The botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) has been extensively researched over the years in regard to its structure, mode of action, and applications. Nevertheless, the biological roles of four proteins encoded from a number of BoNT gene clusters, i.e., OrfX1-3 and P47, are unknown. Here, we investigated the diversity of orfX-p47 gene clusters using in silico analytical tools. We show that the orfX-p47 cluster was not only present in the genomes of BoNT-producing bacteria but also in a substantially wider range of bacterial species across the bacterial phylogenetic tree. Remarkably, the orfX-p47 cluster was consistently located in proximity to genes coding for various toxins, suggesting that OrfX1-3 and P47 may have a conserved function related to toxinogenesis and/or pathogenesis, regardless of the toxin produced by the bacterium. Our work also led to the identification of a putative novel BoNT-like toxin gene cluster in a Bacillus isolate. This gene cluster shares striking similarities to the BoNT cluster, encoding a bont/ntnh-like gene and orfX-p47, but also differs from it markedly, displaying additional genes putatively encoding the components of a polymorphic ABC toxin complex. These findings provide novel insights into the biological roles of OrfX1, OrfX2, OrfX3, and P47 in toxinogenesis and pathogenesis of BoNT-producing and non-producing bacteria.
Fields of Science
- 416 Food Science
- 11832 Microbiology and virology
- 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology