An infection of the small intestine by the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae, causes a diarrheal disease called Cholera. This can be deadly if it is untreated within hours. Scientists have discovered that Vibrio Cholerae implants toxins into the cells around by using a tiny spear and then takes their DNA. Bacteria generally take the DNA from other cells in order to make it into their own genomes. This process is called horizontal gene transfer. The cholera bacteria brutal way of doing this. They pierce a hole through neighboring competing cells by using a long tube, and then fill them with toxins and let them die. “Type VI secretion system” (T6SS), is the name of the spear that this bacteria uses. Vibrio Cholerae live in water and attach to tiny crustaceans.
They feed on the chitin that make up their shells. The bacterium goes in to violent survival mode whenever that sugary polymer is available. Different strains of the bacterium from all over the world were grown by an Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne team led by Melanie Blokesch in order to learn how Vibrio Cholerae compete for survival. They grew them on chitin surfaces that are similar to those in their normal habitat. Genetic and bioimaging techniques were used to examine them. They discovered that the survival system is also run by genes that make the DNA ingestion and integration, which guides the bacterium to put together the predatory weapon. After the cells have been stabbed, they release their genetic material, which is then scooped up by bacterium. The transfer genes help them make them more immune to threats, including antibiotics.