn piezoelectric microcantilevers.

    PubMed

    McGovern, John-Paul; Shih, Wan Y; Shih, Wei-Heng

    2007-08-01

    In this study, we have demonstrated in situ, all-electrical detection of Bacillus anthracis (BA) spores using lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate/tin (PMN-PT/Sn) piezoelectric microcantilever sensors (PEMS) fabricated from PMN-PT freestanding films and electrically insulated with methyltrimethoxysilane (MTMS) coatings on the tin surface. Antibody specific to BA spore surface antigen was immobilized on the platinum electrode of the PMN-PT layer. In phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) solution, the PMN-PT/Sn PEMS exhibited quality (Q) values ranging from 50 to 75. The detection was carried out in a closed-loop flow cell with a liquid volume of 0.8 ml and a flow rate of 1 ml min(-1). It was shown that one sensor, "PEMS-A" (500 microm long, 800 microm wide, with a 22 microm thick PMN-PT layer, a 20 microm thick tin layer and a 1 +/- 0.5 x 10(-12) g Hz(-1) mass detection sensitivity) exhibited resonance frequency shifts of 2100 +/- 200, 1100 +/- 100 and 700 +/- 100 Hz at concentrations of 20,000, 2000, and 200 spores ml(-1) or 16,000, 1600, and 160 total spores, respectively. Additionally, "PEMS-B" (350 microm long, 800 microm wide, with an 8 microm thick PMN-PT layer, a 6 microm thick tin layer and a 2 +/- 1 x 10(-13) g Hz(-1) mass detection sensitivity) exhibited resonance frequency shifts of 2400 +/- 200, 1500 +/- 200, 500 +/- 150 and 200 +/- 100 Hz at concentrations of 20,000, 2000, 100, and 45 spores ml(-1) or 16,000, 1600, 80, and 36 total spores, respectively.

  19. Phase I Study Evaluating the Safety and Pharmacokinetics of MDX-1303, a Fully Human Monoclonal Antibody against Bacillus anthracis Protective Antigen, in Healthy Volunteers▿

    PubMed Central

    Riddle, Valerie; Leese, Phillip; Blanset, Diann; Adamcio, Melany; Meldorf, Matthew; Lowy, Israel

    2011-01-01

    MDX-1303 (Valortim) is a fully human monoclonal antibody (hMAb) with a high affinity for Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA). MDX-1303 binds to PA and interferes with the activity of the anthrax toxin; it was selected based on its superior functional activity in the toxin neutralization activity (TNA) assay. MDX-1303 has demonstrated efficacy in the postexposure and therapeutic settings in New Zealand White rabbits, cynomolgus monkeys, and African green monkeys. This phase I study sought to characterize the safety, tolerability, immunogenicity, and pharmacokinetics (PK)/pharmacodynamics (PD) of MDX-1303 in healthy human subjects. Cohorts of 3 to 10 subjects were administered MDX-1303 as either a single intravenous (i.v.) dose at dose levels of 0.3, 1, 3, 10, and 20 mg/kg of body weight or as a single intramuscular (i.m.) dose at 100 mg. Forty-six subjects were enrolled, and 16 (35%) of these subjects experienced one or more grade 1 adverse events considered to be related to treatment with MDX-1303. There were no grade 2 to 4 adverse events or serious adverse events (SAEs) considered to be related to treatment. The mean half-life of MDX-1303 ranged from 22 to 33 days across the i.v. administration cohorts and was approximately 32 days following i.m. administration. Systemic exposure following 100-mg i.m. administration was within the range of exposure following 1-mg/kg i.v. administration with a relative bioavailability of approximately 65%. MDX-1303 was generally well tolerated, and no anti-MDX-1303 antibodies were detected following a single dose. PMID:21976227

  20. Decontamination efficacy of three commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) sporicidal disinfectants on medium-sized panels contaminated with surrogate spores of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Edmonds, Jason M; Sabol, Jonathan P; Rastogi, Vipin K

    2014-01-01

    In the event of a wide area release and contamination of a biological agent in an outdoor environment and to building exteriors, decontamination is likely to consume the Nation's remediation capacity, requiring years to cleanup, and leading to incalculable economic losses. This is in part due to scant body of efficacy data on surface areas larger than those studied in a typical laboratory (5×10-cm), resulting in low confidence for operational considerations in sampling and quantitative measurements of prospective technologies recruited in effective cleanup and restoration response. In addition to well-documented fumigation-based cleanup efforts, agencies responsible for mitigation of contaminated sites are exploring alternative methods for decontamination including combinations of disposal of contaminated items, source reduction by vacuuming, mechanical scrubbing, and low-technology alternatives such as pH-adjusted bleach pressure wash. If proven effective, a pressure wash-based removal of Bacillus anthracis spores from building surfaces with readily available equipment will significantly increase the readiness of Federal agencies to meet the daunting challenge of restoration and cleanup effort following a wide-area biological release. In this inter-agency study, the efficacy of commercial-of-the-shelf sporicidal disinfectants applied using backpack sprayers was evaluated in decontamination of spores on the surfaces of medium-sized (∼1.2 m2) panels of steel, pressure-treated (PT) lumber, and brick veneer. Of the three disinfectants, pH-amended bleach, Peridox, and CASCAD evaluated; CASCAD was found to be the most effective in decontamination of spores from all three panel surface types.

  1. Evaluation of Up-Converting Phosphor Technology-Based Lateral Flow Strips for Rapid Detection of Bacillus anthracis Spore, Brucella spp., and Yersinia pestis

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Yong; Hua, Fei; Li, Chunfeng; Yang, Ruifu; Zhou, Lei

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, Brucella spp., and Yersinia pestis are zoonotic pathogens and biowarfare- or bioterrorism-associated agents that must be detected rapidly on-site from various samples (e.g., viscera and powders). An up-converting phosphor technology-based lateral flow (UPT–LF) strip was developed as a point-of-care testing (POCT) to satisfy the requirements of first-level emergency response. We developed UPT–LF POCT to quantitatively detect the three pathogens within 15 min. Sample and operation-error tolerances of the assay were comprehensively evaluated. The sensitivity of UPT–LF assay to bacterial detection reached 104 cfu·mL−1 (100 cfu/test), with a linear quantitative range of 4 to 6 orders of magnitude. Results revealed that the UPT–LF assay exhibited a high specificity with the absence of false-positive results even at 109 cfu·mL−1 of non-specific bacterial contamination. The assay could tolerate samples with a wide pH range (2 to 12), high ion strengths (≥4 mol·L−1 of NaCl), high viscosities (≤25 mg·mL−1 of PEG20000 or ≥20% of glycerol), and high concentrations of bio-macromolecule (≤200 mg·mL−1 of bovine serum albumin or ≥80 mg·mL−1 of casein). The influence of various types of powders and viscera (fresh and decomposed) on the performance of UPT–LF assay was determined. The operational error of liquid measurement exhibited few effects on sensitivity and specificity. The developed UPT–LF POCT assay is applicable under field conditions with excellent tolerance to sample complexity and operational error. PMID:25144726

  2. Low-Level Detection of a Bacillus Anthracis Simulant using Love-Wave Biosensors on 36 Degree YX LiTaO3

    SciTech Connect

    BRANCH,DARREN W.; BROZIK,SUSAN M.

    2003-03-01

    Crucial to low-level detection of biowarfare agents in aqueous environments is the mass sensitivity optimization of Love-wave acoustic sensors. The present work is an experimental study of 36{sup o} YX cut LiTaO{sub 3} based Love-wave devices for detection of pathogenic spores in aqueous conditions. Given that the detection limit (DL) of Love-wave based sensors is a strong function of the overlying waveguide, two waveguide materials have been investigated, which are polyimide and polystyrene. To determine the mass sensitivity of Love-wave sensor, bovine serum albumin (BSA) protein was injected into the Love-wave test cell while recording magnitude and phase shift across each sensor. Polyimide had the lowest mass detection limit with an estimated value of 1-2 ng/cm{sup 2}, as compared to polystyrene where DL = 2.0 ng/cm{sup 2}. Suitable chemistries were used to orient antibodies on the Love-wave sensor using adsorbed protein G. The thickness of each biofilm was measured using ellipsometry from which the surface concentrations were calculated. The monoclonal antibody BD8 with a high degree of selectivity for anthrax spores was used to capture the non-pathogenic simulant B. thuringiensis B8 spores. Bacillus Subtilis spores were used as a negative control to determine whether significant non-specific binding would occur. Spore aliquots were prepared using an optical counting method, which permitted removal of background particles for consistent sample preparation. This work demonstrates that Love-wave devices can be used to detect B. anthracis simulant below reported infectious levels.

  3. The Pore-Forming Protein Cry5B Elicits the Pathogenicity of Bacillus sp. against Caenorhabditis elegans

    PubMed Central

    Kho, Melanie F.; Hu, Yan; Hsu, Wayne; Nielsen-LeRoux, Christina; McGillivray, Shauna M.; Nizet, Victor; Aroian, Raffi V.

    2011-01-01

    The soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis is a pathogen of insects and nematodes and is very closely related to, if not the same species as, Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis. The defining characteristic of B. thuringiensis that sets it apart from B. cereus and B. anthracis is the production of crystal (Cry) proteins, which are pore-forming toxins or pore-forming proteins (PFPs). Although it is known that PFPs are important virulence factors since their elimination results in reduced virulence of many pathogenic bacteria, the functions by which PFPs promote virulence are incompletely understood. Here we study the effect of Cry proteins in B. thuringiensis pathogenesis of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that whereas B. thuringiensis on its own is not able to infect C. elegans, the addition of the PFP Cry protein, Cry5B, results in a robust lethal infection that consumes the nematode host in 1–2 days, leading to a “Bob” or bag-of-bacteria phenotype. Unlike other infections of C. elegans characterized to date, the infection by B. thuringiensis shows dose-dependency based on bacterial inoculum size and based on PFP concentration. Although the infection process takes 1–2 days, the PFP-instigated infection process is irreversibly established within 15 minutes of initial exposure. Remarkably, treatment of C. elegans with Cry5B PFP is able to instigate many other Bacillus species, including B. anthracis and even “non-pathogenic” Bacillus subtilis, to become lethal and infectious agents to C. elegans. Co-culturing of Cry5B-expressing B. thuringiensis with B. anthracis can result in lethal infection of C. elegans by B. anthracis. Our data demonstrate that one potential property of PFPs is to sensitize the host to bacterial infection and further that C. elegans and probably other roundworms can be common hosts for B. cereus-group bacteria, findings with important ecological and research implications. PMID:22216181

  4. Genetic evidence for the involvement of the S-layer protein gene sap and the sporulation genes spo0A, spo0B, and spo0F in Phage AP50c infection of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Plaut, Roger D; Beaber, John W; Zemansky, Jason; Kaur, Ajinder P; George, Matroner; Biswas, Biswajit; Henry, Matthew; Bishop-Lilly, Kimberly A; Mokashi, Vishwesh; Hannah, Ryan M; Pope, Robert K; Read, Timothy D; Stibitz, Scott; Calendar, Richard; Sozhamannan, Shanmuga

    2014-03-01

    In order to better characterize the Bacillus anthracis typing phage AP50c, we designed a genetic screen to identify its bacterial receptor. Insertions of the transposon mariner or targeted deletions of the structural gene for the S-layer protein Sap and the sporulation genes spo0A, spo0B, and spo0F in B. anthracis Sterne resulted in phage resistance with concomitant defects in phage adsorption and infectivity. Electron microscopy of bacteria incubated with AP50c revealed phage particles associated with the surface of bacilli of the Sterne strain but not with the surfaces of Δsap, Δspo0A, Δspo0B, or Δspo0F mutants. The amount of Sap in the S layer of each of the spo0 mutant strains was substantially reduced compared to that of the parent strain, and incubation of AP50c with purified recombinant Sap led to a substantial reduction in phage activity. Phylogenetic analysis based on whole-genome sequences of B. cereus sensu lato strains revealed several closely related B. cereus and B. thuringiensis strains that carry sap genes with very high similarities to the sap gene of B. anthracis. Complementation of the Δsap mutant in trans with the wild-type B. anthracis sap or the sap gene from either of two different B. cereus strains that are sensitive to AP50c infection restored phage sensitivity, and electron microscopy confirmed attachment of phage particles to the surface of each of the complemented strains. Based on these data, we postulate that Sap is involved in AP50c infectivity, most likely acting as the phage receptor, and that the spo0 genes may regulate synthesis of Sap and/or formation of the S layer.

  5. Genetic Evidence for the Involvement of the S-Layer Protein Gene sap and the Sporulation Genes spo0A, spo0B, and spo0F in Phage AP50c Infection of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Beaber, John W.; Zemansky, Jason; Kaur, Ajinder P.; George, Matroner; Biswas, Biswajit; Henry, Matthew; Bishop-Lilly, Kimberly A.; Mokashi, Vishwesh; Hannah, Ryan M.; Pope, Robert K.; Read, Timothy D.; Stibitz, Scott; Calendar, Richard; Sozhamannan, Shanmuga

    2014-01-01

    In order to better characterize the Bacillus anthracis typing phage AP50c, we designed a genetic screen to identify its bacterial receptor. Insertions of the transposon mariner or targeted deletions of the structural gene for the S-layer protein Sap and the sporulation genes spo0A, spo0B, and spo0F in B. anthracis Sterne resulted in phage resistance with concomitant defects in phage adsorption and infectivity. Electron microscopy of bacteria incubated with AP50c revealed phage particles associated with the surface of bacilli of the Sterne strain but not with the surfaces of Δsap, Δspo0A, Δspo0B, or Δspo0F mutants. The amount of Sap in the S layer of each of the spo0 mutant strains was substantially reduced compared to that of the parent strain, and incubation of AP50c with purified recombinant Sap led to a substantial reduction in phage activity. Phylogenetic analysis based on whole-genome sequences of B. cereus sensu lato strains revealed several closely related B. cereus and B. thuringiensis strains that carry sap genes with very high similarities to the sap gene of B. anthracis. Complementation of the Δsap mutant in trans with the wild-type B. anthracis sap or the sap gene from either of two different B. cereus strains that are sensitive to AP50c infection restored phage sensitivity, and electron microscopy confirmed attachment of phage particles to the surface of each of the complemented strains. Based on these data, we postulate that Sap is involved in AP50c infectivity, most likely acting as the phage receptor, and that the spo0 genes may regulate synthesis of Sap and/or formation of the S layer. PMID:24363347

  6. Histopathological effects of anthrax lethal factor on rat liver.

    PubMed

    Altunkaynak, Berrin Zuhal; Ozbek, Elvan

    2015-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has become an increasingly important scientific topic due to its potential role in bioterrorism. The lethal toxin (LT) of B. anthracis consists of lethal factor (LF) and a protective antigen (PA). This study investigated whether only lethal factor was efficient as a hepatotoxin in the absence of the PA. To achieve this aim, LF (100 µg/kg body weight, dissolved in sterile distilled water) or distilled water vehicle were intraperitoneally injected once into adult rats. At 24 h post-injection, the hosts were euthanized and their livers removed and tissue samples examined under light and electron microscopes. As a result of LF application, hepatic injury - including cytoplasmic and nuclear damage in hepatocytes, sinusoidal dilatation, and hepatocellular lysis - became apparent. Further, light microscopic analyses of liver sections from the LF-injected rats revealed ballooning degeneration and cytoplasmic loss within hepatocytes, as well as peri-sinusoidal inflammation. Additionally, an increase in the numbers of Kupffer cells was evident. Common vascular injuries were also found in the liver samples; these injuries caused hypoxia and pathological changes. In addition, some cytoplasmic and nuclear changes were detected within the liver ultrastructure. The results of these studies allow one to suggest that LF could be an effective toxicant alone and that PA might act in situ to modify the effect of this agent (or the reverse situation wherein LF modifies effects of PA) such that lethality results.

  7. Discrimination of Bacillus anthracis from closely related microorganisms by analysis of 16S and 23S rRNA with oligonucleotide microchips

    DOEpatents

    Bavykin, Sergei G.; Mirzabekova, legal representative, Natalia V.; Mirzabekov, deceased, Andrei D.

    2007-12-04

    The present invention relates to methods and compositions for using nucleotide sequence variations of 16S and 23S rRNA within the B. cereus group to discriminate a highly infectious bacterium B. anthracis from closely related microorganisms. Sequence variations in the 16S and 23S rRNA of the B. cereus subgroup including B. anthracis are utilized to construct an array that can detect these sequence variations through selective hybridizations and discriminate B. cereus group that includes B. anthracis. Discrimination of single base differences in rRNA was achieved with a microchip during analysis of B. cereus group isolates from both single and in mixed samples, as well as identification of polymorphic sites. Successful use of a microchip to determine the appropriate subgroup classification using eight reference microorganisms from the B. cereus group as a study set, was demonstrated.

  8. Passive Immunotherapy Protects against Enteric Invasion and Lethal Sepsis in a Murine Model of Gastrointestinal Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Huang, Bruce; Xie, Tao; Rotstein, David; Fang, Hui; Frucht, David M

    2015-09-29

    The principal portal for anthrax infection in natural animal outbreaks is the digestive tract. Enteric exposure to anthrax, which is difficult to detect or prevent in a timely manner, could be exploited as an act of terror through contamination of human or animal food. Our group has developed a novel animal model of gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax for evaluation of disease pathogenesis and experimental therapeutics, utilizing vegetative Bacillus anthracis (Sterne strain) administered to A/J mice (a complement-deficient strain) by oral gavage. We hypothesized that a humanized recombinant monoclonal antibody (mAb) * that neutralizes the protective antigen (PA) component of B. anthracis lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET) could be an effective treatment. Although the efficacy of this anti-anthrax PA mAb has been shown in animal models of inhalational anthrax, its activity in GI infection had not yet been ascertained. We hereby demonstrate that passive immunotherapy with anti-anthrax PA mAb, administered at the same time as gastrointestinal exposure to B. anthracis, prevents lethal sepsis in nearly all cases (>90%), while a delay of up to forty-eight hours in treatment still greatly reduces mortality following exposure (65%). Moreover, passive immunotherapy protects against enteric invasion, associated mucosal injury and subsequent dissemination by gastrointestinal B. anthracis, indicating that it acts to prevent the initial stages of infection. * Expired raxibacumab being cycled off the Strategic National Stockpile; biological activity confirmed by in vitro assay.

  9. Passive Immunotherapy Protects against Enteric Invasion and Lethal Sepsis in a Murine Model of Gastrointestinal Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Bruce; Xie, Tao; Rotstein, David; Fang, Hui; Frucht, David M.

    2015-01-01

    The principal portal for anthrax infection in natural animal outbreaks is the digestive tract. Enteric exposure to anthrax, which is difficult to detect or prevent in a timely manner, could be exploited as an act of terror through contamination of human or animal food. Our group has developed a novel animal model of gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax for evaluation of disease pathogenesis and experimental therapeutics, utilizing vegetative Bacillus anthracis (Sterne strain) administered to A/J mice (a complement-deficient strain) by oral gavage. We hypothesized that a humanized recombinant monoclonal antibody (mAb) * that neutralizes the protective antigen (PA) component of B. anthracis lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET) could be an effective treatment. Although the efficacy of this anti-anthrax PA mAb has been shown in animal models of inhalational anthrax, its activity in GI infection had not yet been ascertained. We hereby demonstrate that passive immunotherapy with anti-anthrax PA mAb, administered at the same time as gastrointestinal exposure to B. anthracis, prevents lethal sepsis in nearly all cases (>90%), while a delay of up to forty-eight hours in treatment still greatly reduces mortality following exposure (65%). Moreover, passive immunotherapy protects against enteric invasion, associated mucosal injury and subsequent dissemination by gastrointestinal B. anthracis, indicating that it acts to prevent the initial stages of infection. * Expired raxibacumab being cycled off the Strategic National Stockpile; biological activity confirmed by in vitro assay. PMID:26426050

  10. PC, a Novel Oral Insecticidal Toxin from Bacillus bombysepticus Involved in Host Lethality via APN and BtR-175

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Ping; Cheng, Tingcai; Jin, Shengkai; Wu, Yuqian; Fu, Bohua; Long, Renwen; Zhao, Ping; Xia, Qingyou

    2015-01-01

    Insect pests have developed resistance to chemical insecticides, insecticidal toxins as bioinsecticides or genetic protection built into crops. Consequently, novel, orally active insecticidal toxins would be valuable biological alternatives for pest control. Here, we identified a novel insecticidal toxin, parasporal crystal toxin (PC), from Bacillus bombysepticus (Bb). PC shows oral pathogenic activity and lethality towards silkworms and Cry1Ac-resistant Helicoverpa armigera strains. In vitro assays, PC after activated by trypsin binds to BmAPN4 and BtR-175 by interacting with CR7 and CR12 fragments. Additionally, trypsin-activated PC demonstrates cytotoxicity against Sf9 cells expressing BmAPN4, revealing that BmAPN4 serves as a functional receptor that participates in Bb and PC pathogenicity. In vivo assay, knocking out BtR-175 increased the resistance of silkworms to PC. These data suggest that PC is the first protein with insecticidal activity identified in Bb that is capable of causing silkworm death via receptor interactions, representing an important advance in our understanding of the toxicity of Bb and the contributions of interactions between microbial pathogens and insects to disease pathology. Furthermore, the potency of PC as an insecticidal protein makes it a good candidate for inclusion in integrated agricultural pest management systems. PMID:26057951

  11. PC, a Novel Oral Insecticidal Toxin from Bacillus bombysepticus Involved in Host Lethality via APN and BtR-175.

    PubMed

    Lin, Ping; Cheng, Tingcai; Jin, Shengkai; Wu, Yuqian; Fu, Bohua; Long, Renwen; Zhao, Ping; Xia, Qingyou

    2015-06-09

    Insect pests have developed resistance to chemical insecticides, insecticidal toxins as bioinsecticides or genetic protection built into crops. Consequently, novel, orally active insecticidal toxins would be valuable biological alternatives for pest control. Here, we identified a novel insecticidal toxin, parasporal crystal toxin (PC), from Bacillus bombysepticus (Bb). PC shows oral pathogenic activity and lethality towards silkworms and Cry1Ac-resistant Helicoverpa armigera strains. In vitro assays, PC after activated by trypsin binds to BmAPN4 and BtR-175 by interacting with CR7 and CR12 fragments. Additionally, trypsin-activated PC demonstrates cytotoxicity against Sf9 cells expressing BmAPN4, revealing that BmAPN4 serves as a functional receptor that participates in Bb and PC pathogenicity. In vivo assay, knocking out BtR-175 increased the resistance of silkworms to PC. These data suggest that PC is the first protein with insecticidal activity identified in Bb that is capable of causing silkworm death via receptor interactions, representing an important advance in our understanding of the toxicity of Bb and the contributions of interactions between microbial pathogens and insects to disease pathology. Furthermore, the potency of PC as an insecticidal protein makes it a good candidate for inclusion in integrated agricultural pest management systems.

