Free living bacteria commonly face changing environments and are used to cope with varying conditions. Vibrio cholerae is one example of an aquatic bacterium which usually grows on crustacean shells, but is also able to colonize the mammalian gut. Antibiotic treatments also challenge bacteria to develop new survival strategies. Some of these strategies involve mechanisms allowing bacteria to modify their genome, by transiently increasing their mutation rates, inducing re-arrangements or by horizontal gene transfer (HGT).
I focus on the effect of changing environments on the induction of V. cholerae stress responses (in particular the SOS response), subsequent genome rearrangements, and antibiotic resistance.