In situ grazing resistance of Vibrio cholerae in the marine environment.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
FEMS microbiology ecology, 2011, 76 (3), pp. 504 - 512
Issue Date:
2011-06
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Previous laboratory experiments revealed that Vibrio cholerae A1552 biofilms secrete an antiprotozoal factor that prevents Rhynchomonas nasuta from growing and thus prevents grazing losses. The antiprotozoal factor is regulated by the quorum-sensing response regulator, HapR. Here, we investigate whether the antiprotozoal activity is ecologically relevant. Experiments were conducted in the field as well as under field-like conditions in the laboratory to assess the grazing resistance of V. cholerae A1552 and N16961 (natural frameshift mutation in hapR) biofilms to R. nasuta and Cafeteria roenbergensis. In laboratory experiments exposing the predators to V. cholerae grown in seawater containing high and low glucose concentrations, we determined that V. cholerae biofilms showed increased resistance towards grazing by both predators as glucose levels decreased. The relative resistance of the V. cholerae strains to the grazers under semi-field conditions was similar to that observed in situ. Therefore, the antipredator defense is environmentally relevant and not lost when biofilms are grown in an open system in the marine environment. The hapR mutant still exhibited some resistance to both predators and this suggests that V. cholerae may coordinate antipredator defenses by a combination of density-dependent regulation and environmental sensing to protect itself from predators in its natural habitat.
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