Chitin-induced T6SS in Vibrio cholerae is dependent on ChiS activation

Rhishita Chourashi, Suman Das, Debarpan Dhar, Keinosuke Okamoto, Asish K. Mukhopadhyay, Nabendu Sekhar Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Vibrio cholerae regularly colonizes the chitinous exoskeleton of crustacean shells in the aquatic region. The type 6 secretion system (T6SS) in V. cholerae is an interbacterial killing device. This system is thought to provide a competitive advantage to V. cholerae in a polymicrobial community of the aquatic region under nutrient-poor conditions. V. cholerae chitin sensing is known to be initiated by the activation of a two-component sensor histidine kinase ChiS in the presence of GlcNAc 2 (N,N′- diacetylchitobiose) residues generated by the action of chitinases on chitin. It is known that T6SS in V. cholerae is generally induced by chitin. However, the effect of ChiS activation on T6SS is unknown. Here, we found that ChiS inactivation resulted in impaired bacterial killing and reduced expression of T6SS genes. Active ChiS positively affected T6SS-mediated natural transformation in V. cholerae. ChiS depletion or inactivation also resulted in reduced colonization on insoluble chitin surfaces. Therefore, we have shown that V. cholerae colonization on chitinous surfaces activates ChiS, which promotes T6SSdependent bacterial killing and horizontal gene transfer. We also highlight the importance of chitinases in T6SS upregulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000656
Pages (from-to)751-763
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobiology (United Kingdom)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • ChiS activation
  • Chitin
  • Chitinases
  • T6SS
  • Vibrio cholerae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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