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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Dec 6;108(49):19737-42. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1111530108. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Spatially selective colonization of the arthropod intestine through activation of Vibrio cholerae biofilm formation.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Vibrio cholerae is an estuarine bacterium and the human pathogen responsible for the diarrheal disease cholera. In the environment, arthropods are proposed to be carriers and reservoirs of V. cholerae. However, the molecular basis of the association between V. cholerae and viable arthropods has not been elucidated previously. Here, we show that the V. cholerae Vibrio polysaccharide (VPS)-dependent biofilm is highly activated upon entry into the arthropod intestine and is specifically required for colonization of the arthropod rectum. Although the V. cholerae VPS-dependent biofilm has been studied in the laboratory for many years, the function of this biofilm in the natural habitats of V. cholerae has been elusive. Our results provide evidence that the VPS-dependent biofilm is required for intestinal colonization of an environmental host.

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