International Microbiology, Vol 14, No 4 (2011)

Antimicrobial peptide genes in Bacillus strains from plant environments

Isabel Mora, Jordi Cabrefiga, Emilio Montesinos


The presence of the antimicrobial peptide (AMP) biosynthetic genes srfAA (surfactin), bacA (bacylisin), fenD (fengycin), bmyB (bacyllomicin), spaS (subtilin), and ituC (iturin) was examined in 184 isolates of Bacillus spp. obtained from plant environments (aerial, rhizosphere, soil) in the Mediterranean land area of Spain. Most strains had between two and four AMP genes whereas strains with five genes were seldom detected and none of the strains had six genes. The most frequent AMP gene markers were srfAA, bacA, bmyB, and fenD, and the most frequent genotypes srfAA-bacA-bmyB and srfAAbacA-bmyB-fenD. The dominance of these particular genes in Bacillus strains associated with plants reinforces the competitive role of surfactin, bacyllomicin, fengycin, and bacilysin in the fitness of strains in natural environments. The use of these AMP gene markers may assist in the selection of putative biological control agents of plant pathogens.

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