Protein Microarrays for Characterisation of the Bacillus anthracis ‘infectome’
Bacillus anthracis is a Gram-positive spore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium that is the etiological agent of the zoonotic disease Anthrax. Reservoirs for anthrax are wild and domestic grass-eating animals, most commonly sheep, goats and cattle and their proximity to humans within an agricultural setting can cause infection and disease. Disease may also be contracted through either direct contact with infected animals or through contact with animal by-products such as wool, skins or bone meal, where spores can survive in the environment for decades. Disease can occur when spores enter the body through breaks in the skin, via ingestion or by inhalation and has a number of clinical presentations. The Anthrax bacillus expresses a number of proteins responsible for the pathology of disease, including the protein toxins lethal factor (LF), oedema factor (OA) and protective antigen (PA). Other proteins are likely to be expressed during infection, which may contribute to the disease process.