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1.  Genetic characterization of trh positive Vibrio spp. isolated from Norway 
The thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) and/or TDH-related hemolysin (TRH) genes are carried by most virulent Vibrio parahaemolyticus serovars. In Norway, trh+ V. parahaemolyticus constitute 4.4 and 4.5% of the total number of V. parahaemolyticus isolated from blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and water, respectively. The trh gene is located in a region close to the gene cluster for urease production (ure). This region was characterized in V. parahaemolyticus strain TH3996 and it was found that a nickel transport operon (nik) was located between the first gene (ureR) and the rest of the ure cluster genes. The organization of the trh-ureR-nik-ure gene cluster in the Norwegian trh+ isolates was unknown. In this study, we explore the gene organization within the trh-ureR-nik-ure cluster for these isolates. PCR analyses revealed that the genes within the trh-ureR-nik-ure gene cluster of Norwegian trh+ isolates were organized in a similar fashion as reported previously for TH33996. Additionally, the phylogenetic relationship among these trh+ isolates was investigated using Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST). Analysis by MLST or ureR-trh sequences generated two different phylogenetic trees for the same strains analyzed, suggesting that ureR-trh genes have been acquired at different times in Norwegian V. parahaemolyticus isolates. MLST results revealed that some pathogenic and non-pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus isolates in Norway appear to be highly genetically related.
PMCID: PMC3872308  PMID: 24400227
tdh; trh; V. parahaemolyticus; V. alginolyticus; MLST; urease; Vibrio; PCR
2.  Genotyping of B. licheniformis based on a novel multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) scheme 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:230.
Bacillus licheniformis has for many years been used in the industrial production of enzymes, antibiotics and detergents. However, as a producer of dormant heat-resistant endospores B. licheniformis might contaminate semi-preserved foods. The aim of this study was to establish a robust and novel genotyping scheme for B. licheniformis in order to reveal the evolutionary history of 53 strains of this species. Furthermore, the genotyping scheme was also investigated for its use to detect food-contaminating strains.
A multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) scheme, based on the sequence of six house-keeping genes (adk, ccpA, recF, rpoB, spo0A and sucC) of 53 B. licheniformis strains from different sources was established. The result of the MLST analysis supported previous findings of two different subgroups (lineages) within this species, named “A” and “B” Statistical analysis of the MLST data indicated a higher rate of recombination within group “A”. Food isolates were widely dispersed in the MLST tree and could not be distinguished from the other strains. However, the food contaminating strain B. licheniformis NVH1032, represented by a unique sequence type (ST8), was distantly related to all other strains.
In this study, a novel and robust genotyping scheme for B. licheniformis was established, separating the species into two subgroups. This scheme could be used for further studies of evolution and population genetics in B. licheniformis.
PMCID: PMC3492095  PMID: 23051848
3.  Transcriptional Responses of Bacillus cereus towards Challenges with the Polysaccharide Chitosan 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24304.
The antibacterial activity of the polysaccharide chitosan towards different bacterial species has been extensively documented. The response mechanisms of bacteria exposed to this biopolymer and the exact molecular mechanism of action, however, have hardly been investigated. This paper reports the transcriptome profiling using DNA microarrays of the type-strain of Bacillus cereus (ATCC 14579) exposed to subinhibitory concentrations of two water-soluble chitosan preparations with defined chemical characteristics (molecular weight and degree of acetylation (FA)). The expression of 104 genes was significantly altered upon chitosan A (weight average molecular weight (Mw) 36.0 kDa, FA = 0.01) exposure and 55 genes when treated with chitosan B (Mw 28.4 kDa, FA = 0.16). Several of these genes are involved in ion transport, especially potassium influx (BC0753-BC0756). Upregulation of a potassium transporting system coincides with previous studies showing a permeabilizing effect on bacterial cells of this polymer with subsequent loss of potassium. Quantitative PCR confirmed the upregulation of the BC0753 gene encoding the K+-transporting ATPase subunit A. A markerless gene replacement method was used to construct a mutant strain deficient of genes encoding an ATP-driven K+ transport system (Kdp) and the KdpD sensor protein. Growth of this mutant strain in potassium limiting conditions and under salt stress did not affect the growth pattern or growth yield compared to the wild-type strain. The necessity of the Kdp system for potassium acquisition in B. cereus is therefore questionable. Genes involved in the metabolism of arginine, proline and other cellular constituents, in addition to genes involved in the gluconeogenesis, were also significantly affected. BC2798 encoding a chitin binding protein was significantly downregulated due to chitosan exposure. This study provides insight into the response mechanisms of B. cereus to chitosan treatment and the significance of the Kdp system in potassium influx under challenging conditions.
PMCID: PMC3169574  PMID: 21931677
4.  Formation of Very Large Conductance Channels by Bacillus cereus Nhe in Vero and GH4 Cells Identifies NheA + B as the Inherent Pore-Forming Structure 
The nonhemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe) produced by Bacillus cereus is a pore-forming toxin consisting of three components, NheA, -B and -C. We have studied effects of Nhe on primate epithelial cells (Vero) and rodent pituitary cells (GH4) by measuring release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), K+ efflux and the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). Plasma membrane channel events were monitored by patch-clamp recordings. Using strains of B. cereus lacking either NheA or -C, we examined the functional role of the various components. In both cell types, NheA + B + C induced release of LDH and K+ as well as Ca2+ influx. A specific monoclonal antibody against NheB abolished LDH release and elevation of [Ca2+]i. Exposure to NheA + B caused a similar K+ efflux and elevation of [Ca2+]i as NheA + B + C in GH4 cells, whereas in Vero cells the rate of K+ efflux was reduced by 50% and [Ca2+]i was unaffected. NheB + C had no effect on either cell type. Exposure to NheA + B + C induced large-conductance steps in both cell types, and similar channel insertions were observed in GH4 cells exposed to NheA + B. In Vero cells, NheA + B induced channels of much smaller conductance. NheB + C failed to insert membrane channels. The conductance of the large channels in GH4 cells was about 10 nS. This is the largest channel conductance reported in cell membranes under quasi-physiological conditions. In conclusion, NheA and NheB are necessary and sufficient for formation of large-conductance channels in GH4 cells, whereas in Vero cells such large-conductance channels are in addition dependent on NheC.
PMCID: PMC2947714  PMID: 20821199
Bacillus cereus; Pore-forming toxin; Nonhemolytic enterotoxin; Large-conductance channel; Vero cell; GH4 cell

Results 1-4 (4)