Interbacterial competition and anti‐predatory behavior of environmental Vibrio cholerae strains

Vibrio cholerae isolates responsible for cholera pandemics represent only a small portion of the diverse strains belonging to this species. Indeed, most V. cholerae are encountered in aquatic environments. To better understand the emergence of pandemic lineages, it is crucial to discern what differentiates pandemic strains from their environmental relatives. Here, we studied the interaction of environmental V. cholerae with eukaryotic predators or competing bacteria and tested the contributions of the hemolysin and the type VI secretion system (T6SS) to those interactions. Both of these molecular weapons are constitutively active in environmental isolates but subject to tight regulation in the pandemic clade. We showed that several environmental isolates resist amoebal grazing and that this anti-grazing defense relies on the strains’ T6SS and its actin-cross-linking domain (ACD)-containing tip protein. Strains lacking the ACD were unable to defend themselves against grazing amoebae but maintained high levels of T6SS-dependent interbacterial killing. We explored the latter phenotype through whole-genome sequencing of fourteen isolates, which unveiled a wide array of novel T6SS effector and (orphan) immunity proteins. By combining these in silico predictions with experimental validations, we showed that highly similar but nonidentical immunity proteins were insufficient to provide cross-immunity among those wild strains.


Published in:
Environmental Microbiology, 22, 10, 4485-4504
Year:
Sep 03 2020
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 Record created 2020-09-08, last modified 2020-10-29


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