Vibrio parahaemolyticus

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Vibrio parahaemolyticus
Vibrio parahaemolyticus 01.jpg
SEM image of V. parahaemolyticus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class:Gamma Proteobacteria
Family: Vibrionaceae
Genus: Vibrio
Species:V. parahaemolyticus
Binomial name
Vibrio parahaemolyticus
(Fujino et al. 1951)
Sakazaki et al. 1963

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a curved, rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacterium found in brackish, [1] saltwater, which, when ingested, causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. [1] V. parahaemolyticus is oxidase positive, facultatively aerobic, and does not form spores. Like other members of the genus Vibrio , this species is motile, with a single, polar flagellum. [2]

Seawater Water from a sea or ocean

Seawater, or salt water, is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5%. This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately 35 grams (1.2 oz) of dissolved salts. Average density at the surface is 1.025 kg/L. Seawater is denser than both fresh water and pure water because the dissolved salts increase the mass by a larger proportion than the volume. The freezing point of seawater decreases as salt concentration increases. At typical salinity, it freezes at about −2 °C (28 °F). The coldest seawater ever recorded was in 2010, in a stream under an Antarctic glacier, and measured −2.6 °C (27.3 °F). Seawater pH is typically limited to a range between 7.5 and 8.4. However, there is no universally accepted reference pH-scale for seawater and the difference between measurements based on different reference scales may be up to 0.14 units.

An oxidase is an enzyme that catalyzes an oxidation-reduction reaction, especially one involving dioxygen (O2) as the electron acceptor. In reactions involving donation of a hydrogen atom, oxygen is reduced to water (H2O) or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Some oxidation reactions, such as those involving monoamine oxidase or xanthine oxidase, typically do not involve free molecular oxygen.

Aerobic organism

An aerobic organism or aerobe is an organism that can survive and grow in an oxygenated environment. In contrast, an anaerobic organism (anaerobe) is any organism that does not require oxygen for growth. Some anaerobes react negatively or even die if oxygen is present.



While infection can occur by the fecal-oral route, ingestion of bacteria in raw or undercooked seafood, usually oysters, is the predominant cause of the acute gastroenteritis caused by V. parahaemolyticus. [3] Wound infections also occur, but are less common than seafood-borne disease. The disease mechanism of V. parahaemolyticus infections has not been fully elucidated. [4]

Gastroenteritis Inflammation of the stomach and small intestine

Gastroenteritis, also known as infectious diarrhea, is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract—the stomach and small intestine. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Fever, lack of energy and dehydration may also occur. This typically lasts less than two weeks. It is not related to influenza, though it has been called the "stomach flu".

Clinical isolates usually possess a pathogenicity island (PAI) on the second chromosome. The PAI can be acquired by horizontal gene transfer and contains genes for several virulence factors. Two fully sequenced variants exist of the V. parahaemolyticus PAI with distinctly different lineages. [5] [6] Each PAI variant contains a genetically-distinct Type III Secretion System (T3SS), which is capable of injecting virulence proteins into host cells to disrupt host cell functions or cause cell death by apoptosis. The two known T3SS variants on V. parahaemolyticus chromosome 2 are known as T3SS2α and T3SS2β. These variants correspond to the two known PAI variants. Aside from the T3SS, two genes encoding well-characterized virulence proteins are typically found on the PAI, the thermostable direct hemolysin gene (tdh) and/or the tdh-related hemolysin gene (trh). Strains possessing one or both of these hemolysins exhibit beta-hemolysis on blood agar plates. A distinct correlation seems to exist between presence of tdh, trh, and the two known T3SS variants: observations have shown T3SS2α correlating with tdh+/trh- strains, while T3SS2β correlates with tdh-/trh+ strains. [7]

Pathogenicity islands (PAIs), as termed in 1990, are a distinct class of genomic islands acquired by microorganisms through horizontal gene transfer. Pathogenicity islands are found in both animal and plant pathogens. Additionally, PAIs are found in both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. They are transferred through horizontal gene transfer events such as transfer by a plasmid, phage, or conjugative transposon. Therefore, PAIs contribute to microorganisms' ability to evolve.

Horizontal gene transfer A type of nonhereditary genetic change involving swapping of DNA or RNA

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) or lateral gene transfer (LGT) is the movement of genetic material between unicellular and/or multicellular organisms other than by the ("vertical") transmission of DNA from parent to offspring (reproduction). HGT is an important factor in the evolution of many organisms.

Hemolysis or haemolysis, also known by several other names, is the rupturing (lysis) of red blood cells (erythrocytes) and the release of their contents (cytoplasm) into surrounding fluid. Hemolysis may occur in vivo or in vitro.

Signs and Symptoms

The incubation period of about 24 hours is followed by explosive, watery or bloody diarrhea accompanied by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and sometimes fever. Symptoms typically resolve within 72 hours, but can persist for up to 10 days in immunocompromised individuals. As the vast majority of cases of V. parahaemolyticus food infection are self-limiting, treatment is not typically necessary. In severe cases, fluid and electrolyte replacement is indicated. [2]

Incubation period time between an infection and the onset of disease symptoms

Incubation period is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic organism, a chemical, or radiation, and when symptoms and signs are first apparent. In a typical infectious disease, incubation period signifies the period taken by the multiplying organism to reach a threshold necessary to produce symptoms in the host.

Diarrhea Loose or liquid bowel movements

Diarrhea is the condition of having at least three loose, liquid, or watery bowel movements each day. It often lasts for a few days and can result in dehydration due to fluid loss. Signs of dehydration often begin with loss of the normal stretchiness of the skin and irritable behaviour. This can progress to decreased urination, loss of skin color, a fast heart rate, and a decrease in responsiveness as it becomes more severe. Loose but non-watery stools in babies who are exclusively breastfed, however, are normal.

Nausea medical symptom or condition

Nausea is an unpleasant, diffuse sensation of unease and discomfort, often perceived as an urge to vomit. While not painful, it can be a debilitating symptom if prolonged, and has been described as placing discomfort on the chest, upper abdomen, or back of the throat.


Outbreaks tend to be concentrated along coastal regions during the summer and early fall when higher water temperatures favor higher levels of bacteria. Seafood most often implicated includes squid, mackerel, tuna, sardines, crab, conch, shrimp, and bivalves, such as oysters and clams. In the Northeast United States, there is an increasing incidence of illness due to oysters contaminated with V. parahaemolyticus, which is associated with warmer waters from the Gulf of Mexico moving northward. [8]

Bivalvia class of molluscs

Bivalvia, in previous centuries referred to as the Lamellibranchiata and Pelecypoda, is a class of marine and freshwater molluscs that have laterally compressed bodies enclosed by a shell consisting of two hinged parts. Bivalves as a group have no head and they lack some usual molluscan organs like the radula and the odontophore. They include the clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops, and numerous other families that live in saltwater, as well as a number of families that live in freshwater. The majority are filter feeders. The gills have evolved into ctenidia, specialised organs for feeding and breathing. Most bivalves bury themselves in sediment where they are relatively safe from predation. Others lie on the sea floor or attach themselves to rocks or other hard surfaces. Some bivalves, such as the scallops and file shells, can swim. The shipworms bore into wood, clay, or stone and live inside these substances.

Additionally, swimming or working in affected areas can lead to infections of the eyes, ears, [9] or open cuts and wounds. Following Hurricane Katrina, 22 wounds were infected with Vibrio, three of which were caused by V. parahaemolyticus, and two of these led to death.


Hosts of V. parahaemolyticus include:

Related Research Articles

<i>Vibrio cholerae</i> species of bacterium

Vibrio cholerae is a Gram-negative, comma-shaped bacterium. The bacterium's natural habitat is brackish or saltwater. Some strains of V. cholerae cause the disease cholera. V. cholerae is a facultative anaerobe and has a flagellum at one cell pole as well as pili. V. cholerae can undergo respiratory and fermentative metabolism. When ingested, V. cholerae can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in a host within several hours to 2–3 days of ingestion. V. cholerae was first isolated as the cause of cholera by Italian anatomist Filippo Pacini in 1854, but his discovery was not widely known until Robert Koch, working independently 30 years later, publicized the knowledge and the means of fighting the disease.

<i>Vibrio</i> genus of bacteria

Vibrio is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria, possessing a curved-rod shape, several species of which can cause foodborne infection, usually associated with eating undercooked seafood. Typically found in salt water, Vibrio species are facultative anaerobes that test positive for oxidase and do not form spores. All members of the genus are motile and have polar flagella with sheaths. Vibrio species typically possess two chromosomes, which is unusual for bacteria. Each chromosome has a distinct and independent origin of replication, and are conserved together over time in the genus. Recent phylogenies have been constructed based on a suite of genes.

Secretion is the movement of material from one point to another, e.g. secreted chemical substance from a cell or gland. In contrast, excretion, is the removal of certain substances or waste products from a cell or organism. The classical mechanism of cell secretion is via secretory portals at the cell plasma membrane called porosomes. Porosomes are permanent cup-shaped lipoprotein structure at the cell plasma membrane, where secretory vesicles transiently dock and fuse to release intra-vesicular contents from the cell.

<i>Vibrio vulnificus</i> species of bacterium

Vibrio vulnificus is a species of Gram-negative, motile, curved rod-shaped (bacillus), pathogenic bacteria of the genus Vibrio. Present in marine environments such as estuaries, brackish ponds, or coastal areas, V. vulnificus is related to V. cholerae, the causative agent of cholera.

<i>Francisella tularensis</i> species of bacterium

Francisella tularensis is a pathogenic species of Gram-negative coccobacillus, an aerobic bacterium. It is non-spore forming, non-motile and the causative agent of tularemia, the pneumonic form of which is often lethal without treatment. It is a fastidious, facultative intracellular bacterium which requires cysteine for growth. Due to its low infectious dose, ease of spread by aerosol, and high virulence, F. tularensis is classified as a Tier 1 Select Agent by the U.S. government, along with other potential agents of bioterrorism such as Yersinia pestis, Bacillus anthracis and Ebola virus. When found in nature, Francisella tularensis can survive for several weeks at low temperatures in animal carcasses, soil, and water. In laboratory, F. tularensis appears as small rods, and is grown best at 35-37°C.

Virulence factors are molecules produced by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that add to their effectiveness and enable them to achieve the following:

Hemolysins or haemolysins are lipids and proteins that cause lysis of red blood cells by destroying their cell membrane. Although the lytic activity of some microbe-derived hemolysins on red blood cells may be of great importance for nutrient acquisition, many hemolysins produced by pathogens do not cause significant destruction of red blood cells during infection. However, hemolysins are often capable of lysing red blood cells in vitro.

Listeriolysin O (LLO) is a hemolysin produced by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, the pathogen responsible for causing listeriosis. The toxin may be considered a virulence factor, since it is crucial for the virulence of L. monocytogenes.

<i>Rhodococcus equi</i> species of bacterium

Rhodococcus equi is a Gram-positive coccobacillus bacterium. The organism is commonly found in dry and dusty soil and can be important for diseases of domesticated animals. The frequency of infection can reach near 60%. R. equi is an important pathogen causing pneumonia in foals. Since 2008, R. equi has been known to infect wild boar and domestic pigs. R. equi can infect humans. At-risk groups are immunocompromised people, such as HIV-AIDS patients or transplant recipients. Rhodococcus infection in these patients resemble clinical and pathological signs of pulmonary tuberculosis. It is facultative intracellular.

<i>Clithon retropictum</i> species of mollusc

Clithon retropictum is a species of freshwater and brackish water snail with an operculum, a nerite. It is an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Neritidae, the nerites.

The RTX toxin superfamily is a group of cytolysins and cytotoxins produced by bacteria. There are over 1000 known members with a variety of functions. The RTX family is defined by two common features: characteristic repeats in the toxin protein sequences, and extracellular secretion by the type I secretion systems (T1SS). The name RTX refers to the glycine and aspartate-rich repeats located at the C-terminus of the toxin proteins, which facilitate export by a dedicated T1SS encoded within the rtx operon.

<i>Nerita albicilla</i> species of mollusc

Nerita albicilla, common name the blotched nerite, is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Neritidae.

<i>Vibrio anguillarum</i> species of bacterium

Vibrio anguillarum is a species of Gram-negative bacteria with a curved-rod shape and one polar flagellum. Classified under three biotypes, before scientists discovered that different strains of Vibrio anguillarum could be differentiated using serotypes. Vibrio anguillarum are halophiles that prefer warmer temperatures and neutral pH conditions. Vibrio anguillarum are able to compete for iron before the host can absorb it through iron acquisition mechanisms. It is an important pathogen of cultured salmonid fish, and causes the disease known as vibriosis or red pest of eels. This disease has the ability to impact brackish water, marine water, and freshwater species and may greatly impact cultured salmonid fish. Vibriosis has been observed in salmon, bream, eel, mullet, catfish, oysters, tilapia, and shrimp amongst others. The bacteria is most prevalent in late summer in salt or brackish water and gene transmission is mainly horizontal. Infection in humans is most commonly through the skin, but also through the mouth via contaminated food or water. It is widely distributed across the world. Vibrio anguillarum are damaging to the economy of aquaculture sector and fishing industries.

Helicobacter pylori virulence factor CagA is a 120–145kDa protein encoded on the 40kb cag pathogenicity island (PAI). H. pylori strains can be divided into CagA positive or negative strains. Approximately 60% of H. pylori strains isolated in Western countries carry cag PAI, whereas almost all of the East Asian isolates are cag PAI-positive

Vibrio campbellii is a Gram-negative, curved rod-shaped, marine bacterium closely related to its sister species, Vibrio harveyi. It is an emerging pathogen in aquatic organisms.

Vibrio furnissii is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium. Its type strain is ATCC 35016. V. furnissii is aerogenic, and uses L-rhamnose, L-arginine, L-arabinose, maltose, and D-mannitol, but not L-lysine, L-ornithine, or lactose. It has been isolated from patients with gastroenteritis, bacteremia, skin lesions, and septicemia.

Vibrio tubiashii is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped (0.5 um-1.5 um) marine bacterium that uses a single polar flagellum for motility. It has been implicated in several diseases of marine organisms.


VqmR small RNA was discovered in Vibrio cholerae, a bacterium which can cause cholera, using differential RNA sequencing (sRNA-seq) under conditions of low and high cell density which were being used to study quorum sensing (QS). QS controls virulence and biofilm formation in Vibrio cholerae; it has been shown previously that it is directed by the Qrr sRNAs. VqmR has been shown to repress the expression of multiple mRNAs including the rtx toxin genes and the vpsT, which is required for biofilm formation. In fact, VqmR which is highly conserved in vibrionaceae, was shown to strongly inhibit biofilm formation by repressing the vpsT gene; it could be the link between biofilm formation and QS.

Bacterial secretion system

Bacterial secretion systems are protein complexes present on the cell membranes of bacteria for secretion of substances. Specifically, they are the cellular devices used by pathogenic bacteria to secrete their virulence factors to invade the host cells. They can be classified into different types based on their specific structure, composition and activity. These major differences can be distinguished between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. But the classification is by no means clear and complete. There are at least eight types specific to Gram-negative bacteria, four to Gram-positive bacteria, while two are common to both. Generally, proteins can be secreted through two different processes. One process is a one-step mechanism in which proteins from the cytoplasm of bacteria are transported and delivered directly through the cell membrane into the host cell. Another involves a two-step activity in which the proteins are first transported out of the inner cell membrane, then deposited in the periplasm, and finally through the outer cell membrane into the host cell.


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