Vibrio cholerae is the etiological agent of the severe diarrheal disease cholera. The bacterium is a natural inhabitant of brackish and estuarine waters . To date, only a subset of V. cholerae strains, those belonging to the pandemic group (PG), can cause cholera in humans while the rest (environmental group, EG) cannot cause the disease. Recently, we discovered that V. cholerae PG contains allelic variations in core genes that confer preadaptation to virulence, which we termed Virulence Adaptive Polymorphisms (VAPs). We identified nine core genes that encode potential VAPs, one of which encodes the outer membrane porin U (OmpU). OmpU provides tolerance to bile and acidic pH, resistance to antimicrobials and facilitates biofilm formation. In this study, several alleles of ompU were analyzed to determine whether these VAPs encode different functional properties. We performed multiple phenotypic assays and observed increased survival for strains encoding the PG-like alleles in the presence of bile, organic acid, anionic detergents and the antimicrobial peptide P2. On the other hand, EG-like alleles only showed increased biofilm formation. Interestingly, tests for motility and tolerance of inorganic acid, polymyxin B and protamine sulphate showed no differences in survival for strains encoding either alleles indicating that some of the properties conferred by OmpU are allelic independent. We have also discovered that V. cholerae OmpU shows resistance against Rifamycin, EDTA and Trifluoperazine and interestingly, Rifamycin has been found to be PG-allele dependent. Our findings provide further evidence that genetic variations in core genes lead to the emergence of virulence adaptive traits in pathogenic V. cholerae and can be extrapolated to other bacterial pathogens.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Medicine
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Sakib, Sk Nazmus, "Allelic Characterization and Novel Functions of the Outer Membrane Porin U in Vibrio Cholerae" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6572.