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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stuttgart, Arkansas » Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Cntr » Research » Research Project #428536

Research Project: The Role of Mucosal Surfaces and Microflora in Immunity and Disease Prevention

Location: Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Cntr

Project Number: 6028-32000-007-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 6, 2015
End Date: Mar 5, 2020

Objective:
Objective 1. Characterize the cellular and molecular immune responses governing resistance/susceptibility to infectious disease (Flavobacterium columnare), and develop strategies to enhance immune protection through immunomodulatory compounds, nutritional status, or water chemistry. Subobjective 1A. Describe the cellular, transcriptional, and pathological responses of mucosal tissues in healthy and Flavobacterium columnare-challenged fish. Subobjective 1B. Investigate the effects of copper sulfate, short-term feed deprivation, and water chemistry on the mucosal immune system. Objective 2. Assess microbial community diversity, prevalence, and distribution under homeostatic conditions, after columnaris disease challenge, and following environmental perturbation. Subobjective 2A. Profile the composition and population dynamics of microbes that reside on the skin and gill of healthy and columnaris-challenged fish. Subobjective 2B. Investigate the effects of copper sulfate, short-term feed deprivation, and water chemistry on microbial community composition.

Approach:
In Objective 1 our research team will utilize next-generation sequencing to establish temporal profiles of transcriptional responses to Flavobacterium (F.) columnare in gill and skin; use flow cytometry to monitor the type and abundance of immune cells trafficking to the gill of challenged fish; and characterize the histopathological changes to an F. columnare challenge and draw parallels to the shifts in immune-related transcripts and cell phenotypes. Studies will also examine the transcriptional and immunological consequences to alterations in water chemistry and to chemical compounds such as copper sulfate. In Objective 2 the core microbiota associated with mucosa in healthy fish and F. columnare infected fish will be characterized using high-throughput 16S v4 amplicon sequencing. This work will identify the core microbial communities commonly residing in the mucosal barriers of both warmwater bass and channel catfish; vital information towards identifying bacterial species that can be exploited to improve fish health.