is the cause of anthrax, and two large plasmids are essential for toxicity: pXO1, which contains the toxin genes, and pXO2, which encodes a capsule. forms a highly monomorphic lineage within the group, but strains of and exist that are genetically closely related to the cluster. During the past five years strains that contain the pXO1 virulence plasmid were discovered, and strains with both pXO1 and pXO2 have been isolated from great apes in Africa. Therefore, the presence of pXO1 and pXO2 no longer principally separates from other Bacilli. The lineage carries a specific mutation in the global regulator PlcR, which controls the transcription of secreted virulence factors in and . Coevolution of the chromosome with its plasmids may be the basis for the successful development and uniqueness of the lineage.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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