Theses and Dissertations


Jingjun Lu

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Karsi, Attila

Committee Member

Petrie-Hanson, Lora

Committee Member

Perkins, Andy D.

Committee Member

Lawrence, Mark L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Veterinary Medical Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Veterinary Medicine


Veterinary Medical Science Program


Edwardsiella ictaluri is the causative agent of enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), which is one of the most important diseases impacting the US catfish industry. Though this disease has been very common, progress has been slow to find an economical and practical treatment method. Our long-term goal is to determine the mechanisms of E. ictaluri virulence in ESC. The overall objective of this study was to identify E. ictaluri genes required for host encounter and serum resistance and to determine their roles in pathogenesis. The central hypothesis is that E. ictaluri must differentially regulate its genes to invade fish and evade host defenses, thus, mutation of these differentially expressed genes (DEG) should cause attenuation of E. ictaluri virulence. To test this hypothesis, we first determined the global gene expression patterns of the wild type (wt) E. ictaluri 93-146 and EiAKMut02 mutant during catfish encounter and serum exposure using microarray analysis. Results indicated that in E. ictaluri wt, 377 and 16 DEGs were identified during host encounter and serum exposure, respectively. In EiAKMut02, 82 and 296 DEGs were identified during host encounter and serum experiment. Through functional analysis using Blast2GO, PSORTb, Host Pathogen Interaction Database (HPIDB), and Microbe Virulence Database (MVirDB), 38 DEGs in 9 KEGG pathways have been identified as potential virulence factors. The KEGG pathways represented were 1) bacterial secretion system including T3SS and T6SS, 2) ABC transporters including cystine transport system, iron complex transport system, d-methionine transport system, arginine transport system, thiamine transport system, and molybdate transport system, 3) protein export, 4) flagellar assembly, 5) two-component system, 6) bacterial chemotaxis, 7) ascorbate and aldarate metabolism, 8) phosphotransferase system, and 9) metabolic pathways. In order to understand their role in the E. ictaluri virulence, selected DEGs were inrame deleted by allelic exchange, and their virulence and efficacy were characterized in channel catfish fingerlings. Our results showed that the virulence of E. ictaluri ssaV and yscR mutants was completely attenuated while their efficacies were moderate in catfish fingerlings. These results support that the T3SS and T6SS, ABC transporters, protein export, and flagella seem to be important in E. ictaluri virulence.