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Discovery of crystalline inclusions in Bacillus licheniformis that resemble parasporal crystals of Bacillus thuringiensis

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Crystalline inclusions were discovered in stationary and sporulating cells of the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus licheniformis ATCC 9945a. As detected by electron microscopy, dying or sporulating bacterial cells contain a single crystal of strikingly large size. The crystals in sporulating cells are located next to nascent spores and can be several times larger than the spores. Morphologically, most crystals are rhomboid with uniformly spaced grids. These newly discovered crystalline inclusions of B.licheniformis closely resemble parasporal crystals of Bacillus thuringiensis that are formed by insecticidal toxin proteins and used widely as biopesticides. The taxonomic identity of this strain was verified by its 16S rRNA gene sequence and its fatty acid profile. The finding of crystal proteins in B.licheniformis may lead to the discovery of new protein toxins and may expand our pool of biopesticides.

Des inclusions cristallines ont été découvertes dans les cellules stationnaires et en sporulation de la bactérie sporifère Bacillus licheniformis ATCC 9945a. Tel que détecté en microscopie électronique, les cellules bactériennes mourantes ou en sporulation contiennent un seul cristal d’une taille étonnamment grande. Les cristaux des cellules en sporulation sont localisés à proximité des spores naissantes et peuvent être plusieurs fois plus gros que les spores. Morphologiquement, la plupart des cristaux sont des rhomboïdes dont les grilles sont uniformément espacées. Ces inclusions cristallines de B.licheniformis nouvellement découvertes ressemblent fortement aux cristaux para-sporaux de Bacillus thuringiensis qui sont formés de protéines toxiques insecticides largement utilisées comme bio-pesticide. L’identité taxonomique de cette souche a été vérifiée par la séquence du gène codant l’ARNr 16S et par son profile en acides gras. La mise en évidence de ces protéines cristallines chez B.licheniformis pourrait conduire à la découverte de nouvelles protéines toxiques et pourrait élargir notre pool de bio-pesticides.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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