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B. anthracis has a tendency to form very long chains of rods and in culture is nonmotile and nonhemolytic; colonies are characterized by a rough, uneven surface with multiple curled extensions at the edge resembling a “Medusa head.”B. anthracis has a D-glutamic acid polypeptide capsule of a single antigenic type that has antiphagocytic properties. The organism is also is a potent producer of one or more exotoxins, which although they have been given multiple names (lethal factor, edema factor, protective antigen), represent separate activities of a protein complex. In various combinations and configurations these proteins may exhibit binding, cytolytic, or enzymatic activity. One such combination exhibits adenylate cyclase activity similar to that seen in Bordetella pertussis .
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