Occurrence and expression of luminescence in Vibrio cholerae

Christopher J. Grim, Elisa Taviani, Munirul Alam, Anwar Huq, R. Bradley Sack, Rita R. Colwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Several species of the genus Vibrio, including Vibrio cholerae, are bioluminescent or contain bioluminescent strains. Previous studies have reported that only 10% of V. cholerae strains are luminescent. Analysis of 224 isolates of non-O1/non-O139 V. cholerae collected from Chesapeake Bay, MD, revealed that 52% (116/224) were luminescent when an improved assay method was employed and 58% (130/224) of isolates harbored the luxA gene. In contrast, 334 non-O1/non-O139 V. cholerae strains isolated from two rural provinces in Bangladesh yielded only 21 (6.3%) luminescent and 35 (10.5%) luxA+ isolates. An additional 270 clinical and environmental isolates of V. cholerae serogroups O1 and O139 were tested, and none were luminescent or harbored luxA. These results indicate that bioluminescence may be a trait specific for non-O1/non-O139 V. cholerae strains that frequently occur in certain environments. Luminescence expression patterns of V. cholerae were also investigated, and isolates could be grouped based on expression level. Several strains with defective expression of the lux operon, including natural K variants, were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-715
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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