Molecular analysis of genetic differences between virulent and avirulent strains of Aeromonas hydrophila isolated from diseased fish

Y. L. Zhang, C. T. Ong, K. Y. Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aeromonas hydrophila, a normal inhabitant of aquatic environments, is an opportunistic pathogen of a variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals, including humans. A. hydrophila PPD134/91 is defined as virulent whereas PPD35/8S is defined as avirulent on the basis of their different LD50 values in fish. Suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) was used to identify genetic differences between these two strains. Sixty-nine genomic regions of differences were absent in PPD35/85, and the DNA sequences of these regions were determined. Sixteen ORFs encoded by 23 fragments showed high homology to known proteins of other bacteria. ORFs encoded by the remaining 46 fragments were identified as new proteins of A. hydrophila, showing no significant homology to any known proteins. Among these PPD134/91-specific genes, 22 DNA fragments (21 ORFs) were present in most of the eight virulent strains studied but mostly absent in the seven avirulent strains, suggesting that they are universal virulence genes in A. hydrophila. The PPD134/91-specific genes included five known virulence factors of A. hydrophila: haemolysin (hlyA), protease (oligopeptidase A), outer-membrane protein (Omp), multidrug-resistance protein and histone-like protein (HU-2). Another 47 DNA fragments (44 ORFs) were mainly present in PPD134/91, indicating the heterogeneity among motile aeromonads. Some of these fragments encoded virulence determinants. These included genes for the synthesis of O-antigen and type II restriction/modification system. The results indicated that SSH is successful in identifying genetic differences and virulence genes among different strains of A. hydrophila.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1009
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobiology
Volume146
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aeromonas hydrophila
  • Genomic subtraction
  • Virulence genes

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