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Arch Microbiol. 2002 Dec;179(1):57-65. Epub 2002 Nov 9.

The Vibrio fischeri sapABCDF locus is required for normal growth, both in culture and in symbiosis.

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University of Hawaii, Kewalo Marine Laboratory, 41 Ahui Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.


Inactivation of the sapABCDF genes results in a loss of virulence in several bacterial pathogens of animals and plants. The role of this locus in the growth physiology of Vibrio fischeri, and in the symbiotic colonization of the squid Euprymna scolopes was investigated. In rich medium, a V. fischeri sapA insertion mutant grew at only 85% the rate of its wild-type parent. While a similar effect has been attributed to a potassium-transport defect in sap mutants of enteric bacteria, the V. fischeri mutant grew more slowly regardless of the potassium concentration of the medium. Similarly, the growth-rate defect was independent of the source of either carbon, nitrogen, or phosphorous, indicating that the V. fischeri sap genes do not encode functions required for the transport of a specific form of any of these nutrients. Finally, while a delay in colonizing the nascent light organ of the squid could be accounted for by the lower growth rate of the mutant, a small but statistically significant reduction in its final population size in the host, but not in medium, suggests that the sap genes play another role in the symbiosis. All of these phenotypic defects could be genetically complemented in trans by the sapABCDF genes, but not by the sapA gene alone, indicating that the insertion in sapA is polar to the four downstream genes in the locus. Thus, while the sap locus is important to the normal growth of V. fischeri, it plays different physiological roles in growth and tissue colonization than it does in enteric pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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