High Frequency of Virulence Factor Genestdh,trh, andtlhin Vibrio parahaemolyticus Strains Isolated from a Pristine Estuary

Casandra K. Gutierrez West, Savannah L. Klein, Charles R. Lovell
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology, January 2013, ASM Journals
  • DOI: 10.1128/aem.03792-12

Toxin genes in environmental Vibrio parahaemolyticus

What is it about?

Genes that encode toxins are commonly used to differentiate disease-causing strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus from non-pathogens. We redesigned the PCR primers used to detect these genes and found that they occur in almost half of the environmental strains recovered from an estuary that has almost no direct human impacts. These genes may have functions in the environment that are not related to human disease.

Why is it important?

Detection of toxin genes provides a rapid and reasonably simple means to differentiate pathogenic strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus from non-pathogenic strains. The finding of toxin genes in roughly half of the strains isolated from a pristine estuary and not associated with disease indicates that these genes are much more common than previously thought. This has important implications for assessment of environmental quality and for testing safety of shellfish for human consumption.

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