  12. Determination of lethality rate constants and D-values for Bacillus atrophaeus (ATCC 9372) spores exposed to dry heat from 115 degrees C to 170 degrees C.

    PubMed

    Kempf, M J; Schubert, W W; Beaudet, R A

    2008-12-01

    Dry heat microbial reduction is the NASA-approved sterilization method to reduce the microbial bioburden on spaceflight hardware for missions with planetary protection requirements. The method involves heating the spaceflight hardware to temperatures between 104 degrees C and 125 degrees C for up to 50 hours, while controlling the humidity to very low values. Collection of lethality data at temperatures above 125 degrees C and with ambient (uncontrolled) humidity conditions would establish whether any microbial reduction credit can be offered to the flight project for processes that occur at temperatures greater than 125 degrees C. The goal of this research is to determine the survival rates of Bacillus atrophaeus (ATCC 9372) spores subjected to temperatures higher than 125 degrees C under both dry (controlled) and room ambient humidity (36-66% relative humidity) conditions. Spores were deposited inside thin, stainless steel thermal spore exposure vessels (TSEVs) and heated under ambient or controlled humidity conditions from 115 degrees C to 170 degrees C. After the exposures, the TSEVs were cooled rapidly, and the spores were recovered and plated. Survivor ratios, lethality rate constants, and D-values were calculated at each temperature. At 115 degrees C and 125 degrees C, the controlled humidity lethality rate constant was faster than the ambient humidity lethality rate constant. At 135 degrees C, the ambient and controlled humidity lethality rate constants were statistically identical. At 150 degrees C and 170 degrees C, the ambient humidity lethality rate constant was slightly faster than the controlled humidity lethality rate constant. These results provide evidence for possibly modifying the NASA dry heat microbial reduction specification. PMID:19191542

  13. Genomics of Bacillus Species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Økstad, Ole Andreas; Kolstø, Anne-Brit

    Members of the genus Bacillus are rod-shaped spore-forming bacteria belonging to the Firmicutes, the low G+C gram-positive bacteria. The Bacillus genus was first described and classified by Ferdinand Cohn in Cohn (1872), and Bacillus subtilis was defined as the type species (Soule, 1932). Several Bacilli may be linked to opportunistic infections. However, pathogenicity among Bacillus spp. is mainly a feature of bacteria belonging to the Bacillus cereus group, including B. cereus, Bacillus anthracis, and Bacillus thuringiensis. Here we review the genomics of B. cereus group bacteria in relation to their roles as etiological agents of two food poisoning syndromes (emetic and diarrhoeal).

  14. Inhibitors of the Metalloproteinase Anthrax Lethal Factor.

    PubMed

    Goldberg, Allison B; Turk, Benjamin E

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, a rod shaped, spore forming, gram positive bacteria, is the etiological agent of anthrax. B. anthracis virulence is partly attributable to two secreted bipartite protein toxins, which act inside host cells to disrupt signaling pathways important for host defense against infection. These toxins may also directly contribute to mortality in late stage infection. The zinc-dependent metalloproteinase anthrax lethal factor (LF) is a critical component of one of these protein toxins and a prime target for inhibitor development to produce anthrax therapeutics. Here, we describe recent efforts to identify specific and potent LF inhibitors. Derivatization of peptide substrate analogs bearing zinc-binding groups has produced potent and specific LF inhibitors, and X-ray crystallography of LFinhibitor complexes has provided insight into features required for high affinity binding. Novel inhibitor scaffolds have been identified through several approaches, including fragment-based drug discovery, virtual screening, and highthroughput screening of diverse compound libraries. Lastly, efforts to discover LF inhibitors have led to the development of new screening strategies, such as the use of full-length proteins as substrates, that may prove useful for other proteases as well. Overall, these efforts have led to a collection of chemically and mechanistically diverse molecules capable of inhibiting LF activity in vitro and in cells, as well as in animal models of anthrax infection. PMID:27072692

  15. Exogenous Interferon-α and Interferon-γ Increase Lethality of Murine Inhalational Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Gold, Jeffrey A.; Hoshino, Yoshihiko; Jones, Marcus B.; Hoshino, Satomi; Nolan, Anna; Weiden, Michael D.

    2007-01-01

    Background Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent of inhalational anthrax, is a facultative intracellular pathogen. Despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy, the mortality from inhalational anthrax approaches 45%, underscoring the need for better adjuvant therapies. The variable latency between exposure and development of disease suggests an important role for the host's innate immune response. Type I and Type II Interferons (IFN) are prominent members of the host innate immune response and are required for control of intracellular pathogens. We have previously described a protective role for exogenous Type I and Type II IFNs in attenuating intracellular B.anthracis germination and macrophage cell death in vitro. Methodology and Principal Findings We sought to extend these findings in an in vivo model of inhalational anthrax, utilizing the Sterne strain (34F2) of B.anthracis. Mice devoid of STAT1, a component of IFN-α and IFN-γ signaling, had a trend towards increased mortality, bacterial germination and extrapulmonary spread of B.anthracis at 24 hrs. This was associated with impaired IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12 production. However, administration of exogenous IFN-γ, and to a lesser extent IFN-α, at the time of infection, markedly increased lethality. While IFNs were able to reduce the fraction of germinated spores within the lung, they increased both the local and systemic inflammatory response manifest by increases in IL-12 and reductions in IL-10. This was associated with an increase in extrapulmonary dissemination. The mechanism of IFN mediated inflammation appears to be in part due to STAT1 independent signaling. Conclusions In conclusion, while endogenous IFNs are essential for control of B.anthracis germination and lethality, administration of exogenous IFNs appear to increase the local inflammatory response, thereby increasing mortality. PMID:17710136

  16. Lethal exposure: An integrated approach to pathogen transmission via environmental reservoirs

    PubMed Central

    Turner, Wendy C.; Kausrud, Kyrre L.; Beyer, Wolfgang; Easterday, W. Ryan; Barandongo, Zoë R.; Blaschke, Elisabeth; Cloete, Claudine C.; Lazak, Judith; Van Ert, Matthew N.; Ganz, Holly H.; Turnbull, Peter C. B.; Stenseth, Nils Chr.; Getz, Wayne M.

    2016-01-01

    To mitigate the effects of zoonotic diseases on human and animal populations, it is critical to understand what factors alter transmission dynamics. Here we assess the risk of exposure to lethal concentrations of the anthrax bacterium, Bacillus anthracis, for grazing animals in a natural system over time through different transmission mechanisms. We follow pathogen concentrations at anthrax carcass sites and waterholes for five years and estimate infection risk as a function of grass, soil or water intake, age of carcass sites, and the exposure required for a lethal infection. Grazing, not drinking, seems the dominant transmission route, and transmission is more probable from grazing at carcass sites 1–2 years of age. Unlike most studies of virulent pathogens that are conducted under controlled conditions for extrapolation to real situations, we evaluate exposure risk under field conditions to estimate the probability of a lethal dose, showing that not all reservoirs with detectable pathogens are significant transmission pathways. PMID:27265371

  17. Lethal exposure: An integrated approach to pathogen transmission via environmental reservoirs.

    PubMed

    Turner, Wendy C; Kausrud, Kyrre L; Beyer, Wolfgang; Easterday, W Ryan; Barandongo, Zoë R; Blaschke, Elisabeth; Cloete, Claudine C; Lazak, Judith; Van Ert, Matthew N; Ganz, Holly H; Turnbull, Peter C B; Stenseth, Nils Chr; Getz, Wayne M

    2016-01-01

    To mitigate the effects of zoonotic diseases on human and animal populations, it is critical to understand what factors alter transmission dynamics. Here we assess the risk of exposure to lethal concentrations of the anthrax bacterium, Bacillus anthracis, for grazing animals in a natural system over time through different transmission mechanisms. We follow pathogen concentrations at anthrax carcass sites and waterholes for five years and estimate infection risk as a function of grass, soil or water intake, age of carcass sites, and the exposure required for a lethal infection. Grazing, not drinking, seems the dominant transmission route, and transmission is more probable from grazing at carcass sites 1-2 years of age. Unlike most studies of virulent pathogens that are conducted under controlled conditions for extrapolation to real situations, we evaluate exposure risk under field conditions to estimate the probability of a lethal dose, showing that not all reservoirs with detectable pathogens are significant transmission pathways. PMID:27265371

  18. Decontamination after a release of B. anthracis spores.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Chris G; Kirvel, Robert D; Love, Adam H; Bailey, Christopher G; Miles, Robin; Schweickert, Jerry; Sutton, Mark; Raber, Ellen

    2012-03-01

    Decontaminating civilian facilities or large urban areas following an attack with Bacillus anthracis poses daunting challenges because of the lack of resources and proven technologies. Nevertheless, lessons learned from the 2001 cleanups together with advances derived from recent research have improved our understanding of what is required for effective decontamination. This article reviews current decontamination technologies appropriate for use in outdoor environments, on material surfaces, within large enclosed spaces, in water, and on waste contaminated with aerosolized B. anthracis spores. PMID:22352747

  19. Decontamination after a release of B. anthracis spores.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Chris G; Kirvel, Robert D; Love, Adam H; Bailey, Christopher G; Miles, Robin; Schweickert, Jerry; Sutton, Mark; Raber, Ellen

    2012-03-01

    Decontaminating civilian facilities or large urban areas following an attack with Bacillus anthracis poses daunting challenges because of the lack of resources and proven technologies. Nevertheless, lessons learned from the 2001 cleanups together with advances derived from recent research have improved our understanding of what is required for effective decontamination. This article reviews current decontamination technologies appropriate for use in outdoor environments, on material surfaces, within large enclosed spaces, in water, and on waste contaminated with aerosolized B. anthracis spores.

  20. CHLORINE INACTIVATION OF BACILLUS ENDOSPORES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The possibility of a bioterrorism event resulting in the release of Bacillus anthracis endospores into a drinking water distribution system necessitates research into means by which these endospores can be inactivated. This study was designed to determine the chlorine resistance...

  1. Bacillus anthracis spores germinate extracellularly at air-liquid interface in an in vitro lung model under serum-free conditions

    DOE PAGES

    Powell, Joshua D.; Hutchison, Janine R.; Hess, Becky M.; Straub, Tim M.

    2015-07-30

    Aims: To better understand the parameters that govern spore dissemination after lung exposure using in vitro cell systems. Methods and Results: We evaluated the kinetics of uptake, germination and proliferation of B. anthracis Sterne spores in association with human primary lung epithelial cells, Calu-3, and A549 cell lines. We also analyzed the influence of various cell culture media formulations related to spore germination. Conclusions: We found negligible spore uptake by epithelial cells, but germination and proliferation of spores in the extracellular environment was evident, and was appreciably higher in A549 and Calu-3 cultures than in primary epithelial cells. Additionally, ourmore » results revealed spores in association with primary cells submerged in cell culture media germinated 1 h« less

  2. Bacillus anthracis spores germinate extracellularly at air-liquid interface in an in vitro lung model under serum-free conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Powell, Joshua D.; Hutchison, Janine R.; Hess, Becky M.; Straub, Tim M.

    2015-07-30

    Aims: To better understand the parameters that govern spore dissemination after lung exposure using in vitro cell systems. Methods and Results: We evaluated the kinetics of uptake, germination and proliferation of B. anthracis Sterne spores in association with human primary lung epithelial cells, Calu-3, and A549 cell lines. We also analyzed the influence of various cell culture media formulations related to spore germination. Conclusions: We found negligible spore uptake by epithelial cells, but germination and proliferation of spores in the extracellular environment was evident, and was appreciably higher in A549 and Calu-3 cultures than in primary epithelial cells. Additionally, our results revealed spores in association with primary cells submerged in cell culture media germinated 1 h

  3. Surface-layer (S-layer) proteins sap and EA1 govern the binding of the S-layer-associated protein BslO at the cell septa of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Kern, Valerie J; Kern, Justin W; Theriot, Julie A; Schneewind, Olaf; Missiakas, Dominique

    2012-08-01

    The Gram-positive pathogen Bacillus anthracis contains 24 genes whose products harbor the structurally conserved surface-layer (S-layer) homology (SLH) domain. Proteins endowed with the SLH domain associate with the secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP) following secretion. Two such proteins, Sap and EA1, have the unique ability to self-assemble into a paracrystalline layer on the surface of bacilli and form S layers. Other SLH domain proteins can also be found within the S layer and have been designated Bacillus S-layer-associated protein (BSLs). While both S-layer proteins and BSLs bind the same SCWP, their deposition on the cell surface is not random. For example, BslO is targeted to septal peptidoglycan zones, where it catalyzes the separation of daughter cells. Here we show that an insertional lesion in the sap structural gene results in elongated chains of bacilli, as observed with a bslO mutant. The chain length of the sap mutant can be reduced by the addition of purified BslO in the culture medium. This complementation in trans can be explained by an increased deposition of BslO onto the surface of sap mutant bacilli that extends beyond chain septa. Using fluorescence microscopy, we observed that the Sap S layer does not overlap the EA1 S layer and slowly yields to the EA1 S layer in a growth-phase-dependent manner. Although present all over bacilli, Sap S-layer patches are not observed at septa. Thus, we propose that the dynamic Sap/EA1 S-layer coverage of the envelope restricts the deposition of BslO to the SCWP at septal rings.

  4. Surface-Layer (S-Layer) Proteins Sap and EA1 Govern the Binding of the S-Layer-Associated Protein BslO at the Cell Septa of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Kern, Valerie J.; Kern, Justin W.; Theriot, Julie A.; Schneewind, Olaf

    2012-01-01

    The Gram-positive pathogen Bacillus anthracis contains 24 genes whose products harbor the structurally conserved surface-layer (S-layer) homology (SLH) domain. Proteins endowed with the SLH domain associate with the secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP) following secretion. Two such proteins, Sap and EA1, have the unique ability to self-assemble into a paracrystalline layer on the surface of bacilli and form S layers. Other SLH domain proteins can also be found within the S layer and have been designated Bacillus S-layer-associated protein (BSLs). While both S-layer proteins and BSLs bind the same SCWP, their deposition on the cell surface is not random. For example, BslO is targeted to septal peptidoglycan zones, where it catalyzes the separation of daughter cells. Here we show that an insertional lesion in the sap structural gene results in elongated chains of bacilli, as observed with a bslO mutant. The chain length of the sap mutant can be reduced by the addition of purified BslO in the culture medium. This complementation in trans can be explained by an increased deposition of BslO onto the surface of sap mutant bacilli that extends beyond chain septa. Using fluorescence microscopy, we observed that the Sap S layer does not overlap the EA1 S layer and slowly yields to the EA1 S layer in a growth-phase-dependent manner. Although present all over bacilli, Sap S-layer patches are not observed at septa. Thus, we propose that the dynamic Sap/EA1 S-layer coverage of the envelope restricts the deposition of BslO to the SCWP at septal rings. PMID:22609927

  5. Small-molecule inhibitors of lethal factor protease activity protect against anthrax infection.

    PubMed

    Moayeri, Mahtab; Crown, Devorah; Jiao, Guan-Sheng; Kim, Seongjin; Johnson, Alan; Leysath, Clinton; Leppla, Stephen H

    2013-09-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, manifests its pathogenesis through the action of two secreted toxins. The bipartite lethal and edema toxins, a combination of lethal factor or edema factor with the protein protective antigen, are important virulence factors for this bacterium. We previously developed small-molecule inhibitors of lethal factor proteolytic activity (LFIs) and demonstrated their in vivo efficacy in a rat lethal toxin challenge model. In this work, we show that these LFIs protect against lethality caused by anthrax infection in mice when combined with subprotective doses of either antibiotics or neutralizing monoclonal antibodies that target edema factor. Significantly, these inhibitors provided protection against lethal infection when administered as a monotherapy. As little as two doses (10 mg/kg) administered at 2 h and 8 h after spore infection was sufficient to provide a significant survival benefit in infected mice. Administration of LFIs early in the infection was found to inhibit dissemination of vegetative bacteria to the organs in the first 32 h following infection. In addition, neutralizing antibodies against edema factor also inhibited bacterial dissemination with similar efficacy. Together, our findings confirm the important roles that both anthrax toxins play in establishing anthrax infection and demonstrate the potential for small-molecule therapeutics targeting these proteins.

  6. Identification of anthrax toxin genes in a Bacillus cereus associated with an illness resembling inhalation anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmaster, Alex R.; Ravel, Jacques; Rasko, David A.; Chapman, Gail D.; Chute, Michael D.; Marston, Chung K.; De, Barun K.; Sacchi, Claudio T.; Fitzgerald, Collette; Mayer, Leonard W.; Maiden, Martin C. J.; Priest, Fergus G.; Barker, Margaret; Jiang, Lingxia; Cer, Regina Z.; Rilstone, Jennifer; Peterson, Scott N.; Weyant, Robbin S.; Galloway, Darrell R.; Read, Timothy D.; Popovic, Tanja; Fraser, Claire M.

    2004-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis is the etiologic agent of anthrax, an acute fatal disease among mammals. It was thought to differ from Bacillus cereus, an opportunistic pathogen and cause of food poisoning, by the presence of plasmids pXO1 and pXO2, which encode the lethal toxin complex and the poly-γ-d-glutamic acid capsule, respectively. This work describes a non-B. anthracis isolate that possesses the anthrax toxin genes and is capable of causing a severe inhalation anthrax-like illness. Although initial phenotypic and 16S rRNA analysis identified this isolate as B. cereus, the rapid generation and analysis of a high-coverage draft genome sequence revealed the presence of a circular plasmid, named pBCXO1, with 99.6% similarity with the B. anthracis toxin-encoding plasmid, pXO1. Although homologues of the pXO2 encoded capsule genes were not found, a polysaccharide capsule cluster is encoded on a second, previously unidentified plasmid, pBC218. A/J mice challenged with B. cereus G9241 confirmed the virulence of this strain. These findings represent an example of how genomics could rapidly assist public health experts responding not only to clearly identified select agents but also to novel agents with similar pathogenic potentials. In this study, we combined a public health approach with genome analysis to provide insight into the correlation of phenotypic characteristics and their genetic basis. PMID:15155910

  7. Protective immunity evoked against anthrax lethal toxin after a single intramuscular administration of an adenovirus-based vaccine encoding humanized protective antigen.

    PubMed

    Tan, Yadi; Hackett, Neil R; Boyer, Julie L; Crystal, Ronald G

    2003-11-20

    Because of the need to develop a vaccine to rapidly protect the civilian population in response to a bioterrorism attack with Bacillus anthracis, we designed AdsechPA, a replication-deficient human serotype 5 adenovirus encoding B. anthracis protective antigen (PA) with codons optimized for expression in mammalian cells. With a single intramuscular administration to mice of 10(9) particle units of AdsechPA, a dose that can be scaled to human use, anti-PA antibodies were evoked more rapidly and at a higher level than with a single administration of the new U.S. military recombinant PA/Alhydrogel vaccine. Importantly, AdsechPA afforded approximately 2.7-fold more protection than the recombinant PA vaccine against B. anthracis lethal toxin challenge 4 weeks after a single vaccination. Even at 11 days postvaccination, AdsechPA provided some survival benefit, whereas the rPA/Alhydrogel vaccine provided none. In the context that equivalent human doses of Ad vectors have already been demonstrated to be safe in humans, a single administration of AdsechPA may provide the means to rapidly protect the civilian population against B. anthracis in response to a bioterrorism attack.

  8. Crystallographic studies of the Anthrax lethal toxin. Annual report

    SciTech Connect

    Frederick, C.A.

