Versatile lifestyles of Edwardsiella: Free-living, pathogen, and core bacterium of the aquatic resistome

Ka Yin Leung*, Qiyao Wang, Xiaochang Zheng, Mei Zhuang, Zhiyun Yang, Shuai Shao, Yigal Achmon, Bupe A. Siame*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Edwardsiella species in aquatic environments exist either as individual planktonic cells or in communal biofilms. These organisms encounter multiple stresses, include changes in salinity, pH, temperature, and nutrients. Pathogenic species such as E. piscicida, can multiply within the fish hosts. Additionally, Edwardsiella species (E. tarda), can carry antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) on chromosomes and/or plasmids, that can be transmitted to the microbiome via horizontal gene transfer. E. tarda serves as a core in the aquatic resistome. Edwardsiela uses molecular switches (RpoS and EsrB) to control gene expression for survival in different environments. We speculate that free-living Edwardsiella can transition to host-living and vice versa, using similar molecular switches. Understanding such transitions can help us understand how other similar aquatic bacteria switch from free-living to become pathogens. This knowledge can be used to devise ways to slow down the spread of ARGs and prevent disease outbreaks in aquaculture and clinical settings.
Original languageEnglish
StateE-pub ahead of print - 30 Dec 2021


  • Edwardsiella
  • pathogen
  • free-living
  • aquatic resistome
  • virulence
  • antibiotic resistance genes
  • antibiotic resistant bacteria


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