Identification and characterization of two variants of the Hfq-sRNA-chaperone in the fish pathogen Piscirickettsia salmonis

S. H. Marshall, P. Flores-Herrera, F. A. Henríquez, F. A. Gómez

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2 Scopus citations


Small RNA and chaperone proteins form synergistic duos that play pivotal roles in controlling gene expression in bacteria. This is the case for Hfq, a highly pleiotropic pretranslational modulator of general protein expression, which responds to harsh environmental conditions and influences fitness and virulence in a wide range of pathogenic Enterobacteria. Given this relevancy, we evaluated the presence and potential role of Hfq in the fish pathogen Piscirickettsia salmonis, a Gram-negative bacterium that threatens the sustainability of Chilean salmon production. Using bioinformatics tools were identified and characterized two variants of Hfq, which share the consensus RNA-binding domains and the active sites described functional Hfq other bacteria. Additionally, we demonstrated that hfq-1 and hfq-2 were transcriptionally active when growing in cell-free media and in infected susceptible fish cell line. Expression of both genes differed under different growth conditions and under stress, suggesting that their roles might be independent and different, depending on the bacterial physiological status. In conclusion, we demonstrate the existence of two different and functional ORF coding for the hfq marker in marine bacteria and a preliminary analysis indicating that these two novel proteins might have relevant roles in the biology and pathogenic potential of P. salmonis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-509
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Hfq chaperone
  • Piscirickettsia salmonis
  • pathogenicity and virulence
  • sRNA


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