Molecular evolution of Vibrio pathogenicity island-2 (VPI-2): mosaic structure among Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio mimicus natural isolates

Microbiology (Reading). 2005 Jan;151(Pt 1):311-322. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.27621-0.


Vibrio cholerae is a Gram-negative rod that inhabits the aquatic environment and is the aetiological agent of cholera, a disease that is endemic in much of Southern Asia. The 57.3 kb Vibrio pathogenicity island-2 (VPI-2) is confined predominantly to toxigenic V. cholerae O1 and O139 serogroup isolates and encodes 52 ORFs (VC1758 to VC1809), which include homologues of an integrase (VC1758), a restriction modification system, a sialic acid metabolism gene cluster (VC1773-VC1783), a neuraminidase (VC1784) and a gene cluster that shows homology to Mu phage. In this study, a 14.1 kb region of VPI-2 comprising ORFs VC1773 to VC1787 was identified by PCR and Southern blot analyses in all 17 Vibrio mimicus isolates examined. The VPI-2 region in V. mimicus was inserted adjacent to a serine tRNA similar to VPI-2 in V. cholerae. In 11 of the 17 V. mimicus isolates examined, an additional 5.3 kb region encoding VC1758 and VC1804 to VC1809 was present adjacent to VC1787. The evolutionary history of VPI-2 was reconstructed by comparative analysis of the nanH (VC1784) gene tree with the species gene tree, deduced from the housekeeping gene malate dehydrogenase (mdh), among V. cholerae and V. mimicus isolates. Both gene trees showed an overall congruence; on both gene trees V. cholerae O1 and O139 serogroup isolates clustered together, whereas non-O1/non-O139 serogroup isolates formed separate divergent branches with similar clustering of strains within the branches. One exception was noted: on the mdh gene tree, V. mimicus sequences formed a distinct divergent lineage from V. cholerae sequences; however, on the nanH gene tree, V. mimicus clustered with V. cholerae non-O1/non-O139 isolates, suggesting horizontal transfer of this region between these species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genomic Islands / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Vibrio cholerae / genetics
  • Vibrio cholerae / pathogenicity*
  • Vibrio mimicus / genetics
  • Vibrio mimicus / pathogenicity*


  • Bacterial Proteins