The human disease cholera, marked by acute, voluminous watery diarrhea, is caused by the gram-negative, aquatic bacterium Vibrio cholerae. All seven cholera pandemics since 1817 were identified as being caused by just 2 of over 155 known V. choleraeserogroups: O1 and O139. The O1 serogroup is divided into two biotypes: classical and El Tor. Classical biotype is associated with pandemics 1 through 6, but the El Tor biotype has since displaced classical as the causative agent of the ongoing 7th cholera pandemic over the past 60 years. The El Tor genome resembles that of classical but has acquired two unique pathogenicity islands known as Vibrio Seventh Pandemic (VSP) -1 and -2. El Tor biotype has been associated with prolonged colonization, infection, and disease both in humans and in the zebrafish natural host model. The zebrafish model allows for complete observation of Vibrio cholerae infection in a system undisrupted by antibiotic use or immune suppression. El Tor strains colonize the zebrafish intestine for up to 10 days longer than classical strains. Preliminary studies demonstrate VSP-2 is required to observe this phenotype, but VSP-1 is not. By creating targeted regional knockouts of the VSP-2 island, the specific gene(s) essential for enabling prolonged colonization will be identified and applied to the understanding of how El Tor interacts with a natural host. By identifying the genes used by El Tor to colonize a natural host for prolonged periods, we gain insight into how this pathogen may persist in the environment and perpetuate disease.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error