Comparative genomic analyses of flavobacterium psychrophilum isolates reveals new putative genetic determinants of virulence traits

Daniel Castillo, Valentina L. Donati, Jóhanna Jørgensen, Krister Sundell, Inger Dalsgaard, Lone Madsen, Tom Wiklund, Mathias Middelboe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


The fish pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum is currently one of the main pathogenic bacteria hampering the productivity of salmonid farming worldwide. Although putative virulence determinants have been identified, the genetic basis for variation in virulence of F. psychrophilum is not fully understood. In this study, we analyzed whole-genome sequences of a collection of 25 F. psychrophilum isolates from Baltic Sea countries and compared genomic information with a previous determination of their virulence in juvenile rainbow trout. The results revealed a conserved population of F. psychrophilum that were consistently present across the Baltic Sea countries, with no clear association between genomic repertoire, phylogenomic, or gene distribution and virulence traits. However, analysis of the entire genome of four F. psychrophilum isolates by hybrid assembly pro-vided an unprecedented resolution for discriminating even highly related isolates. The results showed that isolates with different virulence phenotypes harbored genetic variances on a number of consecutive leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteins, repetitive motifs in gliding motility-associated protein, and the insertion of transposable elements into intergenic and genic regions. Thus, these findings provide novel insights into the genetic variation of these elements and their putative role in the modulation of F. psychrophilum virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1658
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Evolution
  • Flavobacterium
  • Freshwater
  • Genomics
  • Pan-genome
  • Pathogen
  • Pathogenicity
  • T9SS
  • Virulence


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