SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Flavobacterium columnare;
  • chemoattractant;
  • fish mucus;
  • virulence

Abstract

Flavobacterium columnare is a Gram-negative pathogen of many species of wild and cultured fish. Isolates from diseased channel catfish belong to either genomovar I or II. Genomovar II isolates were found to be more virulent than genomovar I isolates. The objective of the present study was to determine whether differences exist in the chemotactic response of these genomovars to mucus obtained from the skin, gills and intestines of healthy channel catfish using the capillary chemotaxis assay. Mucus from the skin and gill induced a greater chemotactic response by F. columnare than mucus from the intestine. Sixty percent of mucus from the skin of individual catfish yielded a positive chemotactic response from F. columnare. Finally, skin mucus induced a greater chemotactic response in genomovar II F. columnare than in genomovar I F. columnare isolates. The data indicate that mucus from channel catfish results in a chemotactic response by F. columnare. This positive chemotactic response may be an important first step for F. columnare colonization of channel catfish skin or gills. Although the role that chemotaxis plays in the virulence of F. columnare is not fully defined, the chemotactic response of genomovar ll isolates suggests that chemotaxis is associated with virulence.