University Of Tasmania
Wynne_whole_thesis_ex_pub_mat.pdf (10.32 MB)

Molecular assessment of resistance to amoebic gill disease

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posted on 2023-05-27, 13:11 authored by Wynne, JW
Amoebic gill disease (AGD) is the most significant health issue affecting the culture of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in Tasmania, Australia. Recent research has suggested that heritable variation in AGD resistance exists within the Tasmanian Atlantic salmon population. Subsequently, enhancing this resistance through selective breeding has become a major research focus in Tasmania. The mechanisms controlling this commercially important trait remain poorly understood. To this end, an investigation of the molecular mechanisms controlling AGD resistance was conducted. Due to their high polymorphism and important immune function genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) - known as the MH genes in Atlantic salmon - represent some of the best candidate loci with a possible influence upon AGD resistance. With this in mind, the amount of MH variation and its association with resistance to AGD was investigated. In contrast to what has been previously reported at non-coding microsatellite loci, a high level of MH class II diversity has been maintained in the Australian Atlantic salmon population compared to the ancestral population. The use of an AGD challenge test with subsequent MH genotyping demonstrated that the presence of one MH class II alpha allele known as Sasa-DAA-3UTR 239 was significantly associated with reduced disease severity. Individuals containing a copy of this allele had 4.0% less gill filaments infected by AGD compared to individuals without this allele. Next utilising a cDNA microarray with real-time PCR verification the transcriptional changes associated with AGD and AGD resistance were investigated. Comparing the gene expression profiles within the gill, liver and anterior kidney between naive and AGD affected (at 19 days post inoculation) Atlantic salmon suggests the host response to AGD upon acute first infection is largely suppressive and localised to the site of infection, the gill. Next, the gill transcriptome response between Atlantic salmon deemed putatively resistant and putatively susceptible to AGD following chronic natural infection was investigated. Results suggested that compared to the susceptible individuals, Atlantic salmon resistant to AGD demonstrate an up-regulation of adaptive immune genes and negative regulators of the cycle cell. Further characterisation of the full length mRNA sequence and expression distribution of one unknown transcript which was significantly up-regulated in both previous microarray experiments was investigated. This research has provided the first molecular assessment of resistance to AGD in Atlantic salmon. The implications of this research in terms of the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of AGD resistance and the ultimate development of genetic markers linked to resistance will be considered.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2008 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Ch. 1. General introduction -- Ch. 2. Diversity at the MH class II within domesticated Australian Atlantic salmon -- Ch. 3. MH polymorphism associated with resistance to AGD in Atlantic salmon -- Ch. 4. Transcriptome analyses of AGD affected Atlantic salmon reveals localised host gene suppression -- Ch. 5. Transcriptome profiling AGD resistant Atlantic salmon -- Ch. 6. Further investigation of the unknown transcript CK880278 -- Ch. 7. General discussion Chapter 2 appears to be the equivalent of the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wynne, J. W., Cook, M. T., Holmes, B. H., Elliott, N. G., 2007. Allelic and haplotypic diversity at the major histocompatibility class II within domesticated Australian Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.), Journal of fish biology, 70(sa), 45-59, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. Chapter 3 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print version of an article published as: Wynne, J. W., Cook, M. T., Nowak, B. F., Elliott, N. G., 2007. Major histocompatibility polymorphism associated with resistance towards amoebic gill disease in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.), Fish & shellfish immunology, 22(6), 707-717 Chapter 4 appears to be the equivalent of a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Marine biotechnology. The final authenticated version is available online at: Chapter 5 appears to be the equivalent of a pre-print of an article published in Developmental & comparative immunology. The final authenticated version is available online at:

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