Thuringiensin: a toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis  

Shana Leticia Felice Wiest , Harry Luiz Pilz Júnior , Lidia Mariana Fiuza
Laboratório de Microbiologia e Toxicologia, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos – UNISINOS, Av. Unisinos, 950, CEP 93001-970, São Leopoldo, RS, Brazil
Author    Correspondence author
Bt Research, 2015, Vol. 6, No. 4   doi: 10.5376/bt.2015.06.0004
Received: 23 Jun., 2015    Accepted: 28 Jul., 2015    Published: 14 Aug., 2015
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Wiest S.L.F., Pilz Júnior H.L. , and Fiuza L.M., 2015, Thuringiensin: a toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt Research, Vol.6, No.4 1-12 (doi: 10.5376/bt.2015.06.0004)


Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is an entomopathogenic bacteria widely used in practice for biological control of insect pests, nematodes and disease vectors. Your toxicity is related to the ability to produce many virulence factors, including thuringiensins (β-exotoxins). Most toxins produce by this microorganism are highly specific, therefore the use of  it in biological control is considered environmentally safe and so this bacteria is extensively used in the production of biological insecticides and genetically modified plants. However, the thuringiensin is considered toxic to almost all life forms, including humans, due to its ability to inhibit the biosynthesis of RNA polymerase, an enzyme essential to the transfer of genetic information in almost all organisms. This way, the release of new strains of Bt with insecticidal properties for the biological control of pests must pass by verification of the absence of production of exotoxin, so that non-target organisms are not affected and the use of Bt in this field remains safe. Thus, this revision will discussed the knowledge about features, structure, genetic determinants, biosynthesis, mechanism of action, insecticide spectrum, security assessment and procedures for identification of thuringiensin in Bt strains.

Biological control; environmental security; ?-exotoxins; thermostable toxin
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