Genetic Divergence of Vibrio vulnificus Clinical Isolates with Mild to Severe Outcomes

Kendall Kling, Sonya A. Trinh, Semen A. Leyn, Dmitry A. Rodionov, Ivan D. Rodionov, Alfa Herrera, Kasey Cervantes, George Pankey, Deborah Ashcraft, Egon A. Ozer, Adam Godzik, Karla J.F. Satchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The marine bacterium Vibrio vulnificus infects humans via food or water contamination, leading to serious manifestations, including gastroenteritis, wound infections, and septic shock. Previous studies suggest phylogenetic Lineage 1 isolates with the vcgC allele of the vcg gene cause human infections, whereas Lineage 2 isolates with the vcgE allele are less pathogenic. Mouse studies suggest that some variants of the primary toxin could drive more serious infections. A collection of 109 V. vulnificus United States human clinical isolates from 2001 to 2019 with paired clinical outcome data were assembled. The isolates underwent whole-genome sequencing, multilocus-sequence phylogenetic analysis, and toxinotype analysis of the multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxin. In contrast to prior reports, clinical isolates were equally distributed between lineages. We found no correlation between phylogenetic lineage or MARTX toxinotype and disease severity. Infections caused by isolates in Lineage 1 demonstrated a borderline statistically significant higher mortality. Lineage 1 isolates had a trend toward a higher proportion of M-type MARTX toxins compared with Lineage 2, although this was not statistically significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • RTX toxins
  • Vibrio vulnificus
  • genome
  • patient outcome
  • phylogeny
  • surveillance
  • toxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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