Coral-mucus-associated Vibrio integrons in the Great Barrier Reef: genomic hotspots for environmental adaptation

Jeremy E. Koenig, David G. Bourne, Bruce Curtis, Marlena Dlutek, H. W. Stokes, W. Ford Doolittle, Yan Boucher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Integron cassette arrays in a dozen cultivars of the most prevalent group of Vibrio isolates obtained from mucus expelled by a scleractinian coral (Pocillopora damicornis) colony living on the Great Barrier Reef were sequenced and compared. Although all cultivars showed >99% identity across recA, pyrH and rpoB genes, no two had more than 10% of their integron-associated gene cassettes in common, and some individuals shared cassettes exclusively with distantly-related members of the genus. Of cassettes shared within the population, a number appear to have been transferred between Vibrio isolates, as assessed by phylogenetic analysis. Prominent among the mucus Vibrio cassettes with potentially inferable functions are acetyltransferases, some with close similarity to known antibiotic-resistance determinants. A subset of these potential resistance cassettes were shared exclusively between the mucus Vibrio cultivars, Vibrio coral pathogens and human pathogens, thus illustrating a direct link between these microbial niches through exchange of integron-associated gene cassettes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-972
Number of pages11
JournalISME Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • coral
  • gene cassettes
  • integrons
  • microbial defense
  • Vibrio

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