Novel type of specialized transduction for CTX phi or its satellite phage RS1 mediated by filamentous phage VGJ phi in Vibrio cholerae.

Academic Article


  • The main virulence factor of Vibrio cholerae, the cholera toxin, is encoded by the ctxAB operon, which is contained in the genome of the lysogenic filamentous phage CTX phi. This phage transmits ctxAB genes between V. cholerae bacterial populations that express toxin-coregulated pilus (TCP), the CTX phi receptor. In investigating new forms of ctxAB transmission, we found that V. cholerae filamentous phage VGJ phi, which uses the mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin (MSHA) pilus as a receptor, transmits CTX phi or its satellite phage RS1 by an efficient and highly specific TCP-independent mechanism. This is a novel type of specialized transduction consisting in the site-specific cointegration of VGJ phi and CTX phi (or RS1) replicative forms to produce a single hybrid molecule, which generates a single-stranded DNA hybrid genome that is packaged into hybrid viral particles designated HybP phi (for the VGJ phi/CTX phi hybrid) and HybRS phi (for the VGJ phi/RS1 hybrid). The hybrid phages replicate by using the VGJ phi replicating functions and use the VGJ phi capsid, retaining the ability to infect via MSHA. The hybrid phages infect most tested strains more efficiently than CTX phi, even under in vitro optimal conditions for TCP expression. Infection and lysogenization with HybP phi revert the V. cholerae live attenuated vaccine strain 1333 to virulence. Our results reinforce that TCP is not indispensable for the acquisition of CTX phi. Thus, we discuss an alternative to the current accepted evolutionary model for the emergence of new toxigenic strains of V. cholerae and the importance of our findings for the development of an environmentally safer live attenuated cholera vaccine.
  • Published In


  • Bacteriophages, Cholera Toxin, Cholera Vaccines, Gene Expression Regulation, Viral, Gene Transfer, Horizontal, Lysogeny, Plasmids, Transduction, Genetic, Vibrio cholerae, Virulence
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Campos J; Martínez E; Marrero K; Silva Y; Rodríguez BL; Suzarte E; Ledón T; Fando R
  • Start Page

  • 7231
  • End Page

  • 7240
  • Volume

  • 185
  • Issue

  • 24