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Aeromonas salmonicida Growth in Response to Atlantic Salmon Mucins Differs between Epithelial Sites, Is Governed by Sialylated and N-Acetylhexosamine-Containing O-Glycans, and Is Affected by Ca2+

Journal article
Authors János T Padra
Henrik Sundh
Kristina Sundell
Vignes Venkatakrishnan
Chunsheng Jin
Tore Samuelsson
Niclas G. Karlsson
Sara K. Lindén
Published in Infection and Immunity
Volume 85
Issue 8
ISSN 0019-9567
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Language en
Keywords Atlantic salmon, GlcNAc, HexNAc, NeuAc, O-glycan, calcium, furunculosis, mucin, proliferation, oncorhynchus-mykiss walbaum, human gastric mucins, helicobacter-pylori, beta-hexosaminidase, rainbow-trout, fish, water, skin, resistance, intestine, Immunology, Infectious Diseases
Subject categories Immunology, Zoology


Aeromonas salmonicida causes furunculosis in salmonids and is a threat to Atlantic salmon aquaculture. The epithelial surfaces that the pathogen colonizes are covered by a mucus layer predominantly comprised of secreted mucins. By using mass spectrometry to identify mucin glycan structures with and without enzymatic removal of glycan residues, coupled to measurements of bacterial growth, we show here that the complex Atlantic salmon intestinal mucin glycans enhance A. salmonicida growth, whereas the more simple skin mucin glycans do not. Of the glycan residues present terminally on the salmon mucins, only N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) enhances growth. Sialic acids, which have an abundance of 75% among terminal glycans from skin and of <50% among intestinal glycans, cannot be removed or used by A. salmonicida for growth-enhancing purposes, and they shield internal GlcNAc from utilization. A Ca2+ concentration above 0.1 mM is needed for A. salmonicida to be able to utilize mucins for growth-promoting purposes, and 10 mM further enhances both A. salmonicida growth in response to mucins and binding of the bacterium to mucins. In conclusion, GlcNAc and sialic acids are important determinants of the A. salmonicida interaction with its host at the mucosal surface. Furthermore, since the mucin glycan repertoire affects pathogen growth, the glycan repertoire may be a factor to take into account during breeding and selection of strains for aquaculture.

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