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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 11;110(24):9926-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1307697110. Epub 2013 May 28.

Quorum-sensing autoinducers resuscitate dormant Vibrio cholerae in environmental water samples.

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Centre for Food and Water Borne Diseases, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh.


Cholera epidemics have long been known to spread through water contaminated with human fecal material containing the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae. However, detection of V. cholerae in water is complicated by the existence of a dormant state in which the organism remains viable, but resists cultivation on routine bacteriological media. Growth in the mammalian intestine has been reported to trigger "resuscitation" of such dormant cells, and these studies have prompted the search for resuscitation factors. Although some positive reports have emerged from these investigations, the precise molecular signals that activate dormant V. cholerae have remained elusive. Quorum-sensing autoinducers are small molecules that ordinarily regulate bacterial gene expression in response to cell density or interspecies bacterial interactions. We have found that isolation of pathogenic clones of V. cholerae from surface waters in Bangladesh is dramatically improved by using enrichment media containing autoinducers either expressed from cloned synthase genes or prepared by chemical synthesis. These results may contribute to averting future disasters by providing a strategy for early detection of V. cholerae in surface waters that have been contaminated with the stools of cholera patients or asymptomatic infected human carriers.


CVEC; biofilm formation; transmissibility

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