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Identification of Distinct Bacillus thuringiensis 4A4 Nematicidal Factors Using the Model Nematodes Pristionchus pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans

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Iatsenko,  I
Department Integrative Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Sommer,  RJ
Department Integrative Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Iatsenko, I., Nikolov, A., & Sommer, R. (2014). Identification of Distinct Bacillus thuringiensis 4A4 Nematicidal Factors Using the Model Nematodes Pristionchus pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans. Toxins, 6(7), 2050-2063. doi:10.3390/toxins6072050.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-A85D-1
Abstract
Bacillus thuringiensis has been extensively used for the biological control of insect pests. Nematicidal B. thuringiensis strains have also been identified; however, virulence factors of such strains are poorly investigated. Here, we describe virulence factors of the nematicidal B. thuringiensis 4A4 strain, using the model nematodes Pristionchus pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that B. thuringiensis 4A4 kills both nematodes via intestinal damage. Whole genome sequencing of B. thuringiensis 4A4 identified Cry21Ha, Cry1Ba, Vip1/Vip2 and β-exotoxin as potential nematicidal factors. Only Cry21Ha showed toxicity to C. elegans, while neither Cry nor Vip toxins were active against P. pacificus, when expressed in E. coli. Purified crystals also failed to intoxicate P. pacificus, while autoclaved spore-crystal mixture of B. thuringiensis 4A4 retained toxicity, suggesting that primary β-exotoxin is responsible for P. pacificus killing. In support of this, we found that a β-exotoxin-deficient variant of B. thuringiensis 4A4, generated by plasmid curing lost virulence to the nematodes. Thus, using two model nematodes we revealed virulence factors of the nematicidal strain B. thuringiensis 4A4 and showed the multifactorial nature of its virulence.