Molecular diversification in the quorum-sensing system of Vibrio cholerae: Role of natural selection in the emergence of pandemic strains.
ABSTRACT: Two haplotypes of the Vibrio cholerae quorum-sensing system regulator hapR are described: hapR1, common among nonpandemic, non-O1, non-O139 strains, and hapR2, associated with pandemic O1 and O139 and epidemic O37 V. cholerae strains. The hapR2 has evolved under strong natural selection, implying that its fixation was influenced by conditions that led to cholera pandemics.
Project description:A novel Vibrio cholerae insertion sequence element, designated IS1004, was characterized and used for DNA fingerprinting of Vibrio spp. IS1004 comprises 628 bp and contains an open reading frame whose product shows a large degree of sequence identity with the IS200-encoded transposase. IS1004 was present in one to eight copies in most of the V. cholerae strains analyzed. The IS1004-generated fingerprints of epidemic V. cholerae strains with serotype O1 were closely related, although it was possible to distinguish between the two biotypes, classical and El Tor. Non-O1 serotype strains generally showed heterogeneous patterns unrelated to those of the epidemic O1 strains. Several strains were observed with identical or related fingerprint patterns but expressed different serotypes. Conversely, strains with different fingerprint patterns but identical serotypes were also found. These observations indicate that the gene clusters coding for distinct O antigens may be transferred horizontally between V. cholerae strains. Two examples of non-O1 strains with a fingerprint resembling that of epidemic O1 strains were found; they were the O139 Bengal strain and an O37 strain. The O139 Bengal strain is closely related to the El Tor biotype. The O37 strain was responsible for a large cholera outbreak in Sudan in 1968 and was classified as a noncholera vibrio. Our study, however, shows that the O37 Sudan strain is genetically closely related to classical O1 strains. Similar to O139 Bengal, O37 Sudan lacked most of the O1 antigen cluster but did contain flanking genes. Thus, O37 Sudan represents a second example of an epidemic V. cholerae strain carrying non-O1 antigens. This study underlines the importance of genotypic methods for the differentiation of V. cholerae strains and for recognition of strains with epidemic potential.
Project description:The novel epidemic strain Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal originated from a seventh-pandemic O1 El Tor strain by antigenic shift resulting from homologous recombination-mediated exchange of O-antigen biosynthesis (wb*) clusters. Conservation of the genetic organization of wb* regions seen in other serogroups raised the possibility of the existence of pathogenic non-O1 and non-O139 V. cholerae strains that emerged by similar events. To test this hypothesis, 300 V. cholerae isolates of non-O1 and non-O139 serogroups were screened for the presence of virulence genes and an epidemic genetic background by DNA dot blotting, IS1004 fingerprinting, and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. We found four non-O1 strains (serogroups O27, O37, O53, and O65) with an O1 genetic backbone suggesting exchange of wb* clusters. DNA sequence analysis of the O37 wb* region revealed that a novel approximately 23.4-kb gene cluster had replaced all but the approximately 4.2-kb right junction of the 22-kb O1 wbe region. In sharp contrast to the backbones, the virulence regions of the four strains were quite heterogeneous; the O53 and O65 strains had the El Tor vibrio pathogenicity island (VPI) cluster, the O37 strain had the classical VPI cluster, and the O27 strain had a novel VPI cluster. Two of the four strains carried CTXphi; the O27 strain possessed a CTXphi with a recently reported immune specificity (rstR-4** allele) and a novel ctxB allele, and the O37 strain had an El Tor CTXphi (rstR(ET) allele) and novel ctxAB alleles. Although the O53 and O65 strains lacked the ctxAB genes, they carried a pre-CTXphi (i.e., rstR(cla)). Identification of non-O1 and non-O139 serogroups with pathogenic potential in epidemic genetic backgrounds means that attention should be paid to possible future epidemics caused by these serogroups and to the need for new, rapid vaccine development strategies.
Project description:HapR is a TetR-family transcriptional regulator that controls quorum sensing in Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. HapR regulates the expression of hemagglutinin protease, virulence and biofilm genes. The crystal structure of wild-type HapR from V. cholerae strain O1 El Tor C6706 has previously been solved. In this study, the structure of a DNA-binding-deficient variant of HapR (HapRV2) derived from the protease-deficient V. cholerae serotype O37 strain V2 is reported. The structure reveals no structural differences compared with wild-type HapR. However, structural alignment of HapRV2 with the TetR-family member QacR in complex with its operator DNA suggests that the aspartate residue located between the regulatory and DNA-binding domains may clash with and electrostatically repel the phosphate backbone of DNA to prevent binding.
Project description:Historically, cholera outbreaks have been linked to V. cholerae O1 serogroup strains or its derivatives of the O37 and O139 serogroups. A genomic study on the 2010 Haiti cholera outbreak strains highlighted the putative role of non O1/non-O139 V. cholerae in causing cholera and the lack of genomic sequences of such strains from around the world. Here we address these gaps by scanning a global collection of V. cholerae strains as a first step towards understanding the population genetic diversity and epidemic potential of non O1/non-O139 strains. Whole Genome Mapping (Optical Mapping) based bar coding produces a high resolution, ordered restriction map, depicting a complete view of the unique chromosomal architecture of an organism. To assess the genomic diversity of non-O1/non-O139 V. cholerae, we applied a Whole Genome Mapping strategy on a well-defined and geographically and temporally diverse strain collection, the Sakazaki serogroup type strains. Whole Genome Map data on 91 of the 206 serogroup type strains support the hypothesis that V. cholerae has an unprecedented genetic and genomic structural diversity. Interestingly, we discovered chromosomal fusions in two unusual strains that possess a single chromosome instead of the two chromosomes usually found in V. cholerae. We also found pervasive chromosomal rearrangements such as duplications and indels in many strains. The majority of Vibrio genome sequences currently in public databases are unfinished draft sequences. The Whole Genome Mapping approach presented here enables rapid screening of large strain collections to capture genomic complexities that would not have been otherwise revealed by unfinished draft genome sequencing and thus aids in assembling and finishing draft sequences of complex genomes. Furthermore, Whole Genome Mapping allows for prediction of novel V. cholerae non-O1/non-O139 strains that may have the potential to cause future cholera outbreaks.
Project description:The environmental reservoirs for Vibrio cholerae are natural aquatic habitats, where it colonizes the chitinous exoskeletons of copepod molts. Growth of V. cholerae on a chitin surface induces competence for natural transformation, a mechanism for intra-species gene exchange. The antigenically diverse O-serogroup determinants of V. cholerae are encoded by a genetically variable biosynthetic cluster of genes that is flanked on either side by chromosomal regions that are conserved between different serogroups. To determine whether this genomic motif and chitin-induced natural transformation might enable the exchange of serogroup-specific gene clusters between different O serogroups of V. cholerae, a strain of V. cholerae O1 El Tor was co-cultured with a strain of V. cholerae O139 Bengal within a biofilm on the same chitin surface immersed in seawater, and O1-to-O139 transformants were obtained. Serogroup conversion of the O1 recipient by the O139 donor was demonstrated by comparative genomic hybridization, biochemical and serological characterization of the O-antigenic determinant, and resistance of O1-to-O139 transformants to bacteriolysis by a virulent O1-specific phage. Serogroup conversion was shown to have occurred as a single-step exchange of large fragments of DNA. Crossovers were localized to regions of homology common to other V. cholerae serogroups that flank serogroup-specific encoding sequences. This result and the successful serogroup conversion of an O1 strain by O37 genomic DNA indicate that chitin-induced natural transformation might be a common mechanism for serogroup conversion in aquatic habitats and for the emergence of V. cholerae variants that are better adapted for survival in environmental niches or more pathogenic for humans.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae O139 is a recently identified non-O1 V. cholerae strain responsible for outbreaks of epidemic cholera in India, Bangladesh, and Thailand in the past 2 years. Other workers have demonstrated the presence of the cholera toxin genetic element in V. cholerae O139, unlike the situation for other non-O1 V. cholerae strains. We sought to compare further this strain with strains of V. cholerae O1, classical and El Tor biotypes, by classic microbiologic methods, Southern blot analysis for restriction fragment length polymorphisms with probes for iron-regulated genes of V. cholerae O1, and comparisons of outer membrane protein profiles. Our results were similar for V. cholerae O139 and the El Tor biotype of V. cholerae O1, with the exception of the constitutive expression in V. cholerae O139 of OmpS, an outer membrane protein that was maltose inducible in comparison strains of V. cholerae O1.
Project description:Toxigenic serogroups O1 and O139 of Vibrio cholerae may cause cholera epidemics or pandemics. Nontoxigenic strains within these serogroups also exist in the environment, and also some may cause sporadic cases of disease. Herein, we investigate the genomic diversity among toxigenic and nontoxigenic O1 and O139 strains by comparative genomic microarray hybridization with the genome of El Tor strain N16961 as a base. Conservation of the toxigenic O1 El Tor and O139 strains is found as previously reported, whereas accumulation of genome changes was documented in toxigenic El Tor strains isolated within the 40 years of the seventh pandemic. High phylogenetic diversity in nontoxigenic O1 and O139 strains is observed, and most of the genes absent from nontoxigenic strains are clustered together in the N16961 genome. By comparing these toxigenic and nontoxigenic strains, we observed that the small chromosome of V. cholerae is quite conservative and stable, outside of the superintegron region. In contrast to the general stability of the genome, the superintegron demonstrates pronounced divergence among toxigenic and nontoxigenic strains. Additionally, sequence variation in virulence-related genes is found in nontoxigenic El Tor strains, and we speculate that these intermediate strains may have pathogenic potential should they acquire CTX prophage alleles and other gene clusters. This genome-wide comparison of toxigenic and nontoxigenic V. cholerae strains may promote understanding of clonal differentiation of V. cholerae and contribute to an understanding of the origins and clonal selection of epidemic strains.
