Cloning of genes encoding larvicidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis into the cyanobacterial hybrid vector, pTNTV
Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. isrealensis (B.t.i.) produces a crystalline endotoxin specific for some larvae of mosquitoes that are vectors of the malaria parasite and other infectious diseases. Fragments were obtained from the 108 kb plasmid from B.t.i. strain 4Q2 which encodes several proteins comprising the delta-endotoxin. These DNA fragments were inserted into the hybrid cyanobacterial cloning vector, pTNTV, downstream from its powerful lambda promoter, and the chimaeras were transformed into Escherichia coli. Ampicillin resistant transformants were screened with radioactively labelled oligonucleotides whose sequences were determined from the published sequences of the B.t.i. 130 kDa polypeptide. Clones showing hybridization were used in bioassays to determine their level of toxicity to the fourth instar larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Twelve clones were found that demonstrated toxicity which was statistically significantly greater than that observed in controls. Plasmid DNA from some of these clones was isolated, cut with restriction endonucleases, and viewed through agarose gel electrophoresis to confirm that B.t.i. fragments had been inserted into the vector. Future work will investigate the expression of these cloned toxin genes in transformable cyanobacteria and will determine their subsequent activity against the fourth instar larvae of Aedes aegypti and Anopheles quadrimaculatus.