Expression of the mosquitocidal toxins of Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis by recombinant Caulobacter crescentus, a vehicle for biological control of aquatic insect larvae
In the quest for effective control of mosquitoes, attention has turned increasingly to strains of the bacteria Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis, which produce potent toxins with specific mosquitocidal activities. However, sedimentation of the bacterial spores limits the duration of effective control after field application of these bacilli. We describe here the cloning of genes encoding the 51.4- and 41.9-kDa toxins from B. sphaericus 2297, the 100-kDa toxin from B. sphaericus SSII-1, and the 130-kDa toxin from B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis into the broad-host-range plasmid pRK248 and the transfer of these genes for expression in Caulobacter crescentus CB15. The recombinant C. crescentus cells were shown to be toxic to mosquito larvae. Caulobacter species are ubiquitous microorganisms residing in the upper regions of aquatic environments and therefore provide the potential for prolonged control by maintaining mosquitocidal toxins in larval feeding zones.