Query: NC_008369:1702885 Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica OSU18, complete genome Lineage: Francisella tularensis; Francisella; Francisellaceae; Thiotrichales; Proteobacteria; Bacteria General Information: Isolated from a beaver that died of tularemia in Oklahoma in 1978. Causative agent of tularemia. This organism was first identified by Edward Francis as the causative agent of a plague-like illness that affected squirrels in Tulare county in California in the early part of the 20th century. The organism now bears his name. The disease, which has been noted throughout recorded history, can be transmitted to humans by infected ticks or deerflies, infected meat, or by aerosol, and thus is a potential bioterrorism agent. This organism has a high infectivity rate, and can invade phagocytic and nonphagocytic cells, multiplying rapidly. Once within a macrophage, the organism can escape the phagosome and live in the cytosol. It is an aquatic organism, and can be found living inside protozoans, similar to what is observed with Legionella.
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General Information: Produces insect toxin. This organism, also known as BT, is famous for the production of an insecticidal toxin. The bacterium was initially discovered as a pathogen of various insects and was first used as an insecticidal agent in the early part of this century. This organism, like many other Bacilli, is found in the soil, where it leads a saprophytic existence, but becomes an opportunistic pathogen of insects when ingested. The specific activity of the toxin towards insects and its lack of toxicity to animals has made this organism a useful biocontrol agent. The delta-endotoxin, which is produced during the sporulation part of the life cycle, causes midgut paralysis and disruption of feeding by the infected insect host. The delta-endotoxin, which is produced during the sporulation part of the life cycle, causes midgut paralysis and disruption of feeding by the infected insect host. The delta-endotoxin, which is produced during the sporulation part of the life cycle, causes midgut paralysis and disruption of feeding by the infected insect host. The presence of a parasporal crystal, which is outside the exosporium of the endospore, is indicative of production of the toxin, and serves as a marker for this species.Activation of the toxin typically requires a high pH environment such as the alkaline environments in insect midguts followed by proteolysis. Various toxin genes specific for a variety of insects have been studied, and many are now being used in genetically modified plants which have been engineered to produce the toxin themselves, eliminating the need to produce sufficient amounts of B. thuringiensis spores.