The Prevalence of Functional Quorum-Sensing Systems in Recently Emerged Vibrio cholerae Toxigenic Strains

Environ Microbiol Rep. 2011 Apr;3(2):218-222. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2010.00212.x.


Vibrio cholerae live in aquatic environments and cause cholera disease. Like many other bacteria, V. cholerae use quorum-sensing (QS) systems to control various cellular functions, such as pathogenesis and biofilm formation. However, some V. cholerae strains are naturally QS-defective, including defective mutations in the quorum sensing master regulator HapR. Here we examined the QS functionality of 602 V. cholerae clinical and environmental strains isolated in China from 1960-2007, by measuring QS-regulated gene expression. We found that a greater percentage of the toxigenic strains (ctxAB(+)) had functional QS as compared to the non-toxigenic strains (ctxAB(-)), and that this trend increased significantly over time. We hypothesize that QS provides adaptive value in V. cholerae pathogenic settings.