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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Identification of the Bacillus anthracis (gamma) phage receptor.

Bacillus anthracis, a gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium, is the etiological agent of anthrax. It belongs to the Bacillus cereus group, which also contains Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. Most B. anthracis strains are sensitive to phage gamma, but most B. cereus and B. thuringiensis strains are resistant to the lytic action of phage gamma. Here, we report the identification of a protein involved in the bacterial receptor for the gamma phage, which we term GamR (Gamma phage receptor). It is an LPXTG protein (BA3367, BAS3121) and is anchored by the sortase A. A B. anthracis sortase A mutant is not as sensitive as the parental strain nor as the sortase B and sortase C mutants, whereas the GamR mutant is resistant to the lytic action of the phage. Electron microscopy reveals the binding of the phage to the surface of the parental strain and its absence from the GamR mutant. Spontaneous B. anthracis mutants resistant to the phage harbor mutations in the gene encoding the GamR protein. A B. cereus strain that is sensitive to the phage possesses a protein similar (89% identity) to GamR. B. thuringiensis 97-27, a strain which, by sequence analysis, is predicted to harbor a GamR-like protein, is resistant to the phage but nevertheless displays phage binding.[1]


  1. Identification of the Bacillus anthracis (gamma) phage receptor. Davison, S., Couture-Tosi, E., Candela, T., Mock, M., Fouet, A. J. Bacteriol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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