Fish losses from infectious diseases are a significant problem in aquaculture worldwide. Therefore, we investigated the ability of cationic antimicrobial peptides to protect against infection caused by the fish pathogen Vibrio anguillarum. To identify effective peptides for fish, the MICs of certain antimicrobial peptides against fish pathogens were determined in vitro. Two of the most effective antimicrobial peptides, CEME, a cecropin- melittin hybrid peptide, and pleurocidin amide, a C-terminally amidated form of the natural flounder peptide, were selected for in vivo studies. A single intraperitoneal injection of CEME did not affect mortality rates in juvenile coho salmon infected with V. anguillarum, the causative agent of vibriosis. Therefore, the peptides were delivered continuously using miniosmotic pumps placed in the peritoneal cavity. Twelve days after pump implantation, the fish received intraperitoneal injections of V. anguillarum at a dose that would kill 50 to 90% of the population. Fish receiving 200 μg of CEME per day survived longer and had significantly lower accumulated mortalities (13%) than the control groups (50 to 58%). Fish receiving pleurocidin amide at 250 μg per day also survived longer and had significantly lower accumulated mortalities (5%) than the control groups (67 to 75%). This clearly shows the potential for antimicrobial peptides to protect fish against infections and indicates that the strategy of overexpressing the peptides in transgenic fish may provide a method of decreasing bacterial disease problems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology