Diversity of the Rap–Phr quorum-sensing systems in the Bacillus cereus group - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Current Genetics Year : 2019

Diversity of the Rap–Phr quorum-sensing systems in the Bacillus cereus group


Bacteria of the Bacillus cereus group colonize several ecological niches and infect different hosts. Bacillus cereus, a ubiquitous species causing food poisoning, Bacillus thuringiensis, an entomopathogen, and Bacillus anthracis, which is highly pathogenic to mammals, are the most important species of this group. These species are closely related genetically, and their specific toxins are encoded by plasmids. The infectious cycle of B. thuringiensis in its insect host is regulated by quorum-sensing systems from the RNPP family. Among them, the Rap-Phr systems, which are well-described in Bacillus subtilis, regulate essential processes, such as sporulation. Given the importance of these systems, we performed a global in silico analysis to investigate their prevalence, distribution, diversity and their role in sporulation in B. cereus group species. The rap-phr genes were identified in all selected strains with 30% located on plasmids, predominantly in B. thuringiensis. Despite a high variability in their sequences, there is a remarkable association between closely related strains and their Rap-Phr profile. Based on the key residues involved in RapH phosphatase activity, we predicted that 32% of the Rap proteins could regulate sporulation by preventing the phosphorylation of Spo0F. These Rap are preferentially located on plasmids and mostly related to B. thuringiensis. The predictions were partially validated by in vivo sporulation experiments suggesting that the residues linked to the phosphatase function are necessary but not sufficient to predict this activity. The wide distribution and diversity of Rap-Phr systems could strictly control the commitment to sporulation and then improve the adaptation capacities of the bacteria to environmental changes.
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Dates and versions

hal-02625540 , version 1 (17-11-2023)



Priscilla de F. Cardoso, Stephane Perchat, Laurival A. Vilas-Boas, Didier Lereclus, Gislayne T. Vilas-Bôas. Diversity of the Rap–Phr quorum-sensing systems in the Bacillus cereus group. Current Genetics, 2019, ⟨10.1007/s00294-019-00993-9⟩. ⟨hal-02625540⟩
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