AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

The fish pathogen Francisella orientalis: characterisation and vaccine development

by J G Ramirez Paredes

Institution: University of Stirling
Year: 2015
Keywords: Francisella noatunensis orientalis; Vaccine development; Francisellosis in fish; Tilapia transcriptomics; Tilapia bacterial diseases; Francisella orientalis; red Nile tilapia; Tilapia Immunology; Taxogenomics; ELISA; Next generation sequencing; Bacterial genomics; Biolog GN2 plates; Genus Francisella; Francisella tularensis; Francisella orientallis; Nile tilapia; Fishes Immunology
Record ID: 1397981
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/21822


Piscine francisellosis in an infectious emerging bacterial disease that affects several marine and fresh water fish species worldwide, including farmed salmon, wild and farmed cod, farmed tilapia and several ornamental species, for which no commercial treatment or vaccine exists. During 2011 and the first semester of 2012, chronic episodes of moderate to high levels of mortality with nonspecific clinical signs, and widespread multifocal white nodules as the most consistent gross pathological lesion were experienced by farmed tilapia fingerlings at two different locations in Northern Europe. In this study such outbreaks of granulomatous disease were diagnosed as francisellosis with a genus-specific PCR, and 10 new isolates of the bacterium including the one named STIR-GUS-F2f7, were recovered on a new selective “cysteine blood-tilapia” agar and cysteine heart agar with bovine haemoglobin. Ultrastructural observations of the pathogen in Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) tissues suggested the secretion of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) by the bacterial cells during infection in these fish. This represented the first documented report of isolation of pathogenic Francisella strains from tilapia in Europe. The phenotypic characterisation indicated that isolates recovered were able to metabolise dextrin, N-acetyl-D glucosamine, D-fructose, α-D-glucose, D-mannose, methyl pyruvate, acetic acid, α-keto butyric acid, L-alaninamide, L-alanine, L-alanylglycine, L-asparagine, L-glutamic acid, L-proline, L-serine, L-threonine, inosine, uridine, glycerol, D L-α-glycerol phosphate, glucose-1-phosphate and glucose-6-phosphate. The predominant structural fatty acids of the isolates were 24:1 (20.3%), 18:1n-9 (16.9%), 24:0 (13.1%) 14:0 (10.9%), 22:0 (7.8%), 16:0 (7.6%) and 18:0 (5.5%). Anti-microbial resistance analyses indicated that STIR-GUS-F2f7 was susceptible to neomycin, novobiocin, amikacin, ciprofloxacin, imipenem, gatifloxacin, meropenem, tobramycin, nitrofurantoin, and levofloxacin using the quantitative broth micro-dilution method, while the qualitative disc diffusion method indicated susceptibility to enrofloxacin, kanamycin, gentamicin, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, florfenicol, oxolinic acid and streptomycin. The use of the following housekeeping genes: mdh, dnaA, mutS, 16SrRNA-ITS-23SrRNA, prfB putA rpoA, rpoB and tpiA indicated 100% similarity with other isolates belonging to the subspecies F. noatunensis orientalis (Fno). Koch’s postulates were successfully fulfilled by establishing an intraperitoneal injection (IP) challenge model with STIR-GUS-F2f7 in Nile tilapia. Moreover, the challenge model was used to investigate the susceptibility of 3 genetic groups of tilapia to STIR-GUS-F2f7. The lowest amount of bacteria required to cause mortality was 12 CFU/ml and this was seen as early as only 24 hours post infection in the red Nile tilapia and in the wild type after 26 days, no mortalities were seen in the species O. mossambicus with this dose. The mortality in red O. niloticus was significantly higher than that of the other…