Role of plasmids of Bacillus cereus group in insect larvae

Abstract : Bacillus cereus (Bc) and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are two closely related species. Bc is a pathogenic species responsible for gastroenteritis by food-borne. Bt is an entomopathogenic bacterium, which the lifecycle in insect larvae is controlled by quorum sensing systems, such as Rap/Phr, which regulates processes such as sporulation, biofilm formation and conjugation. The presence of these genes in plasmids has been described, furthermore, plasmids have been involved in bacterial adaptation to their ecological niche. In order to understand the role of the plasmids to these species, two complementary works were carried out. First, insect larvae, a privileged ecological niche of Bt strains, were infected with Bc and Bt strains harboring different plasmid contents. Their fitness were evaluated by vegetative cells and spore counts at four time points. Bt and Bc strains were classified into five groups according to the bacterial fitness. In these groups, the plasmid affects positively or negatively the bacterial fitness. The results demonstrated that for B. cereus group strains, getting a pathogenicity plasmid is not enough to effectively increase bacterial population, colonizing insect hosts. The second study characterized the rap/phr system encoded by the cryptic plasmid pHT8_1. The Rap8 protein inhibited the sporulation process in insect larvae. This protein was directly inhibited by the active signaling peptide Phr8. The Rap8/Phr8 system may allow the bacteria to exert a tight control of the sporulation process in the host cadaver for optimizing the multiplication, the survival and the dissemination of the bacteria. Thus, the results of the second study showed that the plasmids can provide advantages for the adaptation and the evolution of B. thuringiensis in its ecological niche, while the results of the first study indicate that B. cereus group strains must have a suitable genetic background to display a high fitness allowing optimal multiplication and dissemination of the bacterial population within insect larvae.
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Fernanda Pires Fazion. Role of plasmids of Bacillus cereus group in insect larvae. Microbiology and Parasitology. Institut agronomique, vétérinaire et forestier de France; Universidade Estadual de Londrina (Paraná, Brésil), 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017IAVF0005⟩. ⟨tel-02168396⟩

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