International Microbiology, Vol 20, No 3 (2017)

Genomic Plasticity of Vibrio cholerae

Jose Antonio Escudero, Didier Mazel

Abstract


Vibrio cholerae is one of the deadliest pathogens in the history of humankind. It is the causative agent of cholera, a
disease characterized by a profuse and watery diarrhoea that still today causes 95.000 deaths worldwide every year. V. cholerae
is a free living marine organism that interacts with and infects a variety of organisms, from amoeba to humans, including insects
and crustaceans. The complexity of the lifestyle and ecology of V. cholerae suggests a high genetic and phenotypic plasticity. In
this review, we will focus on two peculiar genomic features that enhance genetic plasticity in this bacterium: the division of its
genome in two different chromosomes and the presence of the superintegron, a gene capture device that acts as a large, low-cost
memory of adaptive functions, allowing V. cholerae to adapt rapidly.

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