Tuesday, 3 February 2015

How Vibrio cholera steals DNA

Scientists have uncovered the unconventional way that the cholera bacterium stabs and kills other bacteria to steal their DNA, making it potentially more virulent. This mechanism, known as "horizontal gene transfer," allows the cholera bacterium to become more virulent by absorbing the traits of its prey. The study is published in Science.

Cholera is caused when the bacterium Vibrio cholerae infects the small intestine. The disease is characterized by acute watery diarrhea resulting in severe dehydration.

For further details see:

S. Borgeaud, L. C. Metzger, T. Scrignari, M. Blokesch. The type VI secretion system of Vibrio cholerae fosters horizontal gene transfer. Science, 2015; 347 (6217): 63 DOI: 10.1126/science.1260064

 

Posted by Tim Sandle