Vibrio cholerae experiences frequent feast and famine conditions. In the absence of all the three nutrient components (Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorous), the cells could manage starvation and survive up to 6 months with only 1 log reduction in viability. Addition of carbon or nitrogen to the starvation media resulted in 3 log reduction in cell number. Simultaneous addition of carbon and nitrogen (Phosphorous starvation) reduced the cell viability to a below detectable level. The suboptimal growth conditions; non-metabolizable source of carbon and nitrogen; variable C: N ratio; inhibition of metabolism and cell division, increased the cell survival under phosphate starvation. However, when all the three components are limited, the cells did not initiate active metabolism and could conserve the energy for long-term survival. This observation suggests that integration of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus sensing is imperfect in V. cholerae and it cannot down-regulate the metabolism during phosphorous limitation. The carbon and nitrogen could prime the cells to accelerate the rate of metabolism, irrespective of the presence of phosphorous, thereby creating an energetically unfavorable situation. The lack of crucial component phosphorus fails to activate a stringent response that results in increased futile cycling of nutrients, loss of ATP and cell death. The Vibrio genus was found to be less efficient in surviving phosphate starvation than E. coli and S. Typhimurium. The two-component system CreC (a response regulator of phosphorous) is absent in V. cholerae and may be responsible for the lack of stringent response to phosphorus starvation.

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