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Open Access Research article

Comparative genomics profiling of clinical isolates of Aeromonas salmonicida using DNA microarrays

John HE Nash1*, Wendy A Findlay1, Christian C Luebbert1, Oksana L Mykytczuk1, Simon J Foote1, Eduardo N Taboada1, Catherine D Carrillo1, Jessica M Boyd2, Duncan J Colquhoun3, Michael E Reith2 and Laura L Brown2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, 100 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R6, Canada

2 Institute for Marine Biosciences, National Research Council of Canada, 1411 Oxford Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3Z1, Canada

3 National Veterinary Institute, Department for Fish Health, Post Box 8156 Dep., 0033 Oslo, Norway

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BMC Genomics 2006, 7:43  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-43

Published: 7 March 2006

Abstract

Background

Aeromonas salmonicida has been isolated from numerous fish species and shows wide variation in virulence and pathogenicity. As part of a larger research program to identify virulence genes and candidates for vaccine development, a DNA microarray was constructed using a subset of 2024 genes from the draft genome sequence of A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida strain A449. The microarray included genes encoding known virulence-associated factors in A. salmonicida and homologs of virulence genes of other pathogens. We used microarray-based comparative genomic hybridizations (M-CGH) to compare selected A. salmonicida sub-species and other Aeromonas species from different hosts and geographic locations.

Results

Results showed variable carriage of virulence-associated genes and generally increased variation in gene content across sub-species and species boundaries. The greatest variation was observed among genes associated with plasmids and transposons. There was little correlation between geographic region and degree of variation for all isolates tested.

Conclusion

We have used the M-CGH technique to identify subsets of conserved genes from amongst this set of A. salmonicida virulence genes for further investigation as potential vaccine candidates. Unlike other bacterial characterization methods that use a small number of gene or DNA-based functions, M-CGH examines thousands of genes and/or whole genomes and thus is a more comprehensive analytical tool for veterinary or even human health research.