Phenotype, virulence and immunogenicity ofEdwardsiella ictaluricyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate receptor protein (Crp) mutants in catfish host

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Abstract

Edwardsiella ictaluri is an Enterobacteriaceae that causes lethal enteric septicemia in catfish. Being a mucosal facultative intracellular pathogen, this bacterium is an excellent candidate to develop immersion-oral live attenuated vaccines for the catfish aquaculture industry. Deletion of the cyclic 3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) receptor protein (crp) gene in several Enterobacteriaceae has been utilized in live attenuated vaccines for mammals and birds. Here we characterize the crp gene and report the effect of a crp deletion in E. ictaluri. The E. ictaluri crp gene and encoded protein are similar to other Enterobacteriaceae family members, complementing Salmonella enterica Δcrp mutants in a cAMP-dependent fashion. The E. ictaluri Δcrp-10 in-frame deletion mutant demonstrated growth defects, loss of maltose utilization, and lack of flagella synthesis. We found that the E. ictaluri Δcrp-10 mutant was attenuated, colonized lymphoid tissues, and conferred immune protection against E. ictaluri infection to zebrafish (Danio rerio) and catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). Evaluation of the IgM titers indicated that bath immunization with the E. ictaluri Δcrp-10 mutant triggered systemic and skin immune responses in catfish. We propose that deletion of the crp gene in E. ictaluri is an effective strategy to develop immersion live attenuated antibiotic-sensitive vaccines for the catfish aquaculture industry.

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