Cell-to-cell action in cholera

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Science  13 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6398, pp. 142-143
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6398.142-a

The pathogenicity of Vibrio cholerae (illustrated at left) is reduced by removal of a commensal bacterium.


Gut bacteria are competitive. They jostle for niches and nutrients by means of a variety of mechanisms. Gram-negative bacteria devote a lot of resources to the comparatively large (up to 600 nm) type 6 secretion system (T6SS) used to stab neighboring bacterial and host cells. Contrary to expectations, Fast et al. discovered that commensal bacteria are not always protective against T6SS-toting pathogens. Vibrio cholerae T6SS contributes to host death in the fly model of cholera. Acetobacter pasteurianus is a common, normally harmless, commensal in the fly gut. If A. pasteurianus is removed, surprisingly, V. cholera is enfeebled, too. This effect seems to be mediated by signaling through the immune deficiency (IMD) pathway of the fly. The IMD is “primed” by the commensal organism.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1802165115 (2018).

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