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Research Project: Using Genetic Techniques to Characterize Mechanisms of Virulence in Flavobacterium Fish Pathogens

Location: Office of The Director

Project Number: 5090-31320-004-03-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2016
End Date: Jun 30, 2019

Objective:
Development of genetic techniques to characterize mechanisms of Flavobacterium spp. virulence and identify potential strategies to control bacterial disease in salmonid aquaculture.

Approach:
Flavobacterium columnare strains CSF-298-10 and MS-FC-4 were isolated from aquaculture systems and are virulent for rainbow trout. The efficiency of conjugative plasmid transfer into these strains will be optimized. One strain will be chosen for construction of deletion mutants and genetic analysis of virulence. Two strains of Flavobacterium psychrophilum have been identified that accept plasmids by conjugation; however, the efficiency of transfer is low. Gene transfer into these strains will be optimized by altering conjugation conditions and donor strains, and by attempting to eliminate restriction barriers to gene transfer. Complete or nearly complete genome sequences are already available for each of the F. columnare and F. psychrophilum isolates and gene deletion targets will be prioritized in collaboration with scientists at the National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture.