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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Feb;35(2):83-94. Epub 2007 Nov 13.

Distribution and diversity of Dipteran-specific cry and cyt genes in native Bacillus thuringiensis strains obtained from different ecosystems of Iran.

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Department of Microbial Biotechnology and Biosafety, Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII), Mahdasht Road, 21525-1897, Karaj, Iran.


One hundred and twenty-eight Bacillus thuringiensis isolates from fields of different ecological regions of Iran were collected to study the distribution and diversity of Dipteran-specific cry and cyt genes. The percentage of samples with Bt showed significant differences between different regions and also between different fields. The most Bt frequency was observed in the soil samples collected from Caspianic zone (7%) and soils of cotton (17%). Characterization of isolates was based on morphological characteristics of crystals, plasmid profiles and protein band patterns as well as PCR analysis using general and specific primers for 22 different cry and cyt genes encoding proteins active against mosquitoes. Thirty-eight different cry gene profiles were detected in this collection. Several of them were found to be different from all previously published profiles and none of the previous researches reported these numbers of profiles. Strains containing cry2-type genes were the most abundant and represent 57.1% of the isolates. Strains harboring cry24 and cry10 genes were also highly abundant (38.7 and 32.8%, respectively). cry11, cry4, cry17, cry19, cry21, cry29, cyt1, and cry9 genes were less abundant, found in 25.7, 14.3, 11.4, 1.4, 4.3, 1.4, and 10% of the strains, respectively. Among the cry2 gene containing isolates, 37.5% strains harbored cry2Aa, 55% cry2Ab, 2.5% cry2Ac, and 5% other or novel cry2-type genes. Among the cry4 gene containing isolates, 0% strains harbored cry4A, 60% cry4B, and 40% cry4C, cry4D or novel cry4 type genes. Finally, based on crystal morphology, protein patterns and PCR, 21 strains were selected as potentially high Dipteran-active for bioassays. Also our results showed that some of the isolates may harbor minimum a putative novel cry gene.

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