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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Oct 1;239(1):1-8.

Chemotaxis in Vibrio cholerae.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, 220 Nash Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


The ability of motile bacteria to swim toward or away from specific environmental stimuli, such as nutrients, oxygen, or light provides cells with a survival advantage, especially under nutrient-limiting conditions. This behavior, called chemotaxis, is mediated by the bacteria changing direction by briefly reversing the direction of rotation of the flagellar motors. A sophisticated signal transduction system, consisting of signal transducer proteins, a histidine kinase, a response regulator, a coupling protein, and enzymes that mediate sensory adaptation, relates the input signal to the flagellar motor. Chemotaxis has been extensively studied in bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, and depends on the activity of single copies of proteins in a linear pathway. However, growing evidence suggests that chemotaxis in other bacteria is more complex with many bacterial species having multiple paralogues of the various chemotaxis genes found in E. coli and, in most cases, the detailed functions of these potentially redundant genes have not been elucidated. Although the completed genome of Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, predicted a multitude of genes with homology to known chemotaxis-related genes, little is known about their relative contribution to chemotaxis or other cellular functions. Furthermore, the role of chemotaxis during the environmental or infectious phases of this organism is not yet fully understood. This review will focus on the complex relationship between chemotaxis and virulence in V. cholerae.

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