During our research into the pathogenesis of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, we noticed that the concentration of serum added to the tissue culture medium (Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium: DMEM) greatly affected its growth. Using gel filtration column chromatography, we clearly demonstrated that serum contains not only a bacterial growth inhibitor (BGI) but also a bacterial growth enhancer (BGE) for Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Our data indicate that the BGI is transferrin, whereas the BGE seems to be an undescribed small molecule (molecular weight of 1,000–3,000 Da) and is associated with magnesium and molybdenum ions. BGE activity was not decreased by heat treatment (at 60 or 100°C for 30 min) and affected the growth rate of a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The addition of EDTA into DMEM lowered the growth rate, whereas the addition of BGE restored the growth activity. This study suggests that sera contain a previously undescribed small BGE molecule.
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This work was supported by Grants-In-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas and for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan.
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