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Vaccination of channel catfish with extracellular products of Aeromonas hydrophila provides protection against infection by the pathogen

Dunhua Zhang, Julia W. Pridgeon, Phillip H. Klesius
Fish & shellfish immunology 2014 v.36 no.1 pp. 270-275
Gram-negative bacteria, immunoblotting, blood serum, antigens, elastase, Aeromonas hydrophila, antibodies, metalloproteinases, vaccines, vaccination, virulent strains, Ictalurus punctatus, catfish, agglutination, mass spectrometry, virulence, pathogens, chitinase
Aeromonas hydrophila, a Gram-negative bacterium, is one of the economically-important pathogens in modern aquaculture. Among various traits, extracellular products (ECP) secreted by the bacterium are considered to be essential factors for virulence. Whether vaccination with the ECP could produce immune protection in catfish against the pathogen was determined in this study. The results showed that fish vaccinated with ECP had 100% of relative percent survival (RPS) when challenged with the pathogen two weeks post vaccination. The anti-ECP serum from vaccinated fish could aggregate cells of homogeneous bacteria as well as other virulent strains (isolates) of A. hydrophila but not an A. veronii isolate and a low virulent field isolate. The agglutination titers increased from two weeks to four weeks post immunization and sustained a high level at week seven when the RPS remained at 100%. The anti-ECP serum could also provide naïve fish with immediate protection against A. hydrophila as evidenced by passive immunization. Immunoblotting analysis showed that the anti-ECP serum contained antibodies that bound to specific targets, including protein and lipopolysaccharide-like molecules, in the ECP. Mass spectrometric analysis identified following putative proteins that may serve as important immunogens: chitinase, chitodextrinase, outer membrane protein85, putative metalloprotease, extracellular lipase, hemolysin and elastase. Findings revealed in this study suggest that, while ECP prepared in a conventional and convenient way could be a vaccine candidate, further characterization of antibody-mediated targets in the ECP would uncover quintessential antigens for the future development of highly efficacious vaccines.