Drosophila has been used to model infection by Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera.
Infection by feeding is commonly used; with feeding protocols infection is confined to the gut and disruption of the brush border of the intestinal epithelium is observed. Death is preceded by weight loss. Ingestion of cholera toxin alone results in intestinal disruption and weight loss, but is not lethal; thus, other virulence factors may contribute to the response in flies.
Introduction of the V. cholerae virulence gene Vcho\ctxA into flies has also been used to model this disease. Vcho\ctxA has been shown to activate Gαs pathways in the early Drosophila embryo. When expressed in the fly gut, Vcho\ctxA induces junctional damage, weight loss, and dye leakage. This model has been used to characterize genetic interactions that ameliorate Vcho\ctxA-associated phenotypes in flies.
Mutations in a number of genes are observed to impact resistance to V. cholerae, including Gαs (a G protein subunit), rut (an adenylyl cyclase), SK (a calcium activated potassium channel), genes involved in programmed cell death, and genes involved in the immune deficiency signaling pathway. Ingestion of a potassium channel blocker in addition to the V. cholerae protects wild-type flies against death. Processes related to infection, such as quorum sensing and biofilm production, have been investigated in the fly model.
[updated May 2021 by FlyBase; FBrf0222196]
Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Approximately one in 10 (5-10%) infected persons will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours. (https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/general/index.html)
An estimated 3-5 million cases of cholera and over 100,000 deaths occur each year around the world. (https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/general/index.html