Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae, ubiquitous in aquatic environments, is responsible for cholera; humans can become infected after consuming food and/or water contaminated with the bacterium. The underlying basis of persistence of V. cholerae in the aquatic environment remains poorly understood despite decades of research. We recently described a "persister" phenotype of V. cholerae that survived in nutrient-poor "filter sterilized" lake water (FSLW) in excess of 700-days. Previous reports suggest that microorganisms can assume a growth advantage in stationary phase (GASP) phenotype in response to long-term survival during stationary phase of growth. Here we report a V. cholerae GASP phenotype (GASP-700D) that appeared to result from 700 day-old persister cells stored in glycerol broth at -80°C. The GASP-700D, compared to its wild-type N16961, was defective in motility, produced increased biofilm that was independent of vps (p<0.005) and resistant to oxidative stress when grown specifically in FSLW (p<0.005). We propose that V. cholerae GASP-700D represents cell populations that may better fit and adapt to stressful survival conditions while serving as a critical link in the cycle of cholera transmission.
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