Vibrio vulnificus , an emergent human pathogen, causes fulminant septicemia with a mortality rate of over 50%. Unlike for other pathogenic Vibrio species, the factors to conclusively indicate the virulence potential of V. vulnificus strains remain largely unknown. Understanding the pathogenesis of this bacterium at a molecular level is severely hindered by inefficiencies in transformation, for instance, due to the presence of a periplasmic nuclease, Vvn. Currently, successful transformation of V. vulnificus is nearly impossible due to lack of mobilizable plasmids for the bacterium, requiring (i) very high DNA concentrations, (ii) plasmid linearization, (iii) development of novel V. vulnificus‐derived plasmids, or (iv) time‐consuming conjugation‐based methods. To overcome these limitations, we describe a rapid, efficient, and reproducible electroporation protocol to effectively transform widely available plasmids, with different copy numbers and antibiotic resistances, into phylogenetically distant strains of V. vulnificus . Cells are made competent in high concentrations of sucrose devoid of cations and recovered from electroporation using a high‐salinity recovery medium. Compared to existing methods for transformation of V. vulnificus , significantly higher efficiencies are obtained using this improved protocol. Rapid and effective transformations can markedly improve molecular analyses of V. vulnificus leading to a greater understanding of its virulence potential. This is crucial to develop rapid detection methods which have the potential to prevent future outbreaks. The electroporation protocol described here may be particularly useful for optimizing transformation of other nuclease‐producing bacteria. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Basic Protocol 1 : Preparation of competent cells

Basic Protocol 2 : Transformation of cells by electroporation

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