U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Development of IglC and GroEL recombinant vaccines for francisellosis in Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus

Lafrentz Benjamin Ryan, Khalid Shahin, Felipe Pirezan, Matt Rogge, Benjamin R. LaFrentz, Roshan P. Shrestha, Mark Hildebrand, Fangjia Lu, Harm HogenEsch, Esteban Soto
Fish & shellfish immunology 2020 v.105 no. pp. 341-349
Francisella, Oreochromis niloticus, adjuvants, antibodies, cost effectiveness, microbial load, phosphates, shellfish, spleen
Warm-water piscine francisellosis is a granulomatous bacterial disease caused by Francisella orientalis (Fo). The disease has been detected in a wide range of fish species globally, causing mortalities as high as 90% and significant economic losses. Currently there are no commercially available vaccines and few treatment options exist. In the current study, two novel recombinant vaccines were prepared using diatom-expressed IglC or bacterial-expressed GroEL proteins. The vaccine antigens were emulsified with either nanoparticles or a commercially available oil-based adjuvant. Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, fingerlings were immunized intracoelomically with the recombinant IglC or GroEL vaccines, diatoms alone or phosphate buffer saline. Approximately 840-degree days post-vaccination, fish were challenged via immersion with 10⁶ CFU/mL of wild-type Fo. Twenty-one days post challenge (dpc), the highest relative percent survival was recorded in the IglC-Montanide group (75%), compared to 53%, 50%, 22%, 19% and 16% in the IglC-nanoparticles, GroEL-Montanide, GroEL-nanoparticles, diatoms-Montanide and diatoms-nanoparticles groups, respectively. Protection correlated with significantly higher specific antibody responses in the IglC-Montanide group. Moreover, a significantly lower bacterial load was detected in spleen samples from the IglC-Montanide survivor tilapia compared to the other experimental groups. This is the first report of recombinant vaccines against piscine francisellosis in tilapia. The Fo vaccines described in our study may facilitate development of a safe, cost-effective and highly protective vaccine against francisellosis in farmed tilapia.