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Mai 2024 – Quantao Zhang

Quantao Zhang

Quantao Zhang

German coasts harbor non-O1/non-O139 Vibrio cholerae with clinical virulence gene profiles. Infection, genetics and evolution

Zhang, Q.; Alter, T.; Strauch, E.; Eichhorn, I.; Borowiak, M.; Deneke, C.; Fleischmann, S.
Infection, genetics and evolution (2024) 120. DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2024.105587. Impact Factor: 4,4

Non-O1/non-O139 Vibrio cholerae (NOVC) are ubiquitous in aquatic ecosystems. In rare cases, they can cause intestinal and extra-intestinal infections in human. This ability is associated with various virulence factors. The presence of NOVC in German North Sea and Baltic Sea was observed in previous studies. However, data on virulence characteristics are still scarce. Therefore, this work aimed to investigating the virulence potential of NOVC isolated in these two regions. In total, 31 NOVC strains were collected and subjected to whole genome sequencing. In silico analysis of the pathogenic potential was performed based on the detection of genes involved in colonization and virulence. Phenotypic assays, including biofilm formation, mobility and human serum resistance assays were applied for validation. Associated toxin genes (hlyA, rtxA, chxA and stn), pathogenicity islands (Vibrio pathogenicity island 2 (VPI-II) and Vibrio seventh pathogenicity island 2 (VSP-II)) and secretion systems (Type II, III and VI secretion system) were observed. A maximum likelihood analysis from shared core genes revealed a close relationship between clinical NOVCs published in NCBI and environmental strains from this study. NOVC strains are more mobile at 37 °C than at 25 °C, and 68% of the NOVC strains could form strong biofilms at both temperatures. All tested strains were able to lyse erythrocytes from both human and sheep blood. Additionally, one strain could survive up to 60% and seven strains up to 40% human serum at 37 °C. Overall, the genetic virulence profile as well as the phenotypic virulence characteristics of the investigated NOVC from the German North Sea and Baltic Sea suggest potential human pathogenicity.