    1996-07-01

    The lethal form of Anthrax results from the inhalation of anthrax spores. Death is primarily due to the effects of the lethal toxin (Protective Antigen (PA) + Lethal Factor) from the causative agent, Bacillus anthracis. All the Anthrax vaccines currently in use or under development contain or produce PA, the major antigenic component of anthrax toxin, and there is a clear need for an improved vaccine for human use. In the previous report we described the first atomic resolution structure of PA, revealing that the molecule is composed largely of beta-sheets organized into four domains. This information can be used in the design. of recombinant PA vaccines. In this report we describe additional features of the full-length PA molecule derived from further crystallographic refinement and careful examination of the structure. We compare two crystal forms of PA grown at different pH values and discuss the functional implications. A complete definition of the function of each domain must await the crystal structure of the PA63 heptamer. We have grown crystals of the heptamer under both detergent and detergent-free conditions, and made substantial progress towards the crystal structure. The mechanism of anthrax intoxication in the light of our results is reviewed.

  9. Erythropoiesis suppression is associated with anthrax lethal toxin-mediated pathogenic progression.

    PubMed

    Chang, Hsin-Hou; Wang, Tsung-Pao; Chen, Po-Kong; Lin, Yo-Yin; Liao, Chih-Hsien; Lin, Ting-Kai; Chiang, Ya-Wen; Lin, Wen-Bin; Chiang, Chih-Yu; Kau, Jyh-Hwa; Huang, Hsin-Hsien; Hsu, Hui-Ling; Liao, Chi-Yuan; Sun, Der-Shan

    2013-01-01

    Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which results in high mortality in animals and humans. Although some of the mechanisms are already known such as asphyxia, extensive knowledge of molecular pathogenesis of this disease is deficient and remains to be further investigated. Lethal toxin (LT) is a major virulence factor of B. anthracis and a specific inhibitor/protease of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases (MAPKKs). Anthrax LT causes lethality and induces certain anthrax-like symptoms, such as anemia and hypoxia, in experimental mice. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are the downstream pathways of MAPKKs, and are important for erythropoiesis. This prompted us to hypothesize that anemia and hypoxia may in part be exacerbated by erythropoietic dysfunction. As revealed by colony-forming cell assays in this study, LT challenges significantly reduced mouse erythroid progenitor cells. In addition, in a proteolytic activity-dependent manner, LT suppressed cell survival and differentiation of cord blood CD34(+)-derived erythroblasts in vitro. Suppression of cell numbers and the percentage of erythroblasts in the bone marrow were detected in LT-challenged C57BL/6J mice. In contrast, erythropoiesis was provoked through treatments of erythropoietin, significantly ameliorating the anemia and reducing the mortality of LT-treated mice. These data suggested that suppressed erythropoiesis is part of the pathophysiology of LT-mediated intoxication. Because specific treatments to overcome LT-mediated pathogenesis are still lacking, these efforts may help the development of effective treatments against anthrax.

  10. Experimental Design for a Sponge-Wipe Study to Relate the Recovery Efficiency and False Negative Rate to the Concentration of a Bacillus anthracis Surrogate for Six Surface Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Piepel, Gregory F.; Amidan, Brett G.; Krauter, Paula; Einfeld, Wayne

    2010-12-16

    Two concerns were raised by the Government Accountability Office following the 2001 building contaminations via letters containing Bacillus anthracis (BA). These included the: 1) lack of validated sampling methods, and 2) need to use statistical sampling to quantify the confidence of no contamination when all samples have negative results. Critical to addressing these concerns is quantifying the probability of correct detection (PCD) (or equivalently the false negative rate FNR = 1 - PCD). The PCD/FNR may depend on the 1) method of contaminant deposition, 2) surface concentration of the contaminant, 3) surface material being sampled, 4) sample collection method, 5) sample storage/transportation conditions, 6) sample processing method, and 7) sample analytical method. A review of the literature found 17 laboratory studies that focused on swab, wipe, or vacuum samples collected from a variety of surface materials contaminated by BA or a surrogate, and used culture methods to determine the surface contaminant concentration. These studies quantified performance of the sampling and analysis methods in terms of recovery efficiency (RE) and not PCD/FNR (which left a major gap in available information). Quantifying the PCD/FNR under a variety of conditions is a key aspect of validating sample and analysis methods, and also for calculating the confidence in characterization or clearance decisions based on a statistical sampling plan. A laboratory study was planned to partially fill the gap in PCD/FNR results. This report documents the experimental design developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) for a sponge-wipe method. The study will investigate the effects on key response variables from six surface materials contaminated with eight surface concentrations of a BA surrogate (Bacillus atrophaeus). The key response variables include measures of the contamination on test coupons of surface materials tested, contamination

  11. Experimental Design for a Sponge-Wipe Study to Relate the Recovery Efficiency and False Negative Rate to the Concentration of a Bacillus anthracis Surrogate for Six Surface Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Piepel, Gregory F.; Amidan, Brett G.; Krauter, Paula; Einfeld, Wayne

    2011-05-01

    Two concerns were raised by the Government Accountability Office following the 2001 building contaminations via letters containing Bacillus anthracis (BA). These included the: 1) lack of validated sampling methods, and 2) need to use statistical sampling to quantify the confidence of no contamination when all samples have negative results. Critical to addressing these concerns is quantifying the false negative rate (FNR). The FNR may depend on the 1) method of contaminant deposition, 2) surface concentration of the contaminant, 3) surface material being sampled, 4) sample collection method, 5) sample storage/transportation conditions, 6) sample processing method, and 7) sample analytical method. A review of the literature found 17 laboratory studies that focused on swab, wipe, or vacuum samples collected from a variety of surface materials contaminated by BA or a surrogate, and used culture methods to determine the surface contaminant concentration. These studies quantified performance of the sampling and analysis methods in terms of recovery efficiency (RE) and not FNR (which left a major gap in available information). Quantifying the FNR under a variety of conditions is a key aspect of validating sample and analysis methods, and also for calculating the confidence in characterization or clearance decisions based on a statistical sampling plan. A laboratory study was planned to partially fill the gap in FNR results. This report documents the experimental design developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) for a sponge-wipe method. The testing was performed by SNL and is now completed. The study investigated the effects on key response variables from six surface materials contaminated with eight surface concentrations of a BA surrogate (Bacillus atrophaeus). The key response variables include measures of the contamination on test coupons of surface materials tested, contamination recovered from coupons by sponge

  12. Anthrax Toxin-Expressing Bacillus cereus Isolated from an Anthrax-Like Eschar

    PubMed Central

    Marston, Chung K.; Ibrahim, Hisham; Lee, Philip; Churchwell, George; Gumke, Megan; Stanek, Danielle; Gee, Jay E.; Boyer, Anne E.; Gallegos-Candela, Maribel; Barr, John R.; Li, Han; Boulay, Darbi; Cronin, Li; Quinn, Conrad P.; Hoffmaster, Alex R.

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus cereus isolates have been described harboring Bacillus anthracis toxin genes, most notably B. cereus G9241, and capable of causing severe and fatal pneumonias. This report describes the characterization of a B. cereus isolate, BcFL2013, associated with a naturally occurring cutaneous lesion resembling an anthrax eschar. Similar to G9241, BcFL2013 is positive for the B. anthracis pXO1 toxin genes, has a multi-locus sequence type of 78, and a pagA sequence type of 9. Whole genome sequencing confirms the similarity to G9241. In addition to the chromosome having an average nucleotide identity of 99.98% when compared to G9241, BcFL2013 harbors three plasmids with varying homology to the G9241 plasmids (pBCXO1, pBC210 and pBFH_1). This is also the first report to include serologic testing of patient specimens associated with this type of B. cereus infection which resulted in the detection of anthrax lethal factor toxemia, a quantifiable serum antibody response to protective antigen (PA), and lethal toxin neutralization activity. PMID:27257909

  13. Anthrax Toxin-Expressing Bacillus cereus Isolated from an Anthrax-Like Eschar.

    PubMed

    Marston, Chung K; Ibrahim, Hisham; Lee, Philip; Churchwell, George; Gumke, Megan; Stanek, Danielle; Gee, Jay E; Boyer, Anne E; Gallegos-Candela, Maribel; Barr, John R; Li, Han; Boulay, Darbi; Cronin, Li; Quinn, Conrad P; Hoffmaster, Alex R

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus cereus isolates have been described harboring Bacillus anthracis toxin genes, most notably B. cereus G9241, and capable of causing severe and fatal pneumonias. This report describes the characterization of a B. cereus isolate, BcFL2013, associated with a naturally occurring cutaneous lesion resembling an anthrax eschar. Similar to G9241, BcFL2013 is positive for the B. anthracis pXO1 toxin genes, has a multi-locus sequence type of 78, and a pagA sequence type of 9. Whole genome sequencing confirms the similarity to G9241. In addition to the chromosome having an average nucleotide identity of 99.98% when compared to G9241, BcFL2013 harbors three plasmids with varying homology to the G9241 plasmids (pBCXO1, pBC210 and pBFH_1). This is also the first report to include serologic testing of patient specimens associated with this type of B. cereus infection which resulted in the detection of anthrax lethal factor toxemia, a quantifiable serum antibody response to protective antigen (PA), and lethal toxin neutralization activity. PMID:27257909

  14. Anthrax Toxin-Expressing Bacillus cereus Isolated from an Anthrax-Like Eschar.

    PubMed

    Marston, Chung K; Ibrahim, Hisham; Lee, Philip; Churchwell, George; Gumke, Megan; Stanek, Danielle; Gee, Jay E; Boyer, Anne E; Gallegos-Candela, Maribel; Barr, John R; Li, Han; Boulay, Darbi; Cronin, Li; Quinn, Conrad P; Hoffmaster, Alex R

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus cereus isolates have been described harboring Bacillus anthracis toxin genes, most notably B. cereus G9241, and capable of causing severe and fatal pneumonias. This report describes the characterization of a B. cereus isolate, BcFL2013, associated with a naturally occurring cutaneous lesion resembling an anthrax eschar. Similar to G9241, BcFL2013 is positive for the B. anthracis pXO1 toxin genes, has a multi-locus sequence type of 78, and a pagA sequence type of 9. Whole genome sequencing confirms the similarity to G9241. In addition to the chromosome having an average nucleotide identity of 99.98% when compared to G9241, BcFL2013 harbors three plasmids with varying homology to the G9241 plasmids (pBCXO1, pBC210 and pBFH_1). This is also the first report to include serologic testing of patient specimens associated with this type of B. cereus infection which resulted in the detection of anthrax lethal factor toxemia, a quantifiable serum antibody response to protective antigen (PA), and lethal toxin neutralization activity.

  15. Histopathology and the lethal effect of Cry proteins and strains of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner in Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith Caterpillars (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae).

