Divergent functional roles of D-amino acids secreted by Vibrio cholerae


  • Felipe Cava


Vibrio cholerae, D-amino acids, cell wall, D-methionine, D-arginine


The L-forms of amino acids are used in all kingdoms of life to synthesize proteins. However, the bacterium Vibrio
cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, produces D-amino acids which are released to the environment at millimolar concentrations.
We baptized these D-amino acids as non-canonical D-amino acids (NCDAAs) since they are different from those (i.e.
D-alanine and D-glutamate) normally present in the bacterial cell wall. In V. cholerae, production of NCDAAs relies on the BsrV
enzyme, a periplasmic broad spectrum racemase. BsrV multispecific activity, produces of a wide range of distinct D-amino acids.
Using a combination of genetics and molecular physiology approaches we have demonstrated that NCDAAs target different cellular
processes which may function as part of a cooperative strategy in vibrio communities to protect non-producing members from
competing bacteria. Because NCDAA production is widespread in bacteria, we anticipate that NCDAAs are relevant modulators
of microbial subpopulations in diverse ecosystems.

Author Biography

Felipe Cava

The laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), Department of Molecular Biology. Umeå University.
90187. Umeå. Sweden. Ph: +46(0) 90 785 6755.






Research Reviews