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''Bacillus subtilis'' 1

Bacillus subtilis
Bacillus subtilis

TEM micrograph of a B. subtilis cell in cross-section (scale bar =

200 nm).
Scientific classification

Domain: Bacteria

Phylum: Firmicutes

Class: Bacilli

Order: Bacillales

Family: Bacillaceae

Genus: Bacillus

Species: B. subtilis

Binomial name

Bacillus subtilis
(Ehrenberg 1835)
Cohn 1872


• Vibrio subtilis
[1] [2]
• Bacillus globigii

Bacillus subtilis, known as the hay bacillus or grass bacillus, is a

Gram-positive, catalase-positive bacterium commonly found in soil.[3]
A member of the genus Bacillus, B. subtilis is rod-shaped, and has the
ability to form a tough, protective endospore, allowing the organism to
tolerate extreme environmental conditions. Unlike several other
well-known species, B. subtilis has historically been classified as an
obligate aerobe, though recent research has demonstrated that this is
not strictly correct.[4]

Gram-stained Bacillus subtilis

''Bacillus subtilis'' 2

B. subtilis is not a human pathogen. It may contaminate food but rarely
causes food poisoning.[5] B. subtilis produces the proteolytic enzyme
subtilisin. B. subtilis spores can survive the extreme heat during
cooking. B. subtilis is responsible for causing ropiness — a sticky,
stringy consistency caused by bacterial production of long-chain
polysaccharides — in spoiled bread dough.

Sporulating Bacillus subtilis

B. subtilis can divide symmetrically to make two daughter cells (binary fission), or asymmetrically, producing a
single endospore that is resistant to environmental factors such as heat, acid, and salt, and which can persist in the
environment for long periods of time. The endospore is formed at times of nutritional stress, allowing the organism
to persist in the environment until conditions become favorable. Prior to the process to produce the spore the
bacterium might become motile, through the production of flagella, and also take up DNA from the environment.

Chromosomal replication
B. subtilis is a model organism used to study bacterial chromosome replication. Replication of the single circular
chromosome initiates at a single locus, the origin (oriC). Replication proceeds bidirectionally and two replication
forks progress in clockwise and counterclockwise directions along the chromosome. Chromosome replication is
completed when the forks reach the terminus region, which is positioned opposite to the origin on the chromosome
map. The terminus region contains several short DNA sequences (Ter sites) that promote replication arrest. Specific
proteins mediate all the steps in DNA replication. Comparison between the proteins involved in chromosomal DNA
replication in B. subtilis and in Escherichia coli reveals similarities and differences. Although the basic components
promoting initiation, elongation, and termination of replication are well-conserved, some important differences can
be found (such as one bacterium missing proteins essential in the other). These differences underline the diversity in
the mechanisms and strategies that various bacterial species have adopted to carry out the duplication of their

Model organism
B. subtilis has proven highly amenable to genetic manipulation, and has therefore become widely adopted as a model
organism for laboratory studies, especially of sporulation, which is a simplified example of cellular differentiation. It
is also heavily flagellated, which gives B. subtilis the ability to move quite quickly. In terms of popularity as a
laboratory model organism B. subtilis is often used as the Gram-positive equivalent of Escherichia coli, an
extensively studied Gram-negative rod.
''Bacillus subtilis'' 3

B. subtilis is used as a soil inoculant in horticulture and
agriculture. B. globigii, a closely related but phylogenetically
distinct species [7] [8] was used as a biowarfare simulant during
Project SHAD (aka Project 112).[9].
Enzymes produced by B. subtilis and B. licheniformis are widely
used as additives in laundry detergents.
Its other uses include the following:
• a model organism for laboratory studies
• a strain of B. subtilis formerly known as Bacillus natto is used
in the commercial production of the Japanese food natto, as
well as the similar Korean food cheonggukjang
• B. subtilis strain QST 713 (marketed as QST 713 or Serenade)
has a natural fungicidal activity, and is employed as a Colonies of B. subtilis grown on a culture dish in a
biological control agent molecular biology laboratory.

• popular worldwide before the introduction of consumer

antibiotics as an immunostimulatory agent to aid treatment of gastrointestinal and urinary tract diseases. It is still
widely used in Western Europe and the Middle East as an alternative medicine
• can convert explosives into harmless compounds of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water
• plays a role in safe radionuclide waste [e.g. Thorium (IV) and Plutonium (IV)] disposal with the proton binding
properties of its surfaces
• recombinants B. subtilis str. pBE2C1 and B. subtilis str. pBE2C1AB were used in production of
polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) and that they could use malt waste as carbon source for lower cost of PHA
• used to produce amylase enzyme
• used to produce hyaluronic acid[10] , useful the joint-care sector in healthcare.

