Effects of ploidy and salmonid alphavirus infection on the skin and gill microbiome of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPLOS ONE. 2021, 16 (2), 1-17. 10.1371/journal.pone.0243684
The microbial communities that live in symbiosis with the mucosal surfaces of animals provide the host with defense strategies against pathogens. These microbial communities are largely shaped by the environment and the host genetics. Triploid Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are being considered for aquaculture as they are reproductively sterile and thus cannot contaminate the natural gene pool. It has not been previously investigated how the microbiome of triploid salmon compares to that of their diploid counterparts. In this study, we compare the steady-state skin and gill microbiome of both diploid and triploid salmon, and determine the effects of salmonid alphavirus 3 experimental infection on their microbial composition. Our results show limited differences in the skin-associated microbiome between triploid and diploid salmon, irrespective of infection. In the gills, we observed a high incidence of the bacterial pathogen Candidatus Branchiomonas, with higher abundance in diploid compared to triploid control fish. Diploid salmon infected with SAV3 showed greater histopathological signs of epitheliocystis compared to controls, a phenomenon not observed in triploid fish. Our results indicate that ploidy can affect the alpha diversity of the gills but not the skin-associated microbial community. Importantly, during a natural outbreak of Branchiomonas sp. the gill microbiome of diploid Atlantic salmon became significantly more dominated by this pathogen than in triploid animals. Thus, our results suggest that ploidy may play a role on Atlantic salmon gill health and provide insights into co-infection with SAV3 and C. Branchiomonas in Atlantic salmon.