The Bacillus cereus group comprises nine species, several of which are pathogenic. Differentiating between isolates that may cause disease and those that do not is a matter of public health and economic importance, but it can be particularly challenging due to the high genomic similarity within the group. To this end, we have developed BTyper, a computational tool that employs a combination of (i) virulence gene-based typing, (ii) multilocus sequence typing (MLST), (iii) panC clade typing, and (iv) rpoB allelic typing to rapidly classify B. cereus group isolates using nucleotide sequencing data. BTyper was applied to a set of 662 B. cereus group genome assemblies to (i) identify anthrax-associated genes in non-B. anthracis members of the B. cereus group, and (ii) identify assemblies from B. cereus group strains with emetic potential. With BTyper, the anthrax toxin genes cya, lef, and pagA were detected in 8 genomes classified by the NCBI as B. cereus that clustered into two distinct groups using k-medoids clustering, while either the B. anthracis poly-γ-D-glutamate capsule biosynthesis genes capABCDE or the hyaluronic acid capsule hasA gene was detected in an additional 16 assemblies classified as either B. cereus or Bacillus thuringiensis isolated from clinical, environmental, and food sources. The emetic toxin genes cesABCD were detected in 24 assemblies belonging to panC clades III and VI that had been isolated from food, clinical, and environmental settings. The command line version of BTyper is available at https://github.com/lmc297/BTyper. In addition, BMiner, a companion application for analyzing multiple BTyper output files in aggregate, can be found at https://github.com/lmc297/BMiner.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology