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J Bacteriol. 1998 Feb;180(4):773-84.

Role of rpoS in stress survival and virulence of Vibrio cholerae.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University Medical School, California 94305-5428, USA. fitnat@cmgm.stanford.edu


Vibrio cholerae is known to persist in aquatic environments under nutrient-limiting conditions. To analyze the possible involvement of the alternative sigma factor encoded by rpoS, which is shown to be important for survival during nutrient deprivation in several other bacterial species, a V. cholerae rpoS homolog was cloned by functional complementation of an Escherichia coli mutant by using a wild-type genomic library. Sequence analysis of the complementing clone revealed an 1.008-bp open reading frame which is predicted to encode a 336-amino-acid protein with 71 to 63% overall identity to other reported rpoS gene products. To determine the functional role of rpoS in V. cholerae, we inactivated rpoS by homologous recombination. V. cholerae strains lacking rpoS are impaired in the ability to survive diverse environmental stresses, including exposure to hydrogen peroxide, hyperosmolarity, and carbon starvation. These results suggest that rpoS may be required for the persistence of V. cholerae in aquatic habitats. In addition, the rpoS mutation led to reduced production or secretion of hemagglutinin/protease. However, rpoS is not critical for in vivo survival, as determined by an infant mouse intestinal competition assay.

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