Identification of the Vibrio vulnificus fexA gene and evaluation of its influence on virulence

Hyun Mok Ju, In Gyun Hwang, Gun Jo Woo, Tae Sung Kim, Sang Ho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Vibrio vulnificus is the causative agent of foodborne diseases such as gastroenteritis and life-threatening septicemia. Microbial pathogenicity is a complex phenomenon in which expression of numerous virulence factors is frequently controlled by a common regulatory system. In the present study, a mutant exhibiting decreased cytotoxic activity toward intestinal epithelial cells was screened from a library of V. vulnificus mutants constructed by a random transposon mutagenesis. By a transposon-tagging method, an open reading frame, fexA, a homologue of Escherichia coli arcA, was identified and cloned. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of the fexA were analyzed, and the amino acid sequence of FexA from V. vulnificus was 84% to 97% similar to those of ArcA, an aerobic respiration control global regulator, from other Enterobacteriaceae. Functions of the FexA were assessed by the construction of an isogenic mutant, whose fexA gene was inactivated by allelic exchanges, and by evaluating its phenotype changes in vitro and in mice. The disruption of fexA resulted in a significant alteration in growth rate under aerobic as well as anaerobic conditions. When compared to the wild-type, the fexA mutant exhibited a substantial decrease in motility and cytotoxicity toward intestinal epithelial cell lines in vitro. Furthermore, the intraperitoneal LD50 of the fexA mutant was approximately 101-102 times higher than that of parental wild-type. Therefore, it appears that FexA is a novel global regulator controlling numerous genes and contributing to the pathogenesis as well as growth of V. vulnificus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1337-1345
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec


  • Aerobic respiration regulator
  • FexA
  • V. vulnificus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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