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J Fish Dis. 2019 Feb 11. doi: 10.1111/jfd.12946. [Epub ahead of print]

Quorum sensing is required for full virulence of Vibrio campbellii towards tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) larvae.

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Department of Aquaculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
Laboratory of Marine Biotechnology, Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor.
Laboratory of Sustainable Aquaculture, International Institute of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor.


The link between quorum sensing in Vibrio campbellii and its virulence towards tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) was investigated using V. campbellii wild type and quorum-sensing mutants with inactive quorum sensing or constitutively maximal quorum-sensing activity, and signal molecule synthase mutants. The results showed that wild-type V. campbellii is pathogenic to grouper larvae, causing more than 50% mortality after 4 days of challenge. Furthermore, the mortality of larvae challenged with the mutant with maximally active quorum sensing was significantly higher than that of larvae challenged with the wild type, whereas a higher survival was observed in the larvae challenged to the mutant with a completely inactive quorum-sensing system. Grouper larvae challenged with either the signal molecule synthase triple mutant, the harveyi autoinducer-1 (HAI-1) synthase mutant and the autoinducer-2 (AI-2) synthase mutant showed higher survival than larvae challenged with the wild type. In contrast, larvae challenged with the cholerae autoinducer-1 (CAI-1) synthase mutant showed high mortality. This indicates that HAI-1 and AI-2, but not CAI-1, are required for full virulence of V. campbellii towards grouper larvae. Our data suggest that quorum-sensing inhibition could be an effective strategy to control V. campbellii infections in tiger grouper.


quorum sensing; signalling; vibriosis; virulence


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