Changing genotypes of cholera toxin (CT) of Vibrio cholerae O139 in Bangladesh and description of three new CT genotypes

Nurul A Bhuiyan, Suraia Nusrin, Munirul Alam, Masatomo Morita, Haruo Watanabe, Thandavarayan Ramamurthy, Alejandro Cravioto, Gopinath Balakrish Nair
FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 2009, 57 (2): 136-41
We determined the genotype of cholera toxin by amplifying and sequencing the B-subunit in a sequential collection of 90 strains of Vibrio cholerae O139 isolated over the past 13 years since its first description in 1992. Representative strains isolated during 1993-1997 harboured ctxB of El Tor type (genotype 3). Twenty-six strains isolated during 1999, 2001, 2005 and three strains isolated in 1998, 2000 and 2002 were identified to belong to new ctxB genotypes 4 and 5, respectively. Genotype 5 was similar to genotype 1 except at position 28 (D-->A). The genotype 6 was similar to genotype 4 except at position 34 (H-->P). The implication of switch in terms of function of the toxin and its impact on human disease is unclear. How this change has influenced their prevalence relative to that of V. cholerae O1 in human infection is also not clear. The other common virulence gene clusters including the Vibrio pathogenicity island-1, Vibrio seventh pandemic island (VSP)-I and VSP-II of V. cholerae O139 did not show any remarkable difference from that of the O1 El Tor strains. Overall, the majority of the O139 strains tested in this study were similar to the El Tor strains but had altered ctxB genotype. This change and the impact that it causes to the epidemiology of cholera caused by O139 should be closely monitored.

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