Vibrios are bacteria responsible for a significant proportion of infections affecting marine invertebrates and represent the major cause of mortality in farmed marine species. They are able to colonize many habitats, exist in free-living planktonic seawater, adhered to surfaces within biofilms or associated with various marine hosts. This high adaptability is linked to their capacity to generate high-levels of genetic diversity, a significant proportion via lateral gene transfer (LGT). LGT is being increasingly recognized as a major driving force in the evolution of virulence traits in Vibrio.
In contrast to species that are pathogenic to humans (Vibrio cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus), little data is available regarding invertebrate pathogens. Recent advances in genomics alongside the domestication of marine invertebrates has provided an opportunity to close the gap in our understanding of vibrio pathogens infecting invertebrates, leading to new and original scientific questions.
The objective of our team is to investigate the mechanisms involved in virulence of vibrios infecting marine invertebrates, both at the strain level and at the population level. To achieve this aim, we will use a combination of population, comparative and functional genomic approaches, together with experimental pathology.
Topic 1: Vibrio nigripulchritudo, a shrimp pathogen, is a model for investigating the mechanisms implicated in the expansion of virulent lineages with emphasis on Lateral gene transfer
Topic 2: V. splendidus-related strains, which are associated with oyster mortalities, are a model for studying diverse bacteria that share resources and cause disease as a heterogeneous population