Coastal marine Vibrio cholerae populations usually exhibit high genetic diversity. To assess the genetic diversity of abundant V. cholerae non-O1/non-O139 populations in the Central European lake Neusiedler See, we performed a phylogenetic analysis based on recA, toxR, gyrB and pyrH loci sequenced for 472 strains. The strains were isolated from three ecologically different habitats in a lake that is a hot-spot of migrating birds and an important bathing water. We also analyzed 76 environmental and human V. cholerae non-O1/non-O139 isolates from Austria and other European countries and added sequences of seven genome-sequenced strains. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the lake supports a unique endemic diversity of V. cholerae that is particularly rich in the reed stand. Phylogenetic trees revealed that many V. cholerae isolates from European countries were genetically related to the strains present in the lake belonging to statistically supported monophyletic clades. We hypothesize that the observed phenomena can be explained by the high degree of genetic recombination that is particularly intensive in the reed stand, acting along with the long distance transfer of strains most probably via birds and/or humans. Thus, the Neusiedler See may serve as a bioreactor for the appearance of new strains with new (pathogenic) properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics