15. University of Valencia • VibrioNet Europe

Carmen Amaro

The team of the Department of Microbiology and Ecology of the University of Valencia (Spain) is focused on two main areas one of basic research (lead by me) and the other of applied research to the Aquaculture industry (lead by Belen Fouz).

Basic research: main topic V. vulnificus (Vv)

Vv is an aquatic bacterial species with pathogenic potential for human and fish. The species includes a zoonotic serovar that causes a hemorrhagic septicaemia in fish called warm-water vibriosis. This serovar can sporadically infect humans and cause wound infections or even septicaemia in immunodeficient patients, which is why its presence in fish on sale constitutes a Public Health risk. Interestingly, fish and human vibriosis exhibit similar clinical presentations, where infection can lead to a severe form of the disease associated with high mortality rates, especially among immunocompromised hosts.

The main goal of our research is to identify common and host-specific virulence mechanism in Vv and, at the same time, to understand the emergence of the zoonotic serovar within the species.

To get this objective, we use the following approaches

  1. Comparative genomics and phylogenomic: The genomes of 45 strains isolated worlwide from different types of samples (clinical and environmental) have been sequenced and are being analyzed.
  2. Host-pathogen interactionship studies: We have selected eels and mice for in vivo experiments and eel and human cell lines for in vitro experiments. To determine the genes that are expressed by the eel against Vv, we have sequenced the eel transcriptome from PAMP-immunostimulated eels and we have designed and validated an oligonucleotide microarray (format 4x44K) from selected sequences (e-values