Gene expression of putative type VI secretion system (T6SS) genes in the emergent fish pathogen Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis in different physiochemical conditions

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Abstract

Background: Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis (Fno) is an emergent fish pathogen and the etiologic agent of piscine francisellosis. Besides persisting in the environment in both biofilm and planktonic forms, Fno is known to infect and replicate inside tilapia macrophages and endothelial-derived cells. However, the mechanism used by this emergent bacterium for intracellular survival is unknown. Additionally, the basis of virulence for Fno is still poorly understood. Several potential virulence determinants have been identified in Fno, including homologues of the recently described F. tularensis Type VI Secretion System (T6SS). In order to gain a better understanding of the role the putative Fno T6SS might play in the pathogenesis of piscine francisellosis, we performed transcriptional analysis of Fno T6SS gene-homologues under temperature, acidic, and oxidative stress conditions. Results: Few transcriptional differences were observed at different temperatures, growth stages and pHs; however, a trend towards higher expression of Fno T6SS-homologue genes at 25 °C and under oxidative stress was detected when compared to those quantified at 30 °C and under no H2O2 (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that several of the F. tularensis T6SS-homologues may play an important role in the virulence of Fno, particularly when the bacterium is exposed to low temperatures and oxidative stress.

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Lewis, J., & Soto, E. (2019). Gene expression of putative type VI secretion system (T6SS) genes in the emergent fish pathogen Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis in different physiochemical conditions. BMC Microbiology, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12866-019-1389-7

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