    PubMed

    Knaak, N; Franz, A R; Santos, G F; Fiuza, L M

    2010-08-01

    Among the phytophagous insects which attack crops, the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith, 1797) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) is particularly harmful in the initial growth phase of rice plants. As a potential means of controlling this pest, and considering that the entomopathogen Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner demonstrates toxicity due to synthesis of the Cry protein, the present study was undertaken to evaluate this toxic effect of B. thuringiensis thuringiensis 407 (pH 408) and B. thuringiensis kurstaki HD-73 on S. frugiperda. The following method was used. Both bacterial strains were evaluated in vitro in 1st instar S. frugiperda caterpillars, by means of histopathological assays. The Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac proteins, codified by the respective strains of B. thuringiensis, were evaluated in vivo by bioassays of 1st instar S. frugiperda caterpillars in order to determine the Mean Lethal Concentration (LC50). The results of the histopathological analysis of the midget of S. frugiperda caterpillars demonstrate that treatment with the B. thuringiensis thuringiensis strain was more efficient, because the degradations of the microvilosities started 9 hours after treatment application (HAT), while in the B. thuringiensis kurstaki the same effect was noticed only after 12 HAT. Toxicity data of the Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac proteins presented for the target-species LC50 levels of 9.29 and 1.79 microgxcm-2 respectively. The strains and proteins synthesised by B. thuringiensis thuringiensis and B. thuringiensis kurstaki are effective in controlling S. frugiperda, and may be used to produce new biopesticides or the genes may be utilised in the genetic transformation of Oryza sativa L.

  16. Lethality of chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and a commercial produce sanitizer to Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas in a liquid detergent, on stainless steel, and in biofilm.

    PubMed

    Kreske, Audrey C; Ryu, Jee-Hoon; Pettigrew, Charles A; Beuchat, Larry R

    2006-11-01

    Many factors that are not fully understood may influence the effectiveness of sanitizer treatments for eliminating pathogens and spoilage microorganisms in food or detergent residues or in biofilms on food contact surfaces. This study was done to determine the sensitivities of Pseudomonas cells and Bacillus cereus cells and spores suspended in a liquid dishwashing detergent and inoculated onto the surface of stainless steel to treatment with chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and a commercial produce sanitizer (Fit). Cells and spores were incubated in a liquid dishwashing detergent for 16 to 18 h before treatment with sanitizers. At 50 microg/ml, chlorine dioxide killed a significantly higher number of Pseudomonas cells (3.82 log CFU/ml) than did chlorine (a reduction of 1.34 log CFU/ml). Stainless steel coupons were spot inoculated with Pseudomonas cells and B. cereus cells and spores, with water and 5% horse serum as carriers. Chlorine was more effective than chlorine dioxide in killing cells and spores of B. cereus suspended in horse serum. B. cereus biofilm on stainless steel coupons that were treated with chlorine dioxide or chlorine at 200 microg/ml had total population reductions (vegetative cells plus spores) of > or = 4.42 log CFU per coupon; the number of spores was reduced by > or = 3.80 log CFU per coupon. Fit (0.5%) was ineffective for killing spot-inoculated B. cereus and B. cereus in biofilm, but treatment with mixtures of Fit and chlorine dioxide caused greater reductions than did treatment with chlorine dioxide alone. In contrast, when chlorine was combined with Fit, the lethality of chlorine was completely lost. This study provides information on the survival and sanitizer sensitivity of Pseudomonas and B. cereus in a liquid dishwashing detergent, on the surface of stainless steel, and in a biofilm. This information will be useful for developing more effective strategies for cleaning and sanitizing contact surfaces in food preparation and processing

  17. Determination of Lethality Rate Constants and D-Values for Bacillus atrophaeus (ATCC 9372) Spores Exposed to Dry Heat from 115°C to 170°C

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kempf, M. J.; Schubert, W. W.; Beaudet, R. A.

    2008-12-01

    Dry heat microbial reduction is the NASA-approved sterilization method to reduce the microbial bioburden on spaceflight hardware for missions with planetary protection requirements. The method involves heating the spaceflight hardware to temperatures between 104°C and 125°C for up to 50 hours, while controlling the humidity to very low values. Collection of lethality data at temperatures above 125°C and with ambient (uncontrolled) humidity conditions would establish whether any microbial reduction credit can be offered to the flight project for processes that occur at temperatures greater than 125°C. The goal of this research is to determine the survival rates of Bacillus atrophaeus (ATCC 9372) spores subjected to temperatures higher than 125°C under both dry (controlled) and room ambient humidity (36 66% relative humidity) conditions. Spores were deposited inside thin, stainless steel thermal spore exposure vessels (TSEVs) and heated under ambient or controlled humidity conditions from 115°C to 170°C. After the exposures, the TSEVs were cooled rapidly, and the spores were recovered and plated. Survivor ratios, lethality rate constants, and D-values were calculated at each temperature. At 115°C and 125°C, the controlled humidity lethality rate constant was faster than th:e ambient humidity lethality rate constant. At 135°C, the ambient and controlled humidity lethality rate constants were statistically identical. At 150°C and 170°C, the ambient humidity lethality rate constant was slightly faster than the controlled humidity lethality rate constant. These results provide evidence for possibly modifying the NASA dry heat microbial reduction specification.

  18. Anthrax lethal and edema toxins in anthrax pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Liu, Shihui; Moayeri, Mahtab; Leppla, Stephen H

    2014-06-01

    The pathophysiological effects resulting from many bacterial diseases are caused by exotoxins released by the bacteria. Bacillus anthracis, a spore-forming bacterium, is such a pathogen, causing anthrax through a combination of bacterial infection and toxemia. B. anthracis causes natural infection in humans and animals and has been a top bioterrorism concern since the 2001 anthrax attacks in the USA. The exotoxins secreted by B. anthracis use capillary morphogenesis protein 2 (CMG2) as the major toxin receptor and play essential roles in pathogenesis during the entire course of the disease. This review focuses on the activities of anthrax toxins and their roles in initial and late stages of anthrax infection.

  19. Parenteral Administration of Capsule Depolymerase EnvD Prevents Lethal Inhalation Anthrax Infection.

    PubMed

    Negus, David; Vipond, Julia; Hatch, Graham J; Rayner, Emma L; Taylor, Peter W

    2015-12-01

    Left untreated, inhalation anthrax is usually fatal. Vegetative forms of Bacillus anthracis survive in blood and tissues during infection due to elaboration of a protective poly-γ-D-glutamic acid (PDGA) capsule that permits uncontrolled bacterial growth in vivo, eventually leading to overwhelming bacillosis and death. As a measure to counter threats from multidrug-resistant strains, we are evaluating the prophylactic and therapeutic potential of the PDGA depolymerase EnvD, a stable and potent enzyme which rapidly and selectively removes the capsule from the surface of vegetative cells. Repeated intravenous administration of 10 mg/kg recombinant EnvD (rEnvD) to mice infected with lethal doses of B. anthracis Ames spores by inhalation prevented the emergence of symptoms of anthrax and death; all animals survived the 5-day treatment period, and 70% survived to the end of the 14-day observation period. In contrast to results in sham-treated animals, the lungs and spleen of rEnvD-dosed animals were free of gross pathological changes. We conclude that rEnvD has potential as an agent to prevent the emergence of inhalation anthrax in infected animals and is likely to be effective against drug-resistant forms of the pathogen.

  20. Probing the S2' Subsite of the Anthrax Toxin Lethal Factor Using Novel N-Alkylated Hydroxamates.

    PubMed

    Kurbanov, Elbek K; Chiu, Ting-Lan; Solberg, Jonathan; Francis, Subhashree; Maize, Kimberly M; Fernandez, Jenna; Johnson, Rodney L; Hawkinson, Jon E; Walters, Michael A; Finzel, Barry C; Amin, Elizabeth Ambrose

    2015-11-12

    The lethal factor (LF) enzyme secreted by Bacillus anthracis is a zinc hydrolase that is chiefly responsible for anthrax-related cell death. Although many studies of the design of small molecule LF inhibitors have been conducted, no LF inhibitor is yet available as a therapeutic agent. Inhibitors with considerable chemical diversity have been developed and investigated; however, the LF S2' subsite has not yet been systematically explored as a potential target for lead optimization. Here we present synthesis, experimental evaluation, modeling, and structural biology for a novel series of sulfonamide hydroxamate LF inhibitor analogues specifically designed to extend into, and probe chemical preferences of, this S2' subsite. We discovered that this region accommodates a wide variety of chemical functionalities and that a broad selection of ligand structural modifications directed to this area can be incorporated without significant deleterious alterations in biological activity. We also identified key residues in this subsite that can potentially be targeted to improve inhibitor binding.

  1. Binary Bacterial Toxins: Biochemistry, Biology, and Applications of Common Clostridium and Bacillus Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Barth, Holger; Aktories, Klaus; Popoff, Michel R.; Stiles, Bradley G.

    2004-01-01

    Certain pathogenic species of Bacillus and Clostridium have developed unique methods for intoxicating cells that employ the classic enzymatic “A-B” paradigm for protein toxins. The binary toxins produced by B. anthracis, B. cereus, C. botulinum, C. difficile, C. perfringens, and C. spiroforme consist of components not physically associated in solution that are linked to various diseases in humans, animals, or insects. The “B” components are synthesized as precursors that are subsequently activated by serine-type proteases on the targeted cell surface and/or in solution. Following release of a 20-kDa N-terminal peptide, the activated “B” components form homoheptameric rings that subsequently dock with an “A” component(s) on the cell surface. By following an acidified endosomal route and translocation into the cytosol, “A” molecules disable a cell (and host organism) via disruption of the actin cytoskeleton, increasing intracellular levels of cyclic AMP, or inactivation of signaling pathways linked to mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases. Recently, B. anthracis has gleaned much notoriety as a biowarfare/bioterrorism agent, and of primary interest has been the edema and lethal toxins, their role in anthrax, as well as the development of efficacious vaccines and therapeutics targeting these virulence factors and ultimately B. anthracis. This review comprehensively surveys the literature and discusses the similarities, as well as distinct differences, between each Clostridium and Bacillus binary toxin in terms of their biochemistry, biology, genetics, structure, and applications in science and medicine. The information may foster future studies that aid novel vaccine and drug development, as well as a better understanding of a conserved intoxication process utilized by various gram-positive, spore-forming bacteria. PMID:15353562

  2. Induction of protective immunity to anthrax lethal toxin with a nonhuman primate adenovirus-based vaccine in the presence of preexisting anti-human adenovirus immunity.

