2Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland Waters, Russian Academy of Sciences, 152742 Borok, Yaroslavl Region, Russia; fax: +7 (48547) 24-042
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received November 24, 2014; Revision received February 19, 2015
The role of chitin and its hydrolysis products generated by Vibrio cholerae chitinases in mechanisms of its adaptation in water environments, metabolism, preservation, acquisition of pathogenic potential, and its epidemiological value are reviewed. Chitin utilization by V. cholerae as a source of energy, carbon, and nitrogen is described. Chitin association promotes biofilm formation on natural chitinous surfaces, increasing V. cholerae resistance to adverse factors in ecological niches: the human body and water environments with its inhabitants. Hydrolytic enzymes regulated by the corresponding genes result in complete chitin biodegradation by a chitinolytic catabolic cascade. Consequences of V. cholerae cell and chitin interaction at different hierarchical levels include metabolic and physiological cell reactions such as chemotaxis, cell division, biofilm formation, induction of genetic competence, and commensalic and symbiotic mutual relations with higher organisms, nutrient cycle, pathogenicity for humans, and water organisms that is an example of successful interrelation of bacteria and substratum in the ecology of the microorganism.
KEY WORDS: Vibrio cholerae eltor, chitinolytic cascade, genetic regulation, ecology