Regulation of Enterotoxins Associated with Bacillus cereus Sensu Lato Toxicoinfection

Cassidy Prince, Jasna Kovac

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Bacillus cereus sensu lato (s.l.) includes foodborne pathogens, as well as beneficial microorganisms, such as bioinsecticides. Some of the beneficial and commercially used B. cereus s.l. strains have been shown to carry enterotoxin genes, the products of which can cause toxicoinfection in humans. Furthermore, recent epidemiological reports indicated that some bioinsecticidal strains have been linked with foodborne illness outbreaks. This demonstrates the need for improved surveillance of B. cereus s.l., which includes characterization of isolates’ virulence capacity. However, the prediction of virulence capacity of B. cereus s.l. strains is challenging. Genetic screening for enterotoxin gene presence has proven to be insufficient for accurate discrimination between virulent and avirulent strains, given that nearly all B. cereus s.l. strains carry at least one enterotoxin gene. Furthermore, complex regulatory networks governing the expression of enterotoxins, and potential synergistic interactions between enterotoxins and other virulence factors make the prediction of toxicoinfection based on isolates’ genome sequences challenging. In this review, we summarize and synthesize the current understanding of the regulation of enterotoxins associated with the B. cereus s.l. toxicoinfection and identify gaps in the knowledge that need to be addressed to facilitate identification of genetic markers predictive of cytotoxicity and toxicoinfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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