Vibrio cholerae O1 can assume a chlorine-resistant rugose survival form that is virulent for humans

J. Glenn Morris, Marcelo B. Sztein, Eugene W. Rice, James P. Nataro, Genevieve A. Losonsky, Pinaki Panigrahi, Carol O. Tacket, Judith A. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vibrio cholerae can shift to a 'rugose' colonial morphology associated with expression of an amorphous exopolysaccharide that promotes cell aggregation. Flow cytometric studies indicated that up to 3% of particles in rugose cultures represented aggregates of >5 bacterial cells. Rugose variants of our test strains displayed resistance to killing by chlorine, with viable cells persisting for >30 min in 2 mg/L free chlorine; strains also showed resistance to killing by complement-mediated serum bactericidal activity. Six volunteers fed 106 cfu of a rugose variant of V. cholerae O1 E1 Tor Inaba N16961 developed symptoms typical of cholera, with a mean diarrheal stool volume of 2.2 L (range, 1.4-4.3). Isolates recovered from the stool of infected volunteers retained the rugose phenotype. The data suggest that rugose strains cause human disease. The role of these strains in the epidemiology of cholera remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1368
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume174
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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