Multilocus sequence typing detects new Piscirickettsia salmonis hybrid genogroup in Chilean fish farms: Evidence for genetic diversity and population structure

Adolfo Isla, Mónica Saldarriaga-Córdoba, Derie E. Fuentes, Romina Albornoz, Denise Haussmann, Jorge Mancilla-Schulz, Alexis Martínez, Jaime Figueroa, Ruben Avendaño-Herrera, Alejandro Yáñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Piscirickettsia salmonisis the causative bacterial pathogen of piscirickettsiosis, a salmonid disease that causes notable mortalities in the worldwide aquaculture industry. Published research describes the phenotypic traits, virulence factors, pathogenicity and antibiotic-resistance potential for various P. salmonisstrains. However, evolutionary and genetic information is scarce for P. salmonis. The present study used multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to gain insight into the population structure and evolution of P. salmonis. Forty-two Chilean P. salmonisisolates, as well as the type strain LF-89 T , were recovered from diseased Salmo salar, Oncorhynchus kisutchand Oncorhynchus mykissfrom two Chilean Regions. MLST assessed the loci sequences of dnaK, efp, fumC, glyA, murG, rpoD and trpB. Bioinformatics analyses established the genetic diversity among P. salmonis isolates (H = 0.5810). A total of 23 sequence types (ST) were identified, 53.48% of which were represented by ST1, ST5 and ST2. Population structure analysis through polymorphism patterns showed few polymorphic sites (218 nucleotides from 4,010 bp), while dN/dS ratio analysis indicated purifying selection for dnaK, epf, fumC, murG, and rpoD but neutral selection for the trpB loci. The standardized index of association indicated strong linkage disequilibrium, suggesting clonal population structure. However, recombination events were detected in a group of seven isolates. Findings included genogroups homologous to the LF-89 T and EM-90 strains, as well as a seven-isolate hybrid genogroup recovered from both assessed regions (three O. mykiss and four S. salar isolates). The presented MLST scheme has comparative potential, with promising applications in studying distinct P. salmonis isolates (e.g., from different hosts, farms, geographical areas) and in understanding the epidemiology of this pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-737
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • genetic evolution
  • hybrid genogroup
  • MLST scheme
  • Piscirickettsia salmonis
  • salmonid pathogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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