    PubMed

    Hashimoto, Masahiko; Boyer, Julie L; Hackett, Neil R; Wilson, James M; Crystal, Ronald G

    2005-10-01

    Prevention or therapy for bioterrorism-associated anthrax infections requires rapidly acting effective vaccines. We recently demonstrated (Y. Tan, N. R. Hackett, J. L. Boyer, and R. G. Crystal, Hum. Gene Ther. 14:1673-1682, 2003) that a single administration of a recombinant serotype 5 adenovirus (Ad) vector expressing anthrax protective antigen (PA) provides rapid protection against anthrax lethal toxin challenge. However, approximately 35 to 50% of humans have preexisting neutralizing antibodies against Ad5. This study assesses the hypothesis that a recombinant adenovirus vaccine based on the nonhuman primate-derived serotype AdC7, against which humans do not have immunity, expressing PA (AdC7PA) will protect against anthrax lethal toxin even in the presence of preexisting anti-Ad5 immunity. Naive and Ad5-immunized BALB/c mice received (intramuscularly) 10(8) to 10(11) particle units (PU) of AdC7PA, Ad5PA (a human serotype Ad5-based vector expressing a secreted form of PA), or AdNull (an Ad5 vector with no transgene). Robust anti-PA immunoglobulin G and neutralizing antibodies were detected by 2 to 4 weeks following administration of AdC7PA to naive or Ad5 preimmunized mice, whereas low anti-PA titers were detected in Ad5-preimmunized mice following administration of Ad5PA. To assess protection in vivo, naive or mice previously immunized against Ad5 were immunized with AdC7PA or Ad5PA and then challenged with a lethal intravenous dose of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin. Whereas Ad5PA protected naive mice against challenge with B. anthracis lethal toxin, Ad5PA was ineffective in mice that were previously immunized against Ad5. In contrast, AdC7PA functioned effectively not only to protect naive mice but also to protect Ad5-preimmunized mice, with 100% survival after lethal toxin challenge. These data suggest the nonhuman-based vector AdC7PA is an effective vaccine for the development of protective immunity against B. anthracis and importantly functions as a "sero

  3. In vivo dynamics of active edema and lethal factors during anthrax.

    PubMed

    Rougeaux, Clémence; Becher, François; Ezan, Eric; Tournier, Jean-Nicolas; Goossens, Pierre L

    2016-01-01

    Lethal and edema toxins are critical virulence factors of Bacillus anthracis. However, little is known about their in vivo dynamics of production during anthrax. In this study, we unraveled for the first time the in vivo kinetics of production of the toxin components EF (edema factor) and LF (lethal factor) during cutaneous infection with a wild-type toxinogenic encapsulated strain in immuno-competent mice. We stratified the asynchronous infection process into defined stages through bioluminescence imaging (BLI), while exploiting sensitive quantitative methods by measuring the enzymatic activity of LF and EF. LF was produced in high amounts, while EF amounts steadily increased during the infectious process. This led to high LF/EF ratios throughout the infection, with variations between 50 to a few thousands. In the bloodstream, the early detection of active LF and EF despite the absence of bacteria suggests that they may exert long distance effects. Infection with a strain deficient in the protective antigen toxin component enabled to address its role in the diffusion of LF and EF within the host. Our data provide a picture of the in vivo complexity of the infectious process. PMID:26996161

  4. Lethal Factor Active-Site Mutations Affect Catalytic Activity In Vitro

    PubMed Central

    Hammond, S. E.; Hanna, P. C.

    1998-01-01

    The lethal factor (LF) protein of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin contains the thermolysin-like active-site and zinc-binding consensus motif HEXXH (K. R. Klimpel, N. Arora, and S. H. Leppla, Mol. Microbiol. 13:1093–1100, 1994). LF is hypothesized to act as a Zn2+ metalloprotease in the cytoplasm of macrophages, but no proteolytic activities have been previously shown on any target substrate. Here, synthetic peptides are hydrolyzed by LF in vitro. Mass spectroscopy and peptide sequencing of isolated cleavage products separated by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography indicate that LF seems to prefer proline-containing substrates. Substitution mutations within the consensus active-site residues completely abolish all in vitro catalytic functions, as does addition of 1,10-phenanthroline, EDTA, and certain amino acid hydroxamates, including the novel zinc metalloprotease inhibitor ZINCOV. In contrast, the protease inhibitors bestatin and lysine CMK, previously shown to block LF activity on macrophages, did not block LF activity in vitro. These data provide the first direct evidence that LF may act as an endopeptidase. PMID:9573135

  5. In vivo dynamics of active edema and lethal factors during anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Rougeaux, Clémence; Becher, François; Ezan, Eric; Tournier, Jean-Nicolas; Goossens, Pierre L.

    2016-01-01

    Lethal and edema toxins are critical virulence factors of Bacillus anthracis. However, little is known about their in vivo dynamics of production during anthrax. In this study, we unraveled for the first time the in vivo kinetics of production of the toxin components EF (edema factor) and LF (lethal factor) during cutaneous infection with a wild-type toxinogenic encapsulated strain in immuno-competent mice. We stratified the asynchronous infection process into defined stages through bioluminescence imaging (BLI), while exploiting sensitive quantitative methods by measuring the enzymatic activity of LF and EF. LF was produced in high amounts, while EF amounts steadily increased during the infectious process. This led to high LF/EF ratios throughout the infection, with variations between 50 to a few thousands. In the bloodstream, the early detection of active LF and EF despite the absence of bacteria suggests that they may exert long distance effects. Infection with a strain deficient in the protective antigen toxin component enabled to address its role in the diffusion of LF and EF within the host. Our data provide a picture of the in vivo complexity of the infectious process. PMID:26996161

  6. Role of macrophage oxidative burst in the action of anthrax lethal toxin.

    PubMed Central

    Hanna, P. C.; Kruskal, B. A.; Ezekowitz, R. A.; Bloom, B. R.; Collier, R. J.

    1994-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Major symptoms and death from systemic Bacillus anthracis infections are mediated by the action of the pathogen's lethal toxin on host macrophages. High levels of the toxin are cytolytic to macrophages, whereas low levels stimulate these cells to produce cytokines (interleukin-1 beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha), which induce systemic shock and death. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Experiments were performed to assess the possibility that the oxidative burst may be involved in one or both of lethal toxin's effects on macrophages. Toximediated cell lysis, superoxide anion and cytokine production were measured. Effects of antioxidants and macrophage mutations were examined. RESULTS: RAW264.7 murine macrophages treated with high levels of toxin released large amounts of superoxide anion, beginning at about 1 hr, which correlates with the onset of cytolysis. Cytolysis could be blocked with various exogenous antioxidants or with N-acetyl-L-cysteine and methionine, which promote production of the endogenous antioxidant, glutathione. Mutant murine macrophage lines deficient in production of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROIs) were relatively insensitive to the lytic effects of the toxin, whereas a line with increased oxidative burst potential showed elevated sensitivity. Also, cultured blood monocyte-derived macrophages from a patient with Chronic Granulomatous Disease, a disorder in which the phagocyte's oxidative burst is disabled, were totally resistant to toxin, in contrast to control monocytes. CONCLUSIONS: These results imply that the cytolytic effect of the toxin is mediated by ROIs. Additionally, cytokine production and consequent pathologies showed partial dependence on macrophage ROIs. Antioxidants moderately inhibited toxin-induced cytokine production in vitro, and BALB/c mice pretreated with N-acetyl-L-cysteine or mepacrine showed partial protection against lethal toxin. Thus ROIs are involved in both the cytolytic action of anthrax lethal toxin and

  7. Determination of Lethality Rate Constants and D-Values for Heat-Resistant Bacillus Spores ATCC 29669 Exposed to Dry Heat from 125°C to 200°C

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schubert, Wayne W.; Beaudet, Robert A.

    2011-04-01

    Exposing flight hardware to dry heat is a NASA-approved sterilization method for reducing microbial bioburden on spacecraft. The existing NASA specification only allows heating the flight hardware between 104°C and 125°C to reduce the number of viable microbes and bacterial spores. Also, the NASA specifications only allow a four log reduction by dry heat microbial reduction because very heat-resistant spores are presumed to exist in a diverse population (0.1%). The goal of this research was to obtain data at higher temperatures than 125°C for one of the most heat-resistant microorganisms discovered in a spacecraft assembly area. These data support expanding the NASA specifications to temperatures higher than 125°C and relaxing the four log reduction specification. Small stainless steel vessels with spores of the Bacillus strain ATCC 29669 were exposed to constant temperatures between 125°C and 200°C under both dry and ambient room humidity for set time durations. After exposures, the thermal spore exposure vessels were cooled and the remaining spores recovered and plated out. Survivor ratios, lethality rate constants, and D-values were determined at each temperature. The D-values for the spores exposed under dry humidity conditions were always found to be shorter than those under ambient humidity. The temperature dependence of the lethality rate constants was obtained by assuming that they obeyed Arrhenius behavior. The results are compared to those of B. atrophaeus ATCC 9372. In all cases, the D-values of ATCC 29669 are between 20 and 50 times longer than those of B. atrophaeus ATCC 9372.

  8. Determination of lethality rate constants and D-values for heat-resistant Bacillus spores ATCC 29669 exposed to dry heat from 125°C to 200°C.

    PubMed

    Schubert, Wayne W; Beaudet, Robert A

    2011-04-01

    Exposing flight hardware to dry heat is a NASA-approved sterilization method for reducing microbial bioburden on spacecraft. The existing NASA specification only allows heating the flight hardware between 104°C and 125°C to reduce the number of viable microbes and bacterial spores. Also, the NASA specifications only allow a four log reduction by dry heat microbial reduction because very heat-resistant spores are presumed to exist in a diverse population (0.1%). The goal of this research was to obtain data at higher temperatures than 125°C for one of the most heat-resistant microorganisms discovered in a spacecraft assembly area. These data support expanding the NASA specifications to temperatures higher than 125°C and relaxing the four log reduction specification. Small stainless steel vessels with spores of the Bacillus strain ATCC 29669 were exposed to constant temperatures between 125°C and 200°C under both dry and ambient room humidity for set time durations. After exposures, the thermal spore exposure vessels were cooled and the remaining spores recovered and plated out. Survivor ratios, lethality rate constants, and D-values were determined at each temperature. The D-values for the spores exposed under dry humidity conditions were always found to be shorter than those under ambient humidity. The temperature dependence of the lethality rate constants was obtained by assuming that they obeyed Arrhenius behavior. The results are compared to those of B. atrophaeus ATCC 9372. In all cases, the D-values of ATCC 29669 are between 20 and 50 times longer than those of B. atrophaeus ATCC 9372. PMID:21417744

  9. An amoeba phagocytosis model reveals a novel developmental switch in the insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis.

    PubMed

    Beeton, M L; Atkinson, D J; Waterfield, N R

    2013-02-01

    The Bacillus cereus group bacteria contain pathogens of economic and medical importance. From security and health perspectives, the lethal mammalian pathogen Bacillus anthracis remains a serious threat. In addition the potent insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis is extensively used as a biological control agent for insect pests. This relies upon the industrial scale induction of bacterial spore formation with the associated production of orally toxic Cry-toxins. Understanding the ecology and potential alternative developmental fates of these bacteria is therefore important. Here we describe the use of an amoeba host model to investigate the influence of environmental bactivorous protists on both spores and vegetative cells of these pathogens. We demonstrate that the bacteria can respond to different densities of amoeba by adopting different behaviours and developmental fates. We show that spores will germinate in response to factors excreted by the amoeba, and that the bacteria can grow and reproduce on these factors. We show that in low densities of amoeba, that the bacteria will seek to colonise the surface of the amoeba as micro-colonies, resisting phagocytosis. At high amoeba densities, the bacteria change morphology into long filaments and macroscopic rope-like structures which cannot be ingested due to size exclusion. We suggest these developmental fates are likely to be important both in the ecology of these bacteria and also during animal host colonisation and immune evasion. PMID:22750551

  10. An amoeba phagocytosis model reveals a novel developmental switch in the insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis.

