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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jun;73(11):3705-14. Epub 2007 Apr 20.

Genomic and phenotypic diversity of coastal Vibrio cholerae strains is linked to environmental factors.

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Department of Civil Engineering, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305, USA.


Studies of Vibrio cholerae diversity have focused primarily on pathogenic isolates of the O1 and O139 serotypes. However, autochthonous environmental isolates of this species routinely display more extensive genetic diversity than the primarily clonal pathogenic strains. In this study, genomic and metabolic profiles of 41 non-O1/O139 environmental isolates from central California coastal waters and four clinical strains are used to characterize the core genome and metabolome of V. cholerae. Comparative genome hybridization using microarrays constructed from the fully sequenced V. cholerae O1 El Tor N16961 genome identified 2,787 core genes that approximated the projected species core genome within 1.6%. Core genes are almost universally present in strains with widely different niches, suggesting that these genes are essential for persistence in diverse aquatic environments. In contrast, the dispensable genes and phenotypic traits identified in this study should provide increased fitness for certain niche environments. Environmental parameters, measured in situ during sample collection, are correlated to the presence of specific dispensable genes and metabolic capabilities, including utilization of mannose, sialic acid, citrate, and chitosan oligosaccharides. These results identify gene content and metabolic pathways that are likely selected for in certain coastal environments and may influence V. cholerae population structure in aquatic environments.

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