Localization of putative virulence genes on a physical map of the bacillus thuringiensis subsp. gelechiae chromosome

Curr Microbiol. 1998 Oct;37(4):245-50. doi: 10.1007/s002849900373.


The insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has earlier been shown to possess virulence factors in addition to the crystal toxins. Bt subsp. gelechiae strain Bt13 lacks crystals but is still virulent to lepidopteran insects. Among the virulence co-expressed genes are two phospholipases; phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) and phosphatidylcholine-degrading phospholipase C (PC-PLC), flagellin, and beta-lactamase I. In addition to these putative virulence factors the toxic neutral metalloprotease immune inhibitor A (InA) has been identified. In this paper we report a circular 5.9 Mb combined physical and genetic map of the of the Bt subsp. gelechiae chromosome. The genes encoding PI-PLC, PC-PLC, InA, flagellin, and beta-lactamase I are shown to be scattered over the chromosome. The PLC-encoding genes have been cloned from Bt13, and DNA sequencing showed that the Bt subsp. gelechiae PLC genes are >90% identical to their previously cloned equivalents from Bt or B. cereus. An HD-1 crystal toxin (cryIA) gene probe was found to hybridize to the Bt13 chromosome, but not to extrachromosomal elements.