Vibrio cholerae: Measuring Natural Transformation Frequency

Curr Protoc Microbiol. 2014 Nov 3;35:6A.4.1-12. doi: 10.1002/9780471729259.mc06a04s35.


Many bacteria can become naturally competent to take up extracellular DNA across their outer and inner membranes by a dedicated competence apparatus. Whereas some studies show that the DNA delivered to the cytoplasm may be used for genome repair or for nutrition, it can also be recombined onto the chromosome by homologous recombination: a process called natural transformation. Along with conjugation and transduction, natural transformation represents a mechanism for horizontal transfer of genetic material, e.g., antibiotic resistance genes, which can confer new beneficial characteristics onto the recipient bacteria. Described here are protocols for quantifying the frequency of transformation for the human pathogen Vibrio cholerae, one of several Vibrio species recently shown to be capable of natural transformation.

Keywords: TfoX; Vibrio cholerae; chitin; competence; natural transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Chitin
  • DNA Transformation Competence / genetics*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal / genetics
  • Transformation, Genetic / physiology*
  • Vibrio cholerae / genetics*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Chitin