The topics of the meeting represented broad areas related to the B. cereus group species and reflected the increasing diversity and expertise of the participants. Nevertheless, a large number of the presentations included information relevant for host-pathogen interactions. Thus, it was most fitting that Harry Smith of The University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) concluded the meeting with an insightful summary. Smith is among the first microbiologists to emphasize the importance of investigating bacterial activities in the context of the host. In 1954, with J. Keppie, Smith reported the first evidence for a toxin produced by B. anthracis in vivo (35). In his meeting summary, Smith noted the diverse and sometimes incongruous observations of investigators exploring the interplay of the Bacillus species with hosts. While many inroads have been made, clearly metabolic aspects of infection require more attention. Apart from the germination of spores in macrophages, Smith stated that we know little regarding the nutrients required for germination of spores and growth of vegetative cells in vivo and whether nutrients vary in availability from one host to another. Such variation may explain differences in susceptibility to anthrax which are apparent from epidemiology. Smith also noted the expanded interest in B. cereus group spore structure and development, areas which had received significantly less attention at past meetings. He commented on the rapid advances in genomics and gene regulation, lessons learned from environmental studies, and the impact on microbial physiology. Research in these areas has exceptionally benefited from the union of the International Anthrax and B. cereus Group Molecular Biology meetings. The next Bacillus ACT Meeting is scheduled for 17 to 21 June 2007 in Oslo, Norway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology