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The spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae is the agent behind American foulbrood (AFB), a key larval pathogen of the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Young larvae (from the first and second instars) are highly susceptible to this disease, with the ingestion of as few as 10 infectious spores being sufficient to cause mortality. AFB is the most widespread of the honey bee larval diseases, occurring on several continents and costing the bee industry millions of dollars annually. Bees generally die from the disease late I larval development, forming a dry 'scale' with approximately 2x10e9 bacterial spores/bee. Two closely related Paenibacillus species found in bees are relatively benign, and the genus as a whole is comprised mainly of soil-dwelling opportunistic bacteria. Among the Bacillales, Paenibacillus appears to be most closely related to the genus Brevibacillus. Bees mitigate this disease both through hygienic behavior by adult workers and through larval resistance traits.
Paenibacillus larvae larvae genome is sequenced by the Baylor College of Medicine's Human Genome Sequencing Center in a collaboration with USDA. It is currently being finished by the Baylor College of Medicine's Human Genome Sequencing Center.
References for Paenibacillus larvae Strain
Heyndrickx M, Vandemeulebroecke K, Scheldeman P, Kersters K, de Vos P, Logan NA, Aziz AM, Ali N, Berkeley RC. 1996. "A polyphasic reassessment of the genus Paenibacillus, reclassification of Bacillus lautus (Nakamura 1984) as Paenibacillus lautus comb. nov. and of Bacillus peoriae (Montefusco et al. 1993) as Paenibacillus peoriae comb. nov., and emended descriptions of P. lautus and of P. peoriae." Int J Syst Bacteriol. 46:988-1003.