Investigating both mucosal immunity and microbiota in response to gut enteritis in yellowtail kingfish

Thibault P.R.A. Legrand, James W. Wynne, Laura S. Weyrich, Andrew P.A. Oxley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The mucosal surfaces of fish play numerous roles including, but not limited to, protection against pathogens, nutrient digestion and absorption, excretion of nitrogenous wastes and osmotic regulation. During infection or disease, these surfaces act as the first line of defense, where the mucosal immune system interacts closely with the associated microbiota to maintain homeostasis. This study evaluated microbial changes across the gut and skin mucosal surfaces in yellowtail kingfish displaying signs of gut inflammation, as well as explored the host gene expression in these tissues in order to improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the emergence of these conditions. For this, we obtained and analyzed 16S rDNA and transcriptomic (RNA-Seq) sequence data from the gut and skin mucosa of fish exhibiting different health states (i.e., healthy fish and fish at the early and late stages of enteritis). Both the gut and skin microbiota were perturbed by the disease. More specifically, the gastrointestinal microbiota of diseased fish was dominated by an uncultured Mycoplasmataceae sp., and fish at the early stage of the disease showed a significant loss of diversity in the skin. Using transcriptomics, we found that only a few genes were significantly differentially expressed in the gut. In contrast, gene expression in the skin differed widely between health states, in particular in the fish at the late stage of the disease. These changes were associated with several metabolic pathways that were differentially expressed and reflected a weakened host. Altogether, this study highlights the sensitivity of the skin mucosal surface in response to gut inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1267
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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