Project description:Non-O1, non-O139 Vibrio cholerae can cause gastroenteritis and extraintestinal infections, but, unlike O1 and O139 strains of V. cholerae, little is known about the virulence gene content of non-O1, non-O139 strains and their phylogenetic relationship to other pathogenic V. cholerae. Comparative genomic microarray analysis of four pathogenic non-O1, non-O139 strains indicates that these strains are quite divergent from O1 and O139 strains. Genomic sequence analysis of a non-O1, non-O139 strain (AM-19226) that appeared particularly pathogenic in experimental animals suggests that this strain carries a type III secretion system (TTSS) that is related to the TTSS2 gene cluster found in a pandemic clone of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The genes for this V. cholerae TTSS system appear to be present in many clinical and environmental non-O1, non-O139 strains, including at least one clone that is globally distributed. We hypothesize that the TTSS present in some pathogenic strains of non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae may be involved in the virulence and environmental fitness of these strains.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Of the hundreds of Vibrio cholerae serogroups, O1 and O139 are the main epidemic-causing ones. Although non-O1/non-O139 serogroups rarely cause epidemics, the possibility exists for strains within them to have pathogenic potential. RESULTS:We selected 25 representative strains within 16 V. cholerae serogroups and examined their genomic and functional characteristics. We tentatively constructed a gene pool containing 405 homologous gene clusters, which is well organized and functions in O-antigen polysaccharide (O-PS) synthesis. Our network analysis indicate that great diversity exists in O-PS among the serogroups, and several serogroup pairs share a high number of homologous genes (e.g., O115 and O37; O170 and O139; O12 and O39). The phylogenetic analysis results suggest that a close relationship exists between serogroups O170, O89 and O144, based on neighbor-joining (NJ) and gene trees, although serogroup O159 showed an inconsistent phylogenetic relationship between the NJ tree and the gene tree, indicating that it may have undergone extensive recombination and horizontal gene transfer. Different phylogenetic structures were observed between the core genes, pan genes, and O-PS genes. The virulence gene analysis indicated that the virulence genes from all the representative strains may have their sources from four particular bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, V. vulnificus, Haemophilus somnus and H. influenzae), which suggests that V. cholerae may have exchanged virulence genes with other bacterial genera or species in certain environments. The mobile genetic element analysis indicated that O159 carries nearly complete VSP-II and partial VPI-1 and VPI-2, O170 carries partial VPI-1 and VPI-2, and several non-O1/non-O139 strains contain full or partial VPI-1 and VPI-2. Several genes showing evidence of positive selection are involved in chemotaxis, Na + resistance, or cell wall synthesis, suggestive of environmental adaptation. CONCLUSIONS:This study reports on the newly sequenced O159 and O170 genomes and their comparisons with other V. cholerae serogroups. The complicated O-PS network of constituent genes highlights the detailed recombination mechanisms that have acted on the serogroups' genomes. The serogroups have different virulence-related gene profiles, and there is evidence of positive selection acting on other genes, possibly during adaptation to different environments and hosts.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae is an autochthonous inhabitant of riverine and estuarine environments and also is a facultative pathogen for humans. Genotyping can be useful in assessing the risk of contracting cholera, intestinal, or extraintestinal infections via drinking water and/or seafood. In this study, environmental isolates of V. cholerae were examined for the presence of ctxA, hlyA, ompU, stn/sto, tcpA, tcpI, toxR, and zot genes, using multiplex PCR. Based on tcpA and hlyA gene comparisons, the strains could be grouped into Classical and El Tor biotypes. The toxR, hlyA, and ompU genes were present in 100, 98.6, and 87.0% of the V. cholerae isolates, respectively. The CTX genetic element and toxin-coregulated pilus El Tor (tcpA ET) gene were present in all toxigenic V. cholerae O1 and V. cholerae O139 strains examined in this study. Three of four nontoxigenic V. cholerae O1 strains contained tcpA ET. Interestingly, among the isolates of V. cholerae non-O1/non-O139, two had tcpA Classical, nine contained tcpA El Tor, three showed homology with both biotype genes, and four carried the ctxA gene. The stn/sto genes were present in 28.2% of the non-O1/non-O139 strains, in 10.5% of the toxigenic V. cholerae O1, and in 14.3% of the O139 serogroups. Except for stn/sto genes, all of the other genes studied occurred with high frequency in toxigenic V. cholerae O1 and O139 strains. Based on results of this study, surveillance of non-O1/non-O139 V. cholerae in the aquatic environment, combined with genotype monitoring using ctxA, stn/sto, and tcpA ET genes, could be valuable in human health risk assessment.