Are type IV pili involved in Vibrio anguillarum virulence towards sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) larvae?
Ingeborg Frans, Pieter Busschaert, Kristof Dierckens, Chris W. Michiels, Kris A. Willems, Bart Lievens, Peter Bossier, Hans Rediers
Centre for Food and Microbial Technology, M2S, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Thomas More Mechelen, Campus De Nayer, Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M2S), KU Leuven Association, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium;Scientia Terrae Research Institute, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium.
Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Thomas More Mechelen, Campus De Nayer, Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M2S), KU Leuven Association, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium;Scientia Terrae Research Institute, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium Centre for Food and Microbial Technology, M2S, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, Department of Animal Production, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, Department of Animal Production, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
DOI: 10.4236/as.2013.46A005   PDF    HTML     5,201 Downloads   7,626 Views   Citations


Vibrio anguillarum, an important bacterial fish pathogen, expresses a variety of virulence factors contributing to its ability to cause vibriosis in fish. Many virulence factors of this pathogen remain however unknown. For example, a type IV pilus system was previously reported to be potentially involved in the virulence of this bacterium but no experimental evidence was reported yet. In this study, complete genome sequencing of V. anguillarum strain VIB15, shown to be highly virulent towards sea bass (Dicen- trarchus labrax L.) larvae, revealed the presence of a PilA pilin. A V. anguillarum VIB15 pilA mutant was constructed and the pathogenicity of this mutant was assessed in a gnotobiotic sea bass system developed for virulence screening. Our results suggest that the V. anguillarum pilA gene is not crucial for virulence towards sea bass larvae. Possibly, another type IV pilus system identified in V. anguillarum, showing homology to the mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin pilin of Vibrio cholerae, may complement the pilA mutation. Alternatively, the type IV pilus system has a role in infection of juvenile or adult fish, rather than in the larval phase. As such, further research is required to unravel the potential role of type IV pili in V. anguillarum virulence.

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Frans, I. , Busschaert, P. , Dierckens, K. , Michiels, C. , Willems, K. , Lievens, B. , Bossier, P. and Rediers, H. (2013) Are type IV pili involved in Vibrio anguillarum virulence towards sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) larvae?. Agricultural Sciences, 4, 30-38. doi: 10.4236/as.2013.46A005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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