Bacillus thuringiensis: From biodiversity to biotechnology

D. L. Prieto-Samsónov, R. I. Vázquez-Padrón, C. Ayra-Pardo, J. González-Cabrera, G. A. De La Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Bacillus thuringiensis is a Gram-positive bacterium, widely used in agriculture as a biological pesticide. The biocidal activity mainly resides in a parasporal protein inclusion body, or crystal. The inclusion is composed of one or more types of δ-endotoxins (Cry and Cyt proteins). Cry proteins are selectively toxic to different species from several invertebrate phyla: arthropods (mainly insects), nematodes, flatworms and protozoa. The mode of action of the insecticidal proteins is still a matter of investigation; generally, the active toxin is supposed to bind specific membrane receptors on the insect midgut brush-border epithelium, leading to intestinal cell lysis and subsequent insect death by starvation or septicemia. The toxin-encoding cry genes have been extensively studied and expressed in a large number of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The expression of such genes in transgenic plants has provided a powerful alternative for crop protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-219
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Delta-endotoxin
  • Heterologous expression
  • Insecticidal crystal protein
  • Ion-channel
  • Pesticide
  • Transgenic plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering


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