B. subtilis has approximately 4,100 genes. Of these, only 192 were shown to be indispensable; another 79 were
predicted to be essential as well. A vast majority of essential genes were categorized in relatively few domains of
cell metabolism, with about half involved in information processing, one-fifth involved in the synthesis of cell
envelope and the determination of cell shape and division, and one-tenth related to cell energetics.
Several non-coding RNAs have been characterised in the B. subtilis genome including Bsr RNAs.[11]

In 1835, the bacterium was originally named Vibrio subtilis by Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg,[12] and renamed
Bacillus subtilis by Ferdinand Cohn in 1872.[13] Cultures of B. subtilis were used throughout the 1950s as an
alternative medicine due to the immunostimulatory effects of its cell matter, which upon digestion has been found to
significantly stimulate broad spectrum immune activity including activation of specific antibody IgM, IgG and IgA
secretion[14] and release of CpG dinucleotides inducing INF A/Y producing activity of leukocytes and cytokines
important in the development of cytotoxicity towards tumor cells.[15] It was marketed throughout America and
Europe from 1946 as an immunostimulatory aid in the treatment of gut and urinary tract diseases such as Rotavirus
and Shigella,[16] but declined in popularity after the introduction of cheap consumer antibiotics, despite causing less
chance of allergic reaction and significantly lower toxicity to normal gut flora.
''Bacillus subtilis'' 4

See also
• Adenylosuccinate Lyase Deficiency
• Guthrie test

[1] Euzéby JP (2008). "Bacillus" (http:/ / www. bacterio. cict. fr/ b/ bacillus. html). List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature. .
Retrieved 2008-11-18.
[2] Ambrosiano N (1999-06-30). "Lab biodetector tests to be safe, public to be well informed" (http:/ / www. lanl. gov/ news/ releases/ archive/
99-101. shtml). Press release. Los Alamos National Labs. . Retrieved 2008-11-18.
[3] Madigan M, Martinko J (editors). (2005). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (11th ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-144329-1.
[4] Nakano MM, Zuber P (1998). "Anaerobic growth of a "strict aerobe" (Bacillus subtilis)". Annu Rev Microbiol 52: 165–90.
doi:10.1146/annurev.micro.52.1.165. PMID 9891797.
[5] Ryan KJ, Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9.
[6] Noirot P (2007). "Replication of the Bacillus subtilis chromosome" (http:/ / www. horizonpress. com/ bac). Bacillus: Cellular and Molecular
Biology (Graumann P, ed.). Caister Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-904455-12-7. .
[7] Nakamura, 1979, Taxonomic relationship of Black-Pigmented Bacillus subtilis strains and a Proposal for Bacillus atrophaeus sp. nov. Int. J.
Syst. Bacteriol. 39(3) 295-300. (http:/ / ijs. sgmjournals. org/ cgi/ content/ abstract/ 39/ 3/ 295)
[8] Burke et al. 2004. Detection of molecular diversity in Bacillus atrophaeus by amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis. Appl.
Environ. Microbiol. 70(5):2786-90 (http:/ / www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ entrez/ query. fcgi?cmd=Retrieve& db=PubMed& dopt=Citation&
[9] http:/ / www1. va. gov/ shad/
[10] http:/ / www. biopharma. novozymes. com/ en/ products---technologies/ hyaluronic-acid/ hyacare. aspx
[11] Saito S, Kakeshita H, Nakamura K (2008). "Novel small RNA-encoding genes in the intergenic regions of Bacillus subtilis.". Gene 428
(1-2): 2–8. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2008.09.024. PMID 18948176.
[12] Ehrenberg CG (1835). Physikalische Abhandlungen der Koeniglichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin aus den Jahren 1833–1835.
pp. 145–336.
[13] Cohn F (1872). "Untersuchungen über Bacterien". Beitr Biol Pflanzen 1(Heft 1): 127–224.
[14] Ciprandi, G., A. Scordamaglia, D. Venuti, M. Caria, and G. W. Canonica. (1986). "In vitro effects of Bacillus subtilis on the immune
response.". Chemioterapia: 5:404–407.
[15] Shylakhovenko, V.A. (2003 (June)). "Anticancer and Immunostimulatory effects of Nucleoprotein Fraction of Bacillus subtilis.".
Experimental Oncology 25: 119–123.
[16] Mazza, P. (1994). "The use of Bacillus subtilis as an antidiarrhoeal microorganism.". Boll. Chim. Farm. 133 (1): 3–18. PMID 8166962.

External links
• SubtiWiki: SubtiWiki ( "up-to-date information for all genes of
Bacillus subtilis"
Article Sources and Contributors 5

Article Sources and Contributors

Bacillus subtilis  Source:  Contributors: 66jtm73, Agro2009, Alan Liefting, Alansohn, Alexius08, Alfalfahotshots, Alfandmarl, Andonic,
Animum, Atrian, Azhyd, Badagnani, Biopesticide, CanisRufus, Casper2k3, Chowbok, Christopherlin, Christophmf, Curps, D, DARTH SIDIOUS 2, Debivort, Djk3, Dlohcierekim, Drmohvet,
E2eamon, Ed2975, Elenseel, Epadilla7, Eras-mus, FaithSyne, Fawcett5, Fippps, Gaius Cornelius, Gigemag76, Grenavitar, Griffinhg, Gyrofrog, Hsgibbons, J.delanoy, Jacopo Werther, Japanese
Searobin, Jebus989, JoJan, John Nevard, John254, JohnCumbers, Josh Grosse, Katalaveno, Krclathrate, MarcoTolo, Noctibus, Nunh-huh, Paul Blart111, Polyhedron, Repelschen, Rjwilmsi,
Rkitko, SB Johnny, Steenz, Stone, Syp, TheTrojanHought, Thndr333, TimVickers, Toyokuni3, TubularWorld, Victoriagirl, Viper875, W0w00r, 135 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

file:Bacillus subtilis.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Original uploader was Allonweiner at en.wikipedia
Image:Bacillus subtilis Gram.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Y tambe
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Image:Bacillus subtilis colonies.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Original
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