Query: NC_012659:3724729 Bacillus anthracis str. A0248, complete genome Lineage: Bacillus anthracis; Bacillus; Bacillaceae; Bacillales; Firmicutes; Bacteria General Information: This strain (96-10355; K1256) is a human isolated from USA. This organism was the first to be shown to cause disease by Dr. Robert Koch, leading to the formulation of Koch's postulates, which were verified by Dr. Louis Pasteur (the organism, isolated from sick animals, was grown in the laboratory and then used to infect healthy animals and make them sick). This organism was also the first for which an attenuated strain was developed as a vaccine. Herbivorous animals become infected with the organism when they ingest spores from the soil whereas humans become infected when they come into contact with a contaminated animal. Anthrax is not transmitted due to person-to-person contact. The three forms of the disease reflect the sites of infection which include cutaneous (skin), pulmonary (lung), and intestinal. Pulmonary and intestinal infections are often fatal if left untreated. Spores are taken up by macrophages and become internalized into phagolysozomes (membranous compartment) whereupon germination initiates. Bacteria are released into the bloodstream once the infected macrophage lyses whereupon they rapidly multiply, spreading throughout the circulatory and lymphatic systems, a process that results in septic shock, respiratory distress and organ failure. The spores of this pathogen have been used as a terror weapon.
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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.