We identified five different putative wav gene cluster types, which are responsible for the synthesis of the core oligosaccharide (OS) region of Vibrio cholerae lipopolysaccharide. Preliminary evidence that the genes encoded by this cluster are involved in core OS biosynthesis came from analysis of the recently released O1 El Tor V. cholerae genome sequence and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of O1 El Tor mutant strains defective in three genes (waaF, waaL, and wavB). Investigations of 38 different V. cholerae strains by Southern blotting, PCR, and sequencing analyses showed that the O1 El Tor wav gene cluster type is prevalent among clinical isolates of different serogroups associated with cholera and environmental O1 strains. In contrast, we found differences in the wav gene contents of 19 unrelated non-O1, non-O139 environmental and human isolates not associated with cholera. These strains contained four new wav gene cluster types that differ from each other in distinct gene loci, providing evidence for horizontal transfer of wav genes and for limited structural diversity of the core OS among V. cholerae isolates. Our results show genetic diversity in the core OS biosynthesis gene cluster and predominance of the type 1 wav gene locus in strains associated with clinical cholera, suggesting that a specific core OS structure could contribute to V. cholerae virulence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases