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Keywords:

  • horizontal gene transfer;
  • natural transformation

ABSTRACT

Twelve Vibrio cholerae isolates with genes for a type III secretion system (T3SS) were detected among 110 environmental and 14 clinical isolates. T3SS-related genes were distributed among the various serogroups and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of NotI-digested genomes showed genetic diversity in these strains. However, the restriction fragment length polymorphism profiles of the T3SS-related genes had similar patterns. Additionally, naturally competent T3SS-negative V. cholerae incorporated the ca. 47 kb gene cluster of T3SS, which had been integrated into a site on the chromosome by recombination. Therefore, it is suggested that horizontal gene transfer of T3SS-related genes occurs among V. cholerae in natural ecosystems.