Virulence of Cholera Toxin Gene-Positive Vibrio cholerae Non-O1/non-O139 Strains Isolated From Environmental Water in Kolkata, India

Eizo Takahashi, Sadayuki Ochi, Tamaki Mizuno, Daichi Morita, Masatomo Morita, Makoto Ohnishi, Hemanta Koley, Moumita Dutta, Goutam Chowdhury, Asish K. Mukhopadhyay, Shanta Dutta, Shin Ichi Miyoshi, Keinosuke Okamoto

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Cholera toxin (CT)-producing Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139 cause acute diarrheal disease and are proven etiological agents of cholera epidemics and pandemics. On the other hand, V. cholerae non-O1/non-O139 are designated as non-agglutinable (NAG) vibrios and are not associated with epidemic cholera. The majority of NAG vibrios do not possess the gene for CT (ctx). In this study, we isolated three NAG strains (strains No. 1, 2, and 3) with ctx from pond water in Kolkata, India, and examined their pathogenic properties. The enterotoxicity of the three NAG strains in vivo was examined using the rabbit ileal intestinal loop test. Strain No. 1 induced the accumulation of fluid in the loop, and the volume of fluid was reduced by simultaneous administration of anti-CT antiserum into the loop. The volume of fluid in the loop caused by strains No. 2 and 3 was small and undetectable, respectively. Then, we cultured these three strains in liquid medium in vitro at two temperatures, 25°C and 37°C, and examined the amount of CT accumulated in the culture supernatant. CT was accumulated in the culture supernatant of strain No.1 when the strain was cultured at 25°C, but that was low when cultured at 37°C. The CT amount accumulated in the culture supernatants of the No. 2 and No. 3 strains was extremely low at both temperature under culture conditions examined. In order to clarify the virulence properties of these strains, genome sequences of the three strains were analyzed. The analysis showed that there was no noticeable difference among three isolates both in the genes for virulence factors and regulatory genes of ctx. However, vibrio seventh pandemic island-II (VSP-II) was retained in strain No. 1, but not in strains No. 2 or 3. Furthermore, it was revealed that the genotype of the B subunit of CT in strain No. 1 was type 1 and those of strains No. 2 and 3 were type 8. Histopathological examination showed the disappearance of villi in intestinal tissue exposed to strain No. 1. In addition, fluid accumulated in the loop due to the action of strain No. 1 had hemolytic activity. This indicated that strain No. 1 may possesses virulence factors to induce severe syndrome when the strain infects humans, and that some strains of NAG vibrio inhabiting pond water in Kolkata have already acquired virulence, which can cause illness in humans. There is a possibility that these virulent NAG vibrios, which have acquired genes encoding factors involved in virulence of V. cholerae O1, may emerge in various parts of the world and cause epidemics in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number726273
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 20 2021


  • NAG Vibrio
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • cholera toxin
  • environmental water
  • gene analysis
  • virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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