Query: NC_020244:1264500 Bacillus subtilis XF-1, complete genome Lineage: Bacillus subtilis; Bacillus; Bacillaceae; Bacillales; Firmicutes; Bacteria General Information: This organism was one of the first bacteria studied, and was named Vibrio subtilis in 1835 and renamed Bacillus subtilis in 1872. It is one of the most well characterized bacterial organisms, and is a model system for cell differentiation and development. This soil bacterium can divide asymmetrically, producing an endospore that is resistant to environmental factors such as heat, acid, and salt, and which can persist in the environment for long periods of time. The endospore is formed at times of nutritional stress, allowing the organism to persist in the environment until conditions become favorable. Prior to the decision to produce the spore the bacterium might become motile, through the production of flagella, and also take up DNA from the environment through the competence system. The sporulation process is complex and involves the coordinated regulation of hundreds of genes in the genome. This initial step results in the coordinated asymmetric cellular division and endospore formation through multiple stages that produces a single spore from the mother cell.
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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.