Two-dimensional Electrophoresis Analysis of the Extracellular Proteome of Bacillus Cereus Reveals the Importance of the PlcR Regulon

Proteomics. 2002 Jun;2(6):784-91. doi: 10.1002/1615-9861(200206)2:6<784::AID-PROT784>3.0.CO;2-R.


Many virulence factors are secreted by the gram-positive, spore forming bacterium Bacillus cereus. Most of them are regulated by the transcriptional activator, PlcR, which is maximally expressed at the beginning of the stationary phase. We used a proteomic approach to study the impact of the PlcR regulon on the secreted proteins of B. cereus, by comparing the extracellular proteomes of strains ATCC 14579 and ATCC 14579 Delta plcR, in which plcR has been disrupted. Our study indicated that, quantitatively, most of the proteins secreted at the onset of the stationary phase are putative virulence factors, all of which are regulated, directly or indirectly, by PlcR. The inactivation of plcR abolished the secretion of some of these virulence factors, and strongly decreased that of others. The genes encoding proteins that are not secreted in the DeltaplcR mutant possessed a regulatory sequence, the PlcR box, upstream from their coding sequence. These proteins include collagenase, phospholipases, haemolysins, proteases and enterotoxins. Proteins for which the secretion was strongly decreased, but not abolished, in the DeltaplcR mutant did not display the PlcR box upstream from their genes. These proteins include flagellins and InhA2. InhA2 is a homologue of InhA, a Bacillus thuringiensis metalloprotease that specifically degrades antibacterial peptides. The mechanism by which PlcR affects the production of flagellins and InhA2 is not known.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus cereus / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Cell Division
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional / methods*
  • Mutation
  • Proteome / chemistry*
  • Time Factors
  • Trans-Activators / chemistry*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • PlcR protein, Bacillus
  • Proteome
  • Trans-Activators