Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Microbiol. 2011 Apr;80(2):455-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07582.x. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Two capsular polysaccharides enable Bacillus cereus G9241 to cause anthrax-like disease.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Bacillus cereus G9241 causes an anthrax-like respiratory illness in humans; however, the molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis are not known. Genome sequencing identified two putative virulence plasmids proposed to provide for anthrax toxin (pBCXO1) and/or capsule expression (pBC218). We report here that B. cereus G9241 causes anthrax-like disease in immune-competent mice, which is dependent on each of the two virulence plasmids. pBCXO1 encodes pagA1, the homologue of anthrax protective antigen, as well as hasACB, providing for hyaluronic acid capsule formation, two traits that each contribute to disease pathogenesis. pBC218 harbours bpsX-H, B. cereus exo-polysaccharide, which produce a second capsule. During infection, B. cereus G9241 elaborates both hasACB and bpsX-H capsules, which together are essential for the establishment of anthrax-like disease and the resistance of bacilli to phagocytosis. A single nucleotide deletion causes premature termination of hasA translation in Bacillus anthracis, which is known to escape phagocytic killing by its pXO2 encoded poly-d-γ-glutamic acid (PDGA) capsule. Thus, multiple different gene clusters endow pathogenic bacilli with capsular material, provide for escape from innate host immune responses and aid in establishing the pathogenesis of anthrax-like disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center