Cloning and partial characterization of zwittermicin A resistance gene cluster from Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki strain HD1.

Research paper by J R JR Nair, G G Narasimman, V V Sekar

Indexed on: 30 Jul '04Published on: 30 Jul '04Published in: Journal of Applied Microbiology


The study seeks to shed light on the aminopolyol, broad-spectrum antibiotic zwittermicin A gene cluster of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD1 and to identify any new uncharacterized genes with an eventual goal to establish a better understanding of the resistance gene cluster.We screened 51 serovars of B. thuringiensis by PCR and identified 12 zmaR-positive strains. The zmaR-positive B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD1 strain displayed inhibition zones against indicator fungal strain Phytophthora meadii and bacterial strain Erwinia herbicola as well as against Rhizopus sp., Xanthomonas campestris and B. thuringiensis subsp. finitimus. The zmaR gene cluster of strain HD1 was partially cloned using a lambda library and was extensively characterized based on the information available from a study performed on a similar group of genes in Bacillus cereus.Three of the five genes in the zwittermicin gene cluster, including the zmaR gene, had counterparts in B. cereus, and the other two were new members of the B. thuringiensis zmaR gene cluster.The two new genes were extensively analysed and the data is presented. Understanding antifungal activity of B. thuringiensis may help us to design suitable Cry toxin delivery agents with antifungal activity as well as enhanced insecticidal activity.