Aims: Moritella viscosa is a Gram-negative psychrophilic bacterium that causes winter ulcer disease in farmed fish. The aim of the study was to describe an outer membrane protein of roughly 20 kDa in pathogenic M. viscosa and to compare the coincident protein of strains isolated from different fish species and geographical locations.
Methods and Results: The protein was isolated from a pathogenic strain of M. viscosa. An oligopeptide sequence obtained with MS/MS analysis showed homology to Escherichia coli OmpA and Neisseria surface protein A. The protein was named Moritella viscosa outer membrane protein 1 (MvOmp1), and sequence analysis confirmed that it is an integral membrane protein consisting of eight antiparallel β-strands, three short periplasmic turns and four long hydrophilic extracellular loops. The encoding gene, mvomp1, was fully sequenced in nine strains representing different serotypes and phenotypes. The results revealed some differences in the extracellular loops between strains. The mvomp1 gene was cloned and expressed in E. coli, and the recombinant product was recognized by anti-M. viscosa polyclonal antisera.
Conclusions: The results indicate that MvOmp1 is a major protective antigen of M. viscosa.
Significance and Impact of the Study: The results open up possibilities for use of the protein as a part of a subunit vaccine in the future.