    PubMed

    Beeton, M L; Atkinson, D J; Waterfield, N R

    2013-02-01

    The Bacillus cereus group bacteria contain pathogens of economic and medical importance. From security and health perspectives, the lethal mammalian pathogen Bacillus anthracis remains a serious threat. In addition the potent insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis is extensively used as a biological control agent for insect pests. This relies upon the industrial scale induction of bacterial spore formation with the associated production of orally toxic Cry-toxins. Understanding the ecology and potential alternative developmental fates of these bacteria is therefore important. Here we describe the use of an amoeba host model to investigate the influence of environmental bactivorous protists on both spores and vegetative cells of these pathogens. We demonstrate that the bacteria can respond to different densities of amoeba by adopting different behaviours and developmental fates. We show that spores will germinate in response to factors excreted by the amoeba, and that the bacteria can grow and reproduce on these factors. We show that in low densities of amoeba, that the bacteria will seek to colonise the surface of the amoeba as micro-colonies, resisting phagocytosis. At high amoeba densities, the bacteria change morphology into long filaments and macroscopic rope-like structures which cannot be ingested due to size exclusion. We suggest these developmental fates are likely to be important both in the ecology of these bacteria and also during animal host colonisation and immune evasion.

  11. Certhrax toxin, an anthrax-related ADP-ribosyltransferase from Bacillus cereus.

    PubMed

    Visschedyk, Danielle; Rochon, Amanda; Tempel, Wolfram; Dimov, Svetoslav; Park, Hee-Won; Merrill, A Rod

    2012-11-30

    We identified Certhrax, the first anthrax-like mART toxin from the pathogenic G9241 strain of Bacillus cereus. Certhrax shares 31% sequence identity with anthrax lethal factor from Bacillus anthracis; however, we have shown that the toxicity of Certhrax resides in the mART domain, whereas anthrax uses a metalloprotease mechanism. Like anthrax lethal factor, Certhrax was found to require protective antigen for host cell entry. This two-domain enzyme was shown to be 60-fold more toxic to mammalian cells than anthrax lethal factor. Certhrax localizes to distinct regions within mouse RAW264.7 cells by 10 min postinfection and is extranuclear in its cellular location. Substitution of catalytic residues shows that the mART function is responsible for the toxicity, and it binds NAD(+) with high affinity (K(D) = 52.3 ± 12.2 μM). We report the 2.2 Å Certhrax structure, highlighting its structural similarities and differences with anthrax lethal factor. We also determined the crystal structures of two good inhibitors (P6 (K(D) = 1.7 ± 0.2 μM, K(i) = 1.8 ± 0.4 μM) and PJ34 (K(D) = 5.8 ± 2.6 μM, K(i) = 9.6 ± 0.3 μM)) in complex with Certhrax. As with other toxins in this family, the phosphate-nicotinamide loop moves toward the NAD(+) binding site with bound inhibitor. These results indicate that Certhrax may be important in the pathogenesis of B. cereus.

  12. Crystal structures of putative phosphoglycerate kinases from B. anthracis> and C. jejuni

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Heping; Filippova, Ekaterina V.; Tkaczuk, Karolina L.; Dworzynski, Piotr; Chruszcz, Maksymilian; Porebski, Przemyslaw J.; Wawrzak, Zdzislaw; Onopriyenko, Olena; Kudritska, Marina; Grimshaw, Sarah; Savchenko, Alexei; Anderson, Wayne F.

    2015-01-01

    Phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) is indispensable during glycolysis for anaerobic glucose degradation and energy generation. Here we present comprehensive structure analysis of two putative PGKs from Bacillus anthracis str. Sterne and Campylobacter jejuni in the context of their structural homologs. They are the first PGKs from pathogenic bacteria reported in the Protein Data Bank. The crystal structure of PGK from Bacillus anthracis str. Sterne (BaPGK) has been determined at 1.68 Å while the structure of PGK from Campylobacter jejuni (CjPGK) has been determined at 2.14 A resolution. The proteins’ monomers are composed of two domains, each containing a Rossmann fold, hinged together by a helix which can be used to adjust the relative position between two domains. It is also shown that apo-forms, of both BaPGK and CjPGK adopt open conformations as compared to the substrate and ATP bound forms of PGK from other species. PMID:22403005

  13. Role of the protective antigen octamer in the molecular mechanism of anthrax lethal toxin stabilization in plasma

    PubMed Central

    Kintzer, Alexander F.; Sterling, Harry J.; Tang, Iok I.; Abdul-Gader, Ali; Miles, Andrew J.; Wallace, B. A.; Williams, Evan R.; Krantz, Bryan A.

    2010-01-01

    Anthrax is caused by strains of Bacillus anthracis that produce two key virulence factors, anthrax toxin (Atx) and a poly-γ-D-glutamic acid capsule. Atx is comprised of three-proteins: protective antigen (PA) and two enzymes, lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF). To disrupt cell function, these components must assemble into holotoxin complexes, which contain either a ring-shaped homooctameric or homoheptameric PA oligomer bound to multiple copies of either LF and/or EF, producing lethal toxin (LT), edema toxin, or mixtures thereof. Once a host cell endocytoses these complexes, PA converts into a membrane-inserted channel that translocates LF and EF into the cytosol. LT may assemble on host cell surfaces or extracellularly in plasma. We show that under physiological conditions in bovine plasma that LT complexes containing heptameric PA aggregate and inactivate more readily than LT complexes containing octameric PA. LT complexes containing octameric PA possess enhanced stability, channel forming activity, and macrophage cytotoxicity relative to those containing heptameric PA. Under physiological conditions, multiple biophysical probes reveal that heptameric PA can prematurely adopt the channel conformation, but octameric PA complexes remain in their soluble prechannel configuration allowing them to resist aggregation and inactivation. We conclude that PA may form an octameric oligomeric state as a means to produce a more stable and active LT complex that may circulate freely in the blood. PMID:20433851

  14. Background frequency of Bacillus species at the Canberra Airport: A 12 month study.

    PubMed

    Gahan, Michelle E; Thomas, Rory; Rossi, Rebecca; Nelson, Michelle; Roffey, Paul; Richardson, Michelle M; McNevin, Dennis

    2015-12-01

    Anthrax, caused by Bacillus anthracis, is a naturally occurring disease in Australia. Whilst mainly limited to livestock in grazing regions of Victoria and New South Wales, movement of people, stock and vehicles means B. anthracis could be present outside this region. Of particular interest is the "background" prevalence of B. anthracis at transport hubs including airports. The aim of this study was to determine the background frequency of B. anthracis and the commonly used hoax agent Bacillus thuringiensis at the Canberra Airport over a 12 month period. Samples were collected daily for seven days each month from August 2011-July 2012 and analyzed using species specific real-time polymerase chain reaction. Fourteen samples (of a total of 575) were positive for the B. anthracis PL3 genomic marker, 24 for the cya (pXO1) plasmid marker and five for the capB (pXO2) plasmid marker. Whilst five samples were positive for both PL3 and cya, no samples were positive for all three markers hence there is no evidence to suggest the presence of pathogenic B. anthracis strains. B. anthracis targets were detected primarily in February 2012 and B. thuringiensis peaked in October and November 2011 and again in April and May 2012. This study provides a rapid method to screen for, and differentiate, Bacillus species. Armed with this information investigators will be able to discriminate a "threat" from "background" frequencies should the need arise.

  15. Nitric oxide as a regulator of B. anthracis pathogenicity

    PubMed Central

    Popova, Taissia G.; Teunis, Allison; Vaseghi, Haley; Zhou, Weidong; Espina, Virginia; Liotta, Lance A.; Popov, Serguei G.

    2015-01-01

    Nitric oxide (NO) is a key physiological regulator in eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. It can cause a variety of biological effects by reacting with its targets or/and indirectly inducing oxidative stress. NO can also be produced by bacteria including the pathogenic Bacillus anthracis; however, its role in the infectious process only begins to emerge. NO incapacitates macrophages by S-nitrosylating the intracellular proteins and protects B. anthracis from oxidative stress. It is also implicated in the formation of toxic peroxynitrite. In this study we further assessed the effects of B. anthracis NO produced by the NO synthase (bNOS) on bacterial metabolism and host cells in experiments with the bNOS knockout Sterne strain. The mutation abrogated accumulation of nitrite and nitrate as tracer products of NO in the culture medium and markedly attenuated growth in both aerobic and microaerobic conditions. The regulatory role of NO was also suggested by the abnormally high rate of nitrate denitrification by the mutant in the presence of oxygen. Anaerobic regulation mediated by NO was reflected in reduced fermentation of glucose by the mutant correlating with the reduced toxicity of bacteria toward host cells in culture. The toxic effect of NO required permeabilization of the target cells as well as the activity of fermentation-derived metabolite in the conditions of reduced pH. The host cells demonstrated increased phosphorylation of major survivor protein kinase AKT correlating with reduced toxicity of the mutant in comparison with Sterne. Our global proteomic analysis of lymph from the lymph nodes of infected mice harboring bacteria revealed numerous changes in the pattern and levels of proteins associated with the activity of bNOS influencing key cell physiological processes relevant to energy metabolism, growth, signal transduction, stress response, septic shock, and homeostasis. This is the first in vivo observation of the bacterial NO effect on the lymphatic

  16. On the fate of ingested Bacillus spores.

    PubMed

    Spinosa, M R; Braccini, T; Ricca, E; De Felice, M; Morelli, L; Pozzi, G; Oggioni, M R

    2000-06-01

    Spores of various Bacillus species, including B. subtilis, B. cereus and B. clausii, are used as probiotics, although they are generally absent from the normal microflora of man. We used two nonpathogenic Bacillus species, B. subtilis and B. clausii, to follow the fate of spores inoculated intragastrically in mice. We did not find detectable amounts of vegetative cells in intestinal samples, probably because of high toxicity of the conjugated bile salt taurodeoxycholic acid against Bacillus species. Both spores and cells were detected in the lymph nodes and spleen of one mouse. Our results indicate that Bacillus is present in the intestinal tract solely as spores and that nonpathogenic Bacillus spores may germinate in lymphoid organs, a finding reminiscent of B. anthracis germination in macrophages. These results indicate that any claimed probiotic effect of B. subtilis should be due to spores or, alternatively, to vegetative growth outside the intestine. PMID:10919516