Molecular and Genomic Characterization of PFAB2: A Non-virulent Bacillus anthracis Strain Isolated from an Indian Hot Spring

Author(s): Aparna Banerjee, Vikas K. Somani, Priyanka Chakraborty, Rakesh Bhatnagar, Rajeev K. Varshney, Alex Echeverría-Vega, Sara Cuadros-Orellana, Rajib Bandopadhyay*

Journal Name: Current Genomics

Volume 20 , Issue 7 , 2019


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Graphical Abstract:


Abstract:

Background: Thermophilic bacilli in both aerobic or facultative anaerobic forms have been isolated for over a hundred years from different mesophilic or thermophilic environments as they are potential source of bioactive secondary metabolites. But the taxonomic resolution in the Bacillus genus at species or at strain level is very challenging for the insufficient divergence of the 16S rRNA genes. One such recurring problem is among Bacillus anthracis, B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. The disease-causing B. anthracis strains have their characteristic virulence factors coded in two wellknown plasmids, namely pXO1 (toxin genes) and pXO2 (capsule genes).

Objective: The present study aimed at the molecular and genomic characterization of a recently reported thermophilic and environmental isolate of B. anthracis, strain PFAB2.

Methods: We performed comparative genomics between the PFAB2 genome and different strains of B. anthracis, along with closely related B. cereus strains.

Results: The pangenomic analysis suggests that the PFAB2 genome harbors no complete prophage genes. Cluster analysis of Bray-Kurtis similarity resemblance matrix revealed that gene content of PFAB2 is more closely related to other environmental strains of B. anthracis. The secretome analysis and the in vitro and in vivo pathogenesis experiments corroborate the avirulent phenotype of this strain. The most probable explanation for this phenotype is the apparent absence of plasmids harboring genes for capsule biosynthesis and toxins secretion in the draft genome. Additional features of PFAB2 are good spore-forming and germinating capabilities and rapid replication ability.

Conclusion: The high replication rate in a wide range of temperatures and culture media, the nonpathogenicity, the good spore forming capability and its genomic similarity to the Ames strain together make PFAB2 an interesting model strain for the study of the pathogenic evolution of B. anthracis.

Keywords: Bacillus anthracis, avirulence, comparative genomics, pangenomics, pathogenesis, secretome analysis.

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[http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.66.6.2627-2630.2000] [PMID: 10831447]
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Dai, Z.; Koehler, T.M. Regulation of anthrax toxin activator gene (atxA) expression in Bacillus anthracis: temperature, not CO2/bicarbonate, affects AtxA synthesis. Infect. Immun., 1997, 65(7), 2576-2582.
[PMID: 9199422]
[9]
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[http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.69.5.2755-2764.2003] [PMID: 12732546]
[10]
Venkateswaran, K.; Checinska Sielaff, A.; Ratnayake, S.; Pope, R.K.; Blank, T.E.; Stepanov, V.G.; Fox, G.E.; van Tongeren, S.P.; Torres, C.; Allen, J.; Jaing, C.; Pierson, D.; Perry, J.; Koren, S.; Phillippy, A.; Klubnik, J.; Treangen, T.J.; Rosovitz, M.J.; Bergman, N.H. Draft Genome sequences from a novel clade of Bacillus cereus Sensu Lato strains, isolated from the international space station. Genome Announc., 2017, 5(32), e00680-e17.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/genomeA.00680-17] [PMID: 28798168]
[11]
Venkateswaran, K.; Singh, N.K.; Checinska Sielaff, A.; Pope, R.K.; Bergman, N.H.; van Tongeren, S.P.; Patel, N.B.; Lawson, P.A.; Satomi, M.; Williamson, C.H.D.; Sahl, J.W.; Keim, P.; Pierson, D.; Perry, J. Non-toxin-producing Bacillus cereus strains belonging to the B. anthracis clade isolated from the International Space Station. mSystems, 2017, 2(3), e00021-e17.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00021-17] [PMID: 28680972]
[12]
Guimarães, L.C.; Florczak-Wyspianska, J.; de Jesus, L.B.; Viana, M.V.; Silva, A.; Ramos, R.T. Soares, Sde.C.; Soares, Sde.C. Inside the pan-genome-methods and software overview. Curr. Genomics, 2015, 16(4), 245-252.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1389202916666150423002311] [PMID: 27006628]
[13]
Banerjee, A.; Halder, U.; Chaudhry, V.; Varshney, R.K.; Mantri, S.; Bandopadhyay, R. Draft genome sequence of the nonpathogenic, thermotolerant, and exopolysaccharide-producing Bacillus anthracis strain PFAB2 from Panifala hot water spring in West Bengal, India. Genome Announc., 2016, 4(6), e01346-e16.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/genomeA.01346-16] [PMID: 28007848]
[14]
Banerjee, A.; Rudra, S.G.; Mazumder, K.; Nigam, V.; Bandopadhyay, R. Structural and functional properties of exopolysaccharide excreted by a novel Bacillus anthracis (Strain PFAB2) of hot spring origin. Indian J. Microbiol., 2018, 58(1), 39-50.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12088-017-0699-4] [PMID: 29434396]
[15]
Kumari, B.; Lohar, S.; Ghosh, M.; Ta, S.; Sengupta, A.; Banerjee, P.P.; Chattopadhyay, A.; Das, D. Structurally characterized Zn2+ selective ratiometric fluorescence probe in 100% water for hela cell imaging: experimental and computational studies. J. Fluoresc., 2016, 26(1), 87-103.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10895-015-1688-9] [PMID: 26482592]
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Dey, U.; Chatterjee, S.; Mondal, N.K. Isolation and characterization of arsenic-resistant bacteria and possible application in bioremediation. Biotechnol. Rep. (Amst.), 2016, 10, 1-7.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.btre.2016.02.002] [PMID: 28352518]
[18]
Mikesell, P.; Ivins, B.E.; Ristroph, J.D.; Dreier, T.M. Evidence for plasmid-mediated toxin production in Bacillus anthracis. Infect. Immun., 1983, 39(1), 371-376.
[PMID: 6401695]
[19]
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VOLUME: 20
ISSUE: 7
Year: 2019
Published on: 01 January, 2020
Page: [491 - 507]
Pages: 17
DOI: 10.2174/1389202920666191203121610
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