The conserved surface M-protein SiMA of Streptococcus iniae is not effective as a cross-protective vaccine against differing capsular serotypes in farmed fish

Fabian Aviles, Meiman May Zhang, Janlin Chan, Jerome Delamare-Deboutteville, Timothy J. Green, Cecile Dang, Andrew C. Barnes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Streptococcus iniae causes invasive infections in fresh and saltwater fish and occasional zoonoses. Vaccination against S. iniae is complicated by serotypic variation determined by capsular polysaccharide. A potential target for serologically cross-protective vaccines is the M-like protein SiMA, an essential virulence factor in S. iniae that is highly conserved amongst virulent strains. The present study determined how SiMA is regulated and investigated potential as a cross-protective vaccine for fish. Electrophoretic mobility shift suggested that SiMA is regulated by the multigene regulator Mgx via a binding site in the -35 region of the simA promoter. Moreover, expression of simA and mgx was highly correlated, with the highest level of simA and mgx expression during exponential growth under iron limitation (20-fold increase in relative expression compared to growth in Todd-Hewitt broth). Based on these results, a vaccination and challenge experiment was conducted in barramundi (Lates calcarifer) to determine whether SiMA is protective against S. iniae infection and cross-protective against a different capsular serotype. The challenge resulted in 60% mortality in control fish. Formalin-killed bacterins prepared from the challenge strain resulted in 100% protection, whereas bacterins prepared from a serotypically heterologous strain resulted in significantly reduced protection, even when culture conditions were manipulated to optimise SiMA expression. Moreover, recombinant SiMA protein was not protective against the challenge strain in spite of eliciting specific antibody response in vaccinated fish. Specific antibody did not increase oxidative activity or phagocytosis by barramundi macrophages. Indeed incubating S. iniae with antisera significantly reduced phagocytosis. Lack of specific-antibody mediated opsonisation in spite of 100% protection against challenge with the homologous vaccine suggests that other immune parameters result in protection of challenged fish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Volume162
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

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