DAO 95:167-173 (2011)  -  doi:10.3354/dao02342

Colonization of turbot tissues by virulent and ­avirulent Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. ­salmonicida strains during infection

R. Farto1,*, D. L. Milton2, M. B. Bermúdez1, T. P. Nieto

1Área de Microbiología, Departamento de Biología Funcional y Ciencias de la Salud, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Vigo, Vigo, Spain
2Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research, Umeå University, Umeå, 901 87, Sweden

ABSTRACT: Preventing disease outbreaks in cultured turbot Psetta maxima L. caused by Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida (ASS) requires a better understanding of how this pathogen colonizes its host. Distribution of 1 virulent and 2 avirulent ASS strains in turbot tissues was investigated during early and late stages of infection following an immersion challenge. To track bacteria within the turbot, the ASS strains were tagged with green fluorescent protein (GFP). Both virulent and avirulent strains colonized the epidermal mucus, gills, and intestine within the first 12 h post challenge, suggesting that these sites may serve as points of entry into turbot. Although the avirulent strains colonized these initial sites in the turbot tissues, they were rarely found in the internal organs and were cleared from the host 4 d post challenge. In contrast, the virulent ASS strain was found in the liver and kidney as early as 12 h post challenge and was found in the muscle tissue at very late stages of infection. The virulent strain persisted in all tested host tissues until death occurred 7 d post challenge, suggesting that ASS must colonize and survive within the turbot tissues for an infection to result in death of the fish. Comparisons of the distribution profiles of both virulent and avirulent strains during early and late stages of an infection in turbot has provided important information on the route and persistence of an ASS infection in this host.

KEY WORDS: Aeromonas salmonicida · Persistence · Turbot · Green fluorescent protein · GFP · Immersion challenge

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Cite this article as: Farto R, Milton DL, Bermúdez MB, Nieto TP (2011) Colonization of turbot tissues by virulent and ­avirulent Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. ­salmonicida strains during infection. Dis Aquat Org 95:167-173

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