The Bacteria That Causes Cholera Preserves The Lives Of Insects

The Bacteria That Causes Cholera Preserves The Lives Of Insects

We have all heard of the disease known as cholera. Just to review, cholera is a virulent disease that causes humans to become extremely ill. Sometimes cholera can be serious enough to kill humans within hours of contracting the disease. Once cholera-causing bacteria find a human host, the bacteria works to destroy the human host. Since cholera is such a dangerous disease you would think that other living organisms that became hosts to cholera bacteria would also fall ill as a result. However, researchers are learning that insects are able to survive once they become hosts for cholera bacteria. In fact, once cholera bacteria infects an insect, the bacteria work to preserve the insect. As far as insects go, cholera is a life-enhancing disease.

Researcher Layla Kamareddine of the Boston Children’s Hospital in the United States has been the first to discover the unexpected effect that cholera causing bacteria has on insect hosts. The bacteria that causes the disease is known as Vibrio cholerae. Once Vibrio cholerae bacteria infects an insect, the bacteria alters its function in order to allow an insect to continue living without any negative physiological side effects.

Once cholera causing bacteria finds its way into an organism’s body it must survive in the small intestine. Water is the only other type of environment that cholera bacteria can survive in. This is why it is in cholera’s best interest to keep their aquatic insect hosts alive. Genetic research on fruit flies, which were used as stand-ins for aquatic insects, shows that V.cholerae survives in insect intestines by altering its own gene expression. Quorum sensing occurs when a bacteria alters its gene expression in order to survive within particular environments. Once the bacteria enters an insects body, the bacteria learns how to survive in the new environment. In order for V.cholerae bacteria to survive inside of insects, it must not produce certain toxins. These toxins are what cause humans to fall ill. The bacteria also consumes far less nutrients in an insect’s body, and the bacteria also works with an insect’s natural physical functions in order to protect an insect host against harsh external environments.

Do you think that these findings will be used to benefit humanity at some point in the future?


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