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Function of Vibrio vulnificus MARTX toxin during early gut infection

Investigators
Satchell, Karla
Institutions
Northwestern University
Start date
2011
End date
2015
Objective

Vibrio vulnificus is a natural inhabitant of coastal waters, including the US Gulf. The bacterium causes rapid septicemia after consumption of contaminated seafood (especially raw oysters), predominantly in persons with liver dysfunction. Among food-bourne pathogens, V. vulnificus is most notable for its high rates of hospitalization and death. Indeed, V. vulnificus accounts for 1% of deaths from food-bourne illness despite causing only 0.003% of illnesses. Attempts by the FDA to protect consumers by implementation of post- harvest processing mandates met with significant resistance from the shellfish harvesting industry forcing the FDA to review its policies. Thus, the study of V. vulnificus pathogenesis has become a food safety and public policy priority. Recent studies establish that cytotoxicity of V. vulnificus is predominantly associated with a large Multifunctional-Autoprocessing RTX toxin (MARTXVv). In this study, we demonstrate that this toxin is directly linked to pathogenesis by the intragastric route of infection. We propose to study the role of the MARTXVv toxin in pathogenesis using in vivo, cell culture, and biochemical systems. The focus of the proposal will be mechanisms directly impacting early infection after consumption of contaminated food and identification and characterization of specific regions of the toxin linked to tissue damage and immune system evasion.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Project source
View this project
Project number
5R01AI098369-04
Categories
Vibrio
Bacterial Pathogens
Policy and Planning
Commodities
Seafood