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Distribution of Genes Encoding Putative Virulence Factors and Fragment Length Polymorphisms in the vrrA Gene among Brazilian Isolates of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis

Zahner, Viviane, Cabral, Diana Aparecida, Régua-Mangia, Adriana Hamond, Rabinovitch, Leon, Moreau, Gaétan, McIntosh, Douglas
Applied and environmental microbiology 2005 v.71 no.12 pp. 8107-8114
Bacillus cereus, Bacillus thuringiensis, strains, isolation, food contamination, bacterial contamination, bacterial infections, human diseases, soil bacteria, insect diseases, entomopathogenic bacteria, virulence, genes, genetic polymorphism, bacterial toxins, insecticidal proteins, taxonomy, molecular systematics, Brazil
One hundred twenty-one strains of the Bacillus cereus complex, of which 80 were isolated from a variety of sources in Brazil, were screened by PCR for the presence of sequences (bceT, hblA, nheBC, plc, sph, and vip3A) encoding putative virulence factors and for polymorphisms in variable-number tandem repeats (VNTR), using a variable region of the vrrA open reading frame as the target. Amplicons were generated from isolates of B. cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis for each of the sequences encoding factors suggested to play a role in infections of mammals. Intriguingly, the majority of these sequences were detected more frequently in Bacillus thuringiensis than in B. cereus. The vip3A sequence, which encodes an insecticidal toxin, was detected exclusively in B. thuringiensis. VNTR analysis demonstrated the presence of five different fragment length categories in both species, with two of these being widely distributed throughout both taxa. In common with data generated from previous studies examining European, Asian, or North American populations, our investigation of Brazilian isolates supports the notion that B. cereus and B. thuringiensis should be considered to represent a single species.