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J Bacteriol. 2003 Feb;185(3):831-42.

Elucidation of the Vibrio anguillarum genetic response to the potential fish probiont Pseudomonas fluorescens AH2, using RNA-arbitrarily primed PCR.

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  • 1Biotechnological Institute, Department of Molecular Characterization, Kogle Allé 2, DK-2970 Hørsholm, Denmark.


The antagonistic interaction between a potential fish probiont, Pseudomonas fluorescens strain AH2, and its target organism, Vibrio anguillarum, was investigated by studying the genetic response of the target organism when it was exposed to the antagonist. We compared the differential display of arbitrarily PCR-amplified gene transcripts in V. anguillarum serotype O1 when it was exposed to AH2 supernatant with the display of transcripts in nonexposed control cultures. Growth of V. anguillarum was immediately arrested when the organism was exposed to 50% (vol/vol) AH2 supernatant. A total of 10 potentially differentially expressed transcripts were identified. Among these we identified a gene homologous to rpoS that was induced in a dose-dependent manner when V. anguillarum was cultured in media supplemented with sterile filtered supernatant from AH2. rpoS was also induced when growth was arrested with the iron chelator 2,2-dipyridyl. A chromosomal transcript homologous to vibE that participates in vibriobactin synthesis in Vibrio cholerae was also upregulated during AH2 exposure. This transcript could represent a functionally active gene in V. anguillarum involved in biosynthesis of anguibactin or another V. anguillarum siderophore. On the pJM1 plasmid of V. anguillarum serotype O1, a pseudogene designated open reading frame E (ORF E) that contains a frameshift mutation was previously identified. The gene homologous to vibE identified in this study, interestingly, also has significant homology to ORF E on the amino acid level and does not possess the frameshift mutation. Thus, the chromosomally encoded vibE homologue could fulfil the role of the inactive plasmid-encoded ORF E pseudogene. Addition of Fe(3+) to the system eliminated the growth arrest, and the genes homologous to rpoS and vibE were not induced. To our knowledge, this is the first study linking rpoS induction to iron starvation. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that a major part of the antagonistic property exhibited by strain AH2 is caused by the ability of siderophores in the supernatant to efficiently chelate iron, which results in instant iron deprivation of the pathogen V. anguillarum and complete growth arrest.

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