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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Dec;63(3):339-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2011.00856.x. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Permissivity of fish cell lines to three Chlamydia-related bacteria: Waddlia chondrophila, Estrella lausannensis and Parachlamydia acanthamoebae.

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  • 1Center for Research on Intracellular Bacteria (CRIB), Institute of Microbiology, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


Epitheliocystis is an infectious disease affecting gills and skin of various freshwater and marine fishes, associated with high mortality and reduced growth of survivors. Candidatus Piscichlamydia salmonis and Clavochlamydia salmonicola have recently been identified as aetiological agents of epitheliocystis in Atlantic Salmon. In addition, several other members of the Chlamydiales order have been identified in other fish species. To clarify the pathogenicity of Chlamydia-like organisms towards fishes, we investigated the permissivity of two fish cell lines, EPC-175 (Fathead Minnow) and RTG-2 (rainbow trout) to three Chlamydia-related bacteria: Waddlia chondrophila, Parachlamydia acanthamoebae and Estrella lausannensis. Quantitative PCR and immunofluorescence demonstrated that W. chondrophila and, to a lesser extent, E. lausannensis were able to replicate in the two cell lines tested. Waddlia chondrophila multiplied rapidly in its host cell and a strong cytopathic effect was observed. During E. lausannensis infection, we observed a limited replication of the bacteria not followed by host cell lysis. Very limited replication of P. acanthamoebae was observed in both cell lines tested. Given its high infectivity and cytopathic effect towards fish cell lines, W. chondrophila represents the most interesting Chlamydia-related bacteria to be used to develop an in vivo model of epitheliocystis disease in fishes.

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