Infection routes of Aeromonas salmonicida in rainbow trout monitored in vivo by real-time bioluminescence imaging

Simona Bartkova, Branko Kokotovic, Inger Dalsgaard

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    Recent development of imaging tools has facilitated studies of pathogen infections in vivo in real time. This trend can be exemplified by advances in bioluminescence imaging (BLI), an approach that helps to visualize dissemination of pathogens within the same animal over several time points. Here, we employ bacterial BLI for examining routes of entry and spread of Aeromonas salmonicida susbp. salmonicida in rainbow trout. A virulent Danish A. salmonicida strain was tagged with pAKgfplux1, a dual-labelled plasmid vector containing the mutated gfpmut3a gene from Aequorea victoria and the luxCDABE genes from the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens. The resulting A. salmonicida transformant exhibited growth properties and virulence identical to the wild-type A. salmonicida, which made it suitable for an experimental infection, mimicking natural conditions. Fish were infected with pAKgfplux1 tagged A. salmonicida via immersion bath. Colonization and subsequent tissue dissemination was followed over a 24-h period using the IVIS spectrum imaging workstation. Results suggest the pathogen's colonization sites are the dorsal and pectoral fin and the gills, followed by a progression through the internal organs and an ensuing exit via the anal opening. This study provides a tool for visualizing colonization of A. salmonicida and other bacterial pathogens in fish.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)73-82
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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