Article

Mycobacterium marinum infection of adult zebrafish causes caseating granulomatous tuberculosis and is moderated by adaptive immunity.

Department of Microbiology, Box 357242, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Infection and Immunity (Impact Factor: 4.16). 12/2006; 74(11):6108-17. DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00887-06
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The zebrafish, a genetically tractable model vertebrate, is naturally susceptible to tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium marinum, a close genetic relative of the causative agent of human tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We previously developed a zebrafish embryo-M. marinum infection model to study host-pathogen interactions in the context of innate immunity. Here, we have constructed a flowthrough fish facility for the large-scale longitudinal study of M. marinum-induced tuberculosis in adult zebrafish where both innate and adaptive immunity are operant. We find that zebrafish are exquisitely susceptible to M. marinum strain M. Intraperitoneal injection of five organisms produces persistent granulomatous tuberculosis, while the injection of approximately 9,000 organisms leads to acute, fulminant disease. Bacterial burden, extent of disease, pathology, and host mortality progress in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. Zebrafish tuberculous granulomas undergo caseous necrosis, similar to human tuberculous granulomas. In contrast to mammalian tuberculous granulomas, zebrafish lesions contain few lymphocytes, calling into question the role of adaptive immunity in fish tuberculosis. However, like rag1 mutant mice infected with M. tuberculosis, we find that rag1 mutant zebrafish are hypersusceptible to M. marinum infection, demonstrating that the control of fish tuberculosis is dependent on adaptive immunity. We confirm the previous finding that M. marinum DeltaRD1 mutants are attenuated in adult zebrafish and extend this finding to show that DeltaRD1 predominantly produces nonnecrotizing, loose macrophage aggregates. This observation suggests that the macrophage aggregation defect associated with DeltaRD1 attenuation in zebrafish embryos is ongoing during adult infection.

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