Diversity and distribution of cholix toxin, a novel ADP-ribosylating factor from Vibrio cholerae

A.E. Purdy, D. Balch, M.L. Lizárraga-Partida, M.S. Islam, J. Martinez-Urtaza, A. Huq, R.R. Colwell, D.H. Bartlett

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Non-toxigenic non-O1, non-O139 Vibrio cholerae strains isolated from both environmental and clinical settings carry a suite of virulence factors aside from cholera toxin. Among V. cholerae strains isolated from coastal waters of southern California, this includes cholix toxin, an ADP-ribosylating factor that is capable of halting protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells. The prevalence of the gene encoding cholix toxin, chxA, was assessed among a collection of 155 diverse V. cholerae strains originating from both clinical and environmental settings in Bangladesh and Mexico and other countries around the globe. The chxA gene was present in 47% of 83 non-O1, non-O139 strains and 16% of 72 O1/O139 strains screened as part of this study. A total of 86 chxA gene sequences were obtained, and phylogenetic analysis revealed that they fall into two distinct clades. These two clades were also observed in the phylogenies of several housekeeping genes, suggesting that the divergence observed in chxA extends to other regions of the V. cholerae genome, and most likely has arisen from vertical descent rather than horizontal transfer. Our results clearly indicate that ChxA is a major toxin of V. cholerae with a worldwide distribution that is preferentially associated with non-pandemic strains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-207
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


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