Vibrio cholerae strains possess multiple strategies for abiotic and biotic surface colonization

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Despite its notoriety as a human pathogen, Vibrio cholerae is an aquatic microbe suited to live in freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments where biofilm formation may provide a selective advantage. Here we report characterization of biofilms formed on abiotic and biotic surfaces by two non-O1/O139 V. cholerae strains, TP and SIO, and by the O1 V. cholerae strain N16961 in addition to the isolation of 44 transposon mutants of SIO and TP impaired in biofilm formation. During the course of characterizing the mutants, 30 loci which have not previously been associated with V. cholerae biofilms were identified. These loci code for proteins which perform a wide variety of functions, including amino acid metabolism, ion transport, and gene regulation. Also, when the plankton colonization abilities of strains N16961, SIO, and TP were examined, each strain showed increased colonization of dead plankton compared with colonization of live plankton (the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum and the copepod Tigriopus californicus). Surprisingly, most of the biofilm mutants were not impaired in plankton colonization. Only mutants impaired in motility or chemotaxis showed reduced colonization. These results indicate the presence of both conserved and variable genes which influence the surface colonization properties of different V. cholerae subspecies.
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Mueller, Ryan S.
McDougald, Diane
Cusumano, Danielle
Sodhi, Nidhi
Kjelleberg, Staffan
Azam, Farooq
Bartlett, Douglas H.
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty