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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Apr 11;303(3):855-62.

Anaerobic induction of Bacillus anthracis hemolytic activity.

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  • 1Advanced Biosystems, Inc., 10900 University Boulevard, Manassas, VA 20110, USA.

Abstract

A number of genes in Bacillus anthracis encode for proteins homologous to the membrane-damaging factors known as pathogenic determinants in different bacteria. B. anthracis, however, has been traditionally considered non-hemolytic, and the recently identified hemolytic genes have been suggested to be transcriptionally silent. We found that the hemolytic genes of B. anthracis, collectively designated as anthralysins (Anls), could be induced in strict anaerobic conditions. We also demonstrate that Anl genes are expressed at the early stages of infection within macrophages by vegetating bacilli after spore germination. Cooperative and synergistic enhancement of the pore-forming and phospholipase C (PLC) activities of the Anls was found in hemolytic tests on human, but not sheep, red blood cells (RBC). These findings imply Anls as B. anthracis pathogenic determinants and highlight oxygen limitation as environmental factor controlling their expression at both early and late stages of infection.

PMID:
12670489
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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