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J Microbiol Methods. 2006 Jun;65(3):488-502. Epub 2005 Oct 20.

Microarray analysis of Bacillus cereus group virulence factors.

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FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, USA.


Bacillus cereus, B. thuringiensis and B. anthracis are closely related medically and economically important bacterial species that belong to the B. cereus group. Members of the B. cereus group carry genes encoding several important virulence factors, including enterotoxins, phospholipases and exotoxins. Since it is difficult to differentiate among B. cereus group members, and because Bacillus virulence factors are very important for pathogenesis, we explored the use of microarray-based detection of virulence factor genes as a tool for strain identification and for determining virulence. Our method requires an initial multiplex PCR amplification step, followed by identification of the PCR amplicons by hybridization to an oligonucleotide microarray containing genes for all three types of Bacillus virulence factors including B. anthracis virulence factors. The DNA chip described here contains 21 identical arrays used for analysis of seven samples in triplicates. Using the arrays, we found that virulence factors are present in several combinations in the strains analyzed. This work also demonstrates the potential of oligonucleotide microarrays for medical, food safety and biodefense analysis of microbial pathogens.

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