ISSN 1063-0740, Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 2017, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 190–195. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2017.
Original Russian Text © D.K. Chistyulin, I.Yu. Kokoreva, O.Yu. Portnyagina, G.A. Naberezhnykh, L.S. Shevchenko, O.D. Novikova, 2017, published in Biologiya Morya.
The Prevalence of the Fish Pathogen Yersinia ruckeri
among Representatives of the Marine Flora and Fauna
of the Sea of Okhotsk
D. K. Chistyulin
, I. Yu. Kokoreva
, O. Yu. Portnyagina
*, G. A. Naberezhnykh
L. S. Shevchenko
, and O. