Figure 1

Figure 1. Transmission electron micrograph if Edwardsiella ictaluri strain 93-146.


 Figure 2

Figure 2. Scanning electron micrograph if Edwardsiella ictaluri strain 93-146.


 Figure 3

Figure 3. Adult channel catfish displaying ascites, one of the clinical signs associated with the acute form of ESC. Other external lesions include white punctate spots on the skin, petechial hemorrhages, and exophthalmia.


 Figure 4

Figure 4. Petechial hemmorrhages on the ventral abdomen of an adult channel catfish with ESC.


 Figure 5

Figure 5. Gross internal lesions associated with acute ESC. Hemorrhagic ascites, dark macropapular lesions on the liver, and splenomegaly are visible on this fish. Other internal lesions include petechial hemorrhages on the liver, intestine, and abdominal serosa, and renomegaly.


 Edwardsiella ictaluri

The Edwardsiella ictaluri genome sequencing project is being conducted by Mark Lawrence, D.V.M., Ph.D., of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine; David Dyer, Ph.D., and Allison Gillaspy, Ph.D., of the Laboratory for Genomics and Bioinformatics; and Ronald Thune, Ph.D., of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. These studies are supported by USDA/CSREES grant #2004-35600-14180.



Edwardsiella ictaluri is a small gram-negative rod in the family Enterobacteriaceae, and it is the causative agent of enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC). ESC is the most economically important disease of farm-raised channel catfish, which is the largest aquaculture industry in the U.S. both in terms of acreage and dollar value.

ESC causes signs typical of bacterial septicemia in its acute form. In this disease form, producers experience economic losses due to rapid mortalities (9). In its chronic form, ESC typically has a slower progression and causes a "hole-in-the-head" lesion that may remain localized or progress to septicemia and death (5, 9). Farmers experience losses from chronic ESC due to decreased production, with fish manifesting signs 3 to 4 weeks after an acute outbreak (7). The only treatments currently available are oxytetracycline and sulfadimethoxine/ormetoprim, which are both delivered orally in feed. However, one of the earliest clinical signs associated with ESC is anorexia; therefore, oral antibiotics are only effective in limiting the spread of an outbreak.

E. ictaluri is specifically adapted to the channel catfish host. Although it has been isolated from other fish species (10), disease has only been described in channel catfish. Its optimal in vitro growth temperature (25-30C) and disease temperature window (22-28C) reflect its adaptation to a poikilothermic host. Different isolates of E. ictaluri are serologically and biochemically homogenous (1, 8, 11). Because E. ictaluri isolates from ESC outbreaks are all the same serotype (1, 8), it is considered a good candidate for the development of a vaccine.

The E. ictaluri genome consists of a single circular chromosome. DNA hybridization studies indicated that E. ictaluri is most closely related to Edwardsiella tarda (causative agent of emphysematous putrefactive disease in channel catfish and opportunistic infections in humans), with a relative binding ratio of 56-60% at 60C. E. ictaluri had a relative binding ratio of 31% to Escherichia coli at 60C. The G+C content of E. ictaluri was estimated at 53% by buoyant density centrifugation (3). Two plasmids (5.6 and 4.8 kb) are consistently present in channel catfish isolates (4, 6). Both plasmid sequences have been published (2). Strain 93-146, which was originally isolated from an ESC outbreak in a commercial catfish pond in Louisiana, is being used to determine the E. ictaluri genome sequence. This strain has been the most widely used in pathogenesis research.



  1. Bertolini, J. M., R. C. Cipriano, S. W. Pyle, and J. J. McLaughlin. 1990. Serological investigation of the fish pathogen Edwardsiella ictaluri, cause of enteric septicemia of catfish. J Wildl Dis 26: 246-52.
  2. Fernandez, D. H., L. Pittman-Cooley, and R. L. Thune. 2001. Sequencing and analysis of the Edwardsiella ictaluri plasmids. Plasmid 45:52-6.
  3. Hawke, J. P., A. C. McWhorter, A. G. Steigerwalt, and D. J. Brenner. 1981. Edwardsiella ictaluri sp. nov., the causative agent of enteric septicemia of catfish. International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology 31:396-400.
  4. Lobb, C. J., S. H. Ghaffari, J. R. Hayman, and D. T. Thompson. 1993. Plasmid and serological differences between Edwardsiella ictaluri strains. Appl Environ Microbiol 59:2830-6.
  5. Miyazaki, T., and J. A. Plumb. 1985. Histopathology of Edwardsiella ictaluri in channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque). J. Fish Dis. 8:389-392.
  6. Newton, J. C., R. C. Bird, W. T. Blevins, G. R. Wilt, and L. G. Wolfe. 1988. Isolation, characterization, and molecular cloning of cryptic plasmids isolated from Edwardsiella ictaluri. Am J Vet Res 49:1856-60.
  7. Newton, J. C., L. G. Wolfe, J. M. Grizzle, and J. A. Plumb. 1989. Pathology of experimental enteric septicaemia in channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque), following immersion-exposure to Edwardsiella ictaluri. J. Fish Dis. 12:335-347.
  8. Plumb, J. A., and S. Vinitnantharat. 1989. Biochemical, biophysical, and serological homogeneity of Edwardsiella ictaluri. J. Aquat. Anim. Health 1:51-56.
  9. Shotts, E. B., V. S. Blazer, and W. D. Waltman. 1986. Pathogenesis of experimental Edwardsiella ictaluri infections in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 43:36-42.
  10. Thune, R. L. 1993. Bacterial diseases of catfishes, p. 511-520. In M. K. Stoskopf (ed.), Fish Medicine. W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  11. Waltman, W. D., E. B. Shotts, and T. C. Hsu. 1986. Biochemical characteristics of Edwardsiella ictaluri. Appl Environ Microbiol 51:101-4.


 Downloads and Links

  • Contigs from the latest assembly
  • Statistics from the latest assembly
  • Use Sequal, a quality assessment tool for contiguous sequences