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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998 Oct;64(10):3648-55.

Vibrio cholerae O1 strain TSI-4 produces the exopolysaccharide materials that determine colony morphology, stress resistance, and biofilm formation.

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  • 1Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.


Vibrio cholerae O1 strain TSI-4 (El Tor, Ogawa) can shift to a rugose colony morphology from its normal translucent colony morphology in response to nutrient starvation. We have investigated differences between the rugose and translucent forms of V. cholerae O1 strain TSI-4. Electron microscopic examination of the rugose form of TSI-4 (TSI-4/R) revealed thick, electron-dense exopolysaccharide materials surrounding polycationic ferritin-stained cells, while the ferritin-stained material was absent around the translucent form of TSI-4 (TSI-4/T). The exopolysaccharide produced by V. cholerae TSI-4/R was found to have a composition of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, D-mannose, 6-deoxy-D-galactose, and D-galactose (7.4:10.2:2.4:3.0). The expression of an amorphous exopolysaccharide promotes biofilm development under static culture conditions. Biofilm formation by the rugose strain was determined by scanning electron microscopy, and most of the surface of the film was colonized by actively dividing rod cells. The corresponding rugose and translucent strains were compared for stress resistance. By having exopolysaccharide materials, the rugose strains acquired resistance to osmotic and oxidative stress. Our data indicated that an exopolysaccharide material on the surface of the rugose strain promoted biofilm formation and resistance to the effects of two stressing agents.

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