2014 - 2016
Infection biology in fish: Understanding Spironucleus infections of salmonids
This is a cooperation beween Uppsala University, Cell-and molecularbiology and SVA with professor Staffan Svärd as main applicant.
The fastest growing food sector in the world is aquaculture, with salmon and carp being the two most important fish species used in fish farming. Infections are well-known problems in fish farming, involving viruses, bacteria and parasites. Spironucleus salmonicida is a parasitic, eukaryotic microbe known to cause severe systemic infections, spironucleosis, in farmed salmonids. Treatment is currently not possible, making studies of diagnostic, drug and vaccine targets important so that spread can be limited. We will use an infection biology approach to identify virulence genes in S. salmonicida and to understand the hostpathogen interaction during parasitic infections of salmonids. We will sequence the genome of S. salmonicida and other Spironucleus spp. infecting fish. The genomic information will be used for studies of gene expression changes in host cells and
parasites during early stages of S. salmonicida infection in vitro. This will be complemented by investigations of host and parasite responses during Spironucleus infection in live salmonids and zebrafish. The project will generate tools to follow spironucleosis in wild and farmed fish and it will reveal targets for treatment. This will be important for development of aquaculture in Sweden and in the rest of the world. It will also generate unique insights into key components of the fish immune system and we will create an interdisciplinary platform for further studies of fish infections in Sweden.