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Vet Microbiol. 2012 Aug 17;158(3-4):436-42. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2012.02.030. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Identification of type VI secretion systems in Moritella viscosa.

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Institute for Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland, Keldur v/Vesturlandsveg, 112 Reykjavik, Iceland.


The study describes the identification of type VI secretion systems (T6SSs) in Moritella viscosa, the aetiological agent of winter ulcer disease. Despite the availability of commercial vaccines, M. viscosa causes significant financial losses in salmonid farming. The T6SS transports bacterial proteins from the cell into the environment or directly into host cells, and has been implicated with bacterial virulence. The aim of the study was to identify potential T6SSs in M. viscosa and to determine whether it possesses active T6S, providing further insight into the biology of the bacterium. The genome of M. viscosa 06/09/139 was screened for homology with known T6SS encoding genes. Two genetically distinct loci, termed Moritella Type Six Secretion 1 and 2 (mts1 and mts2), were identified as encoding putative T6SSs. Each locus contained known T6S core genes. The mts2 locus contained species specific genes, some of which have not previously been connected with T6S. The mts1 locus showed sequence homology and synteny to T6SSs of the fish pathogen Aliivibrio salmonicida and a non-pathogenic Moritella sp. PE36. The mts2 locus was more similar to a Vibrio parahaemolyticus T6SS. A functional T6SS was confirmed through identification of secreted Mts1-M, a hemolysin coregulated protein (Hcp) which is a part of the secretion system. Both virulent and avirulent M. viscosa isolates expressed two genes encoding Hcp, mts1-M and mts2-M. The results show that M. viscosa has a functional T6S, but the role of the secretion system and possible connections with virulence need further examination.

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