Regulation systems of protease and hemolysin production in Vibrio vulnificus

Abdelaziz Elgaml, Shin Ichi Miyoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Vibrio vulnificus, a gram-negative halophilic estuarine bacterium, is an opportunistic human pathogen that causes rapidly progressive fatal septicemia and necrotizing wound infection. This species also causes hemorrhagic septicemia called vibriosis in cultured eels. It has been proposed that a range of virulence factors play roles in pathogenesis during human and/or eel infection. Among these factors, a metalloprotease (V. vulnificus protease [VVP]) and a cytolytic toxin (V. vulnificus hemolysin [VVH]) are of significant importance. VVP elicits the characteristic edematous and hemorrhagic skin damage, whereas VVH exhibits powerful hemolytic and cytolytic activities and contributes to bacterial invasion from the intestine to the blood stream. In addition, a few V. vulnificus strains isolated from diseased eels have recently been found to produce a serine protease designated as V. vulnificus serine protease (VvsA) instead of VVP. Similarly to VVP, VvsA may possess various toxic activities such as collagenolytic, cytotoxic and edema-forming activity. In this review, regulation of V. vulnificus VVP, VVH and VvsA is clarified in terms of expression at the mRNA and protein levels. The explanation is given on the basis of the quorum sensing system, which is dependent on bacterial cell density. In addition, the roles of environmental factors and global regulators, such as histone-like nucleoid structuring protein, cyclic adeno monophosphate receptor protein, RpoS, HlyU, Fur, ToxRS, AphB and LeuO, in this regulation are outlined. The cumulative impact of these regulatory systems on the pathogenicity of V. vulnificus is here delineated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Vibrio vulnificus
  • global regulator
  • hemolysin
  • protease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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