Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2012) 78, 4795-4801

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Weixing Ye, Lei Zhu, Yingying Liu, Neil Crickmore, Donghai Peng, Lifang Ruan and Ming Sun (2012)
Mining new crystal protein genes from Bacillus thuringiensis on the basis of mixed plasmid-enriched genome sequencing and a computational pipeline
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78 (14), 4795-4801
Abstract: We have designed a high-throughput system for the identification of novel crystal protein genes (cry) from Bacillus thuringiensis strains. The system was developed with two goals: (i) to acquire the mixed plasmid-enriched genomic sequence of B. thuringiensis using next-generation sequencing biotechnology, and (ii) to identify cry genes with a computational pipeline (using BtToxin_scanner). In our pipeline method, we employed three different kinds of well-developed prediction methods, BLAST, hidden Markov model (HMM), and support vector machine (SVM), to predict the presence of Cry toxin genes. The pipeline proved to be fast (average speed, 1.02 Mb/min for proteins and open reading frames [ORFs] and 1.80 Mb/min for nucleotide sequences), sensitive (it detected 40% more protein toxin genes than a keyword extraction method using genomic sequences downloaded from GenBank), and highly specific. Twenty-one strains from our laboratory's collection were selected based on their plasmid pattern and/or crystal morphology. The plasmid-enriched genomic DNA was extracted from these strains and mixed for Illumina sequencing. The sequencing data were de novo assembled, and a total of 113 candidate cry sequences were identified using the computational pipeline. Twenty-seven candidate sequences were selected on the basis of their low level of sequence identity to known cry genes, and eight full-length genes were obtained with PCR. Finally, three new cry-type genes (primary ranks) and five cry holotypes, which were designated cry8Ac1, cry7Ha1, cry21Ca1, cry32Fa1, and cry21Da1 by the B. thuringiensis Toxin Nomenclature Committee, were identified. The system described here is both efficient and cost-effective and can greatly accelerate the discovery of novel cry genes.
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Database assignments for author(s): Ming Sun

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
molecular biology - genes

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Bacillus thuringiensis Cry8A-toxin (entomopathogen)