Characterization of isolates of Streptococcus agalactiae from diseased farmed and wild marine fish from the U.S. Gulf coast, Latin America, and Thailand

Esteban Soto, Rui Wang, Judy Wiles, Wes Baumgartner, John Plumb, John Hawke, Esteban Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined Lancefield serogroup B Streptococcus isolates recovered fromdiseased, cultured hybrid Striped Bass (Striped Bass Morone saxatilis × White Bass M. chrysops) and wild and cultured Gulf Killifish Fundulus grandis from coastal waters of the U.S. Gulf ofMexico (Gulf coast) and compared those isolates to strains fromtilapias Oreochromis spp. reared in Mississippi, Thailand, Ecuador, and Honduras and to the original Gulf coast strain identified by Plumb et al. (1974). The isolates were subjected to phylogenetic, biochemical, and antibiotic susceptibility analyses. Genetic analysis was performed using partial sequence comparison of (1) the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene; (2) the sipA gene,which encodes a surface immunogenic protein; (3) the cspA gene,which encodes a cell surface-associated protein; and (4) the secY gene, which encodes components of a general protein secretion pathway. Phylogenies inferred from sipA, secY, and cspA gene sequence comparisons weremore discriminating than that inferred from the 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison. The U.S. Gulf coast strains showed a high degree of similarity to strains from South America and Central America and belonged to a unique group that can be distinguished from other group B streptococci. In agreement with the molecular findings, biochemical and antimicrobial resistance analyses demonstrated that the isolates recovered from the U.S. Gulf coast and Latin America were more similar to each other than to isolates from Thailand. Three laboratory challenge methods for inducing streptococcosis in Gulf Killifish were evaluated-intraperitoneal (IP) injection, immersion (IMM), and immersion plus abrasion (IMMA)-using serial dilutions of S. agalactiae isolate LADL 97-151, a representative U.S. Gulf coast strain. The dose that was lethal to 50% of test fish by 14 d postchallenge was approximately 2 CFU/fish via IP injection. In contrast, the fish that were challenged via IMM or IMMA presented cumulative mortality less than 40% by 14 d postchallenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aquatic Animal Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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