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Journal Articles Research in Microbiology Year : 2023

Modeling gastrointestinal anthrax disease

So Young Oh
  • Function : Author
Derek Elli
  • Function : Author
Haley Gula
Olaf Schneewind
  • Function : Author
Dominique Missiakas


Bacillus anthracis is a spore-forming microbe that persists in soil and causes anthrax disease. The most natural route of infection is ingestion by grazing animals. Gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax also occurs in their monogastric predators, including humans. Exposure of carcasses to oxygen triggers sporulation and contamination of the surrounding soil completing the unusual life cycle of this microbe. The pathogenesis of GI anthrax is poorly characterized. Here, we use B. anthracis carrying the virulence plasmids pXO1 and pXO2, to model gastrointestinal disease in Guinea pigs and mice. We find that spores germinate in the GI tract and precipitate disease in a dose-dependent manner. Inoculation of vegetative bacilli also results in GI anthrax. Virulence is impacted severely by the loss of capsule (pXO2-encoded) but only moderately in absence of toxins (pXO1-encoded). Nonetheless, the lack of toxins leads to reduced bacterial replication in infected hosts. B. cereus Elc4, a strain isolated from a fatal case of inhalational anthrax-like disease, was also found to cause GI anthrax. Because transmission to new hosts depends on the release of large numbers of spores in the environment, we propose that the acquisition of pXO1-and pXO2-like plasmids may promote the successful expansion of members of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group able to cause anthrax-like disease.0 2023 Institut Pasteur. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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Dates and versions

hal-04199881 , version 1 (08-09-2023)



So Young Oh, Alice Château, Anastasia Tomatsidou, Derek Elli, Haley Gula, et al.. Modeling gastrointestinal anthrax disease. Research in Microbiology, 2023, 174 (6), pp.104026. ⟨10.1016/j.resmic.2023.104026⟩. ⟨hal-04199881⟩
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