Comparative genome analysis reveals important genetic differences among serotype O1 and serotype O2 strains of Y. ruckeri and provides insights into host adaptation and virulence

Microbiologyopen. 2017 Aug;6(4):e00460. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.460. Epub 2017 Mar 20.


Despite the existence of a commercial vaccine routinely used to protect salmonids against Yersinia ruckeri, outbreaks still occur, mainly caused by nonmotile and lipase-negative strains (serotype O1 biotype 2). Moreover, epizootics caused by other uncommon serotypes have also been reported. At the moment, one of the main concerns for the aquaculture industry is the expanding range of hosts of this pathogen and the emergence of new biotypes and serotypes causing mortality in fish farms and against which the vaccine cannot protect. The comparative analysis of the genome sequences of five Y. ruckeri strains (150, CSF007-82, ATCC29473, Big Creek 74, and SC09) isolated from different hosts and classified into different serotypes revealed important genetic differences between the genomes analyzed. Thus, a clear genetic differentiation was found between serotype O1 and O2 strains. The presence of 99 unique genes in Big Creek 74 and 261 in SC09 could explain the adaptation of these strains to salmon and catfish, respectively. Finally, the absence of 21 genes in ATCC29473 which are present in the other four virulent strains could underpin the attenuation described for this strain. The study reveals important genetic differences among the genomes analyzed. Further investigation of the genes highlighted in this study could provide insights into the understanding of the virulence and niche adaptive mechanisms of Y. ruckeri.

Keywords: Yersinia ruckeri; Genome; Serotype; Virulence; adaptation; host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological
  • Animals
  • Catfishes / microbiology*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Salmon / microbiology*
  • Serogroup*
  • Virulence
  • Yersinia ruckeri / classification*
  • Yersinia ruckeri / genetics*
  • Yersinia ruckeri / isolation & purification
  • Yersinia ruckeri / pathogenicity