Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Karsi, Attila

Committee Member

Lawrence, L. Mark

Committee Member

Peterson, C. Brian

Committee Member

Donaldson, R. Janet

Committee Member

Pharr, G. Todd

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Veterinary Medical Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Veterinary Medicine


Veterinary Medical Science Program


The catfish industry suffers losses primarily due to enteric septicemia of catfish and columnaris disease caused by Edwardsiella ictaluri and Flavobacterium columnare, respectively. Understanding the host-pathogen interactions is vital for prevention and eradication of these diseases. Hence, the overall objective of this study was to analyze whole cell proteomes of these two bacteria, and to determine the changes in E. ictaluri protein expression against in vitro iron-restriction and host serum treatment. High-throughput proteomic analysis of these bacteria was conducted using two-dimensional liquid chromatography followed by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (2-D LC ESI MS/MS) and two-dimentional gel electrophoresis coupled with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-oflight mass spectrometry (2-DE MALDI TOF/TOF). Identified proteins were clustered into functional groups using clusters of orthologous groups, and subcellular locations as well as possible functional relationships were determined. A total of 788 unique E. ictaluri and 621 unique F. columnare proteins were identified, which represented 12 and 28 pathways, respectively. Vertebrate hosts tend to chelate free iron of their body and make the environment hostile for bacteria. Hence, reduced availability of iron may cause significant stress for pathogens and is considered a signal that leads to alteration in virulent gene expression. Similarly, E. ictaluri might use the catfish blood stream effectively for quick systemic invasion. Hence, exposure to catfish serum components might reveal the ability of E. ictaluri to protect against host defense mechanisms. Using two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis, responses of E. ictaluri due to in vitro iron-restriction and host serum treatment were determined. A total of 50 and 19 proteins were identified to be differentially expressed due to in vitro iron-restriction and catfish serum treatment, respectively. Among the differentially expressed proteins, several putative virulent determinants, immunogenic proteins, chaperones, and housekeeping genes were noted. To initiate functional studies, four differentially expressed E. ictaluri genes (lamB, glyS, malE, and sdhA) were mutated by inrame deletion. Results from this study provided experimental evidence for many predicted proteins. In addition, identification of differentially expressed proteins provided targets for further functional analysis, which could help elucidate pathogenic mechanisms of E. ictaluri.