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BBB Seminar: Frank Nilsen

Host parasite interactions between the salmon louse and Atlantic salmon revealed by transcriptomic analysis


Frank Nilsen
Sea Lice Research Centre and Department of Biology, University of Bergen 

Salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) is one of the most significant loss-factors in the salmon farming industry. Strong control of lice levels is necessary to avoid negative environmental effects and to ensure good fish health and welfare. Today the farming industry is heavily dependent on anti-salmon louse medicines. New control measures utilizing the host immune system through vaccination or other approaches could be important prophylactic tools for sea lice control. To facilitate this, increased knowledge about the host response is necessary. Although the Atlantic salmon immune system has been studied for several decades, very few studies have addressed how the host responds towards parasites in general and sea lice in particular. To increase the knowledge about the host response after infections with the salmon louse we have conducted transcriptomic assessment using microarrays. The first study aimed at characterizing the response for the main life cycle stages of the salmon louse. The next study focused on the early infection phase to further understand the initial host response. In general, the salmon louse induces a very strong response in the host but the lice are not removed. In this presentation, some examples of the effects the salmon louse have on Atlantic salmon gene regulation will be presented and discussed, with particular reference to immune response and immune modulation.

Chair: Silke Appel, The Gade Institute