Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Petrie-Hanson, Lora

Committee Member

Pruett, Stephen B.

Committee Member

Jenny, Matthew J.

Committee Member

Pharr, G. Todd

Committee Member

Hanson, Larry

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Veterinary Medical Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Veterinary Medicine


Department of Basic Sciences


Rag1-/- mutant zebrafish lack lymphocytes and were used to study the basis of acquired protective immunity in the absence of lymphocytes to the intracellular bacterium Edwardsiella ictaluri. This study morphologically identified and quantified lymphocyte like cells (LLCs) present in the liver, kidney and spleen of these fish. LLCs included Natural Killer (NK) cells and non-specific cytotoxic cells (NCCs) and were discriminated by size, and by the presence of cytoplasmic granules. The antibodies anti-NITR9, anti-NCCRP-1 (5C6) and anti-MPEG-1 were used to evaluate these cell populations by flow cytometry. Gene expression profiles in these tissues were evaluated after the Rag1-/- mutants were intra coelomically injected with the toll like receptor (TLR)-2 ligand, β glucan, TLR3 ligand, Poly I:C, or TLR 7/8 ligand, R848. The genes interferon y (infγ), expressed by activated NK cells and macrophages, tumor necrosis factor α (tnfα), expressed by activated macrophages, myxovirus resistance (mx) expressed by cells induced by IFNα, T-cell transcription factor (t-bet) expressed by NK cells and novel immune type-receptor 9 (nitr-9) expressed by NK cells were evaluated. The TLR ligands induced different patterns of expression and stimulated both macrophages and NK cells. Then fish were vaccinated with an attenuated mutant of E. ictaluri (RE33®) with or without the TLR ligands then challenged with WT E. ictaluri to evaluate protection. RE33® alone and each TLR ligand alone provided protection. Coministration of β glucan and RE33® or R848 and RE33® resulted in survival higher than RE33® alone showing an adjuvant effect. Tissue specific gene expression of ifnγ, t-bet, nitr9, NK cell lysin a (nkla), nklb, nklc and nkld were correlated to protection. The final component of this study was the development of tools to discriminate NK cell populations and evaluate the contribution of macrophages. Rag1-/- zebrafish were modified to express cherry red in lymphocyte like cells using the Lymphocyte specific tyrosine kinase (lck) promotor. Also, rag1-/- zebrafish were modified so that the gene encoding the proto-oncogene serine/threonine-protein kinase that is involved in macrophage training (raf1) is disrupted. This study indicated that the acquired protection in the absence of lymphocytes likely involves NK cells with possible contribution by macrophages.



rag1-/- mutant zebrafish||immunological memory||Natural killer cells