Genetic analysis of vibrio parahaemolyticus intestinal colonization

Troy P. Hubbard, Michael C. Chao, Sören Abel, Carlos J. Blondel, Pia Abel Zur Wiesch, Xiaohui Zhou, Brigid M. Davis, Matthew K. Waldor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the most common cause of seafood-borne gastroenteritis worldwide and a blight on global aquaculture. This organism requires a horizontally acquired type III secretion system (T3SS2) to infect the small intestine, but knowledge of additional factors that underlie V. parahaemolyticus pathogenicity is limited. We used transposon-insertion sequencing to screen for genes that contribute to viability of V. parahaemolyticus in vitro and in the mammalian intestine. Our analysis enumerated and controlled for the host infection bottleneck, enabling robust assessment of genetic contributions to in vivo fitness. We identified genes that contribute to V. parahaemolyticus colonization of the intestine independent of known virulence mechanisms in addition to uncharacterized components of T3SS2. Our study revealed that toxR, an ancestral locus in Vibrio species, is required for V. parahaemolyticus fitnessinvivoand for induction of T3SS2 gene expression. The regulatory mechanism by which V. parahaemolyticus ToxR activates expression of T3SS2 resembles Vibrio cholerae ToxR regulation of distinct virulence elements acquired via lateral gene transfer. Thus, disparate horizontally acquired virulence systems have been placed under the control of this ancestral transcription factor across independently evolved human pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6283-6288
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 31 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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