Journal mSystems

Genomic study of 412 anthrax strains provides new clues about why some strains are more virulent than others

A photomicrographic view of Bacillus anthracis bacteria taken from heart blood and processed using a carbol-fuchsin stain. (Image Courtesy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

By analyzing genomic sequences from more than 400 strains of the bacterium that causes anthrax, researchers have provided the first evidence that the severity — technically known as virulence — of specific strains may be related to the number of copies of certain plasmids they carry. Plasmids are genetic structures of the cell that can reproduce independently, and are responsible for producing the anthrax toxin and other virulence factors.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
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