There is a fundamental gap in our understanding of how horizontal gene transfer contributes to the enormous range of genetic variations that are observed among bacteria. Our model organism is Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. V. cholerae enters a natural competence state for the uptake of DNA in response to environmental signals. Our objective is to better understand the regulatory circuits that drive competence in this organism and the mechanistic aspects of the DNA transfer and uptake process.