Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a Gram-negative bacterium that is a pathogen of other Gram-negative bacteria, including many bacteria which are pathogens of humans, animals and plants. As such Bdellovibrio has potential as a biocontrol agent, or living antibiotic. B. bacteriovorus HD100 has a large genome and it is not yet known which of it encodes the molecular machinery and genetic control of predatory processes. We have tried to fill this knowledge-gap using mixtures of predator and prey mRNAs to monitor changes in Bdellovibrio gene expression at a timepoint of early-stage prey infection and prey killing in comparison to control cultures of predator and prey alone and also in comparison to Bdellovibrio growing axenically (in a prey-or host independent "HI" manner) on artificial media containing peptone and tryptone. From this we have highlighted genes of the early predatosome with predicted roles in prey killing and digestion and have gained insights into possible regulatory mechanisms as Bdellovibrio enter and establish within the prey bdelloplast. Approximately seven percent of all Bdellovibrio genes were significantly up-regulated at 30 minutes of infection- but not in HI growth- implicating the role of these genes in prey digestion. Five percent were down-regulated significantly, implicating their role in free-swimming, attack-phase physiology. This study gives the first post- genomic insight into the predatory process and reveals some of the important genes that Bdellovibrio expresses inside the prey bacterium during the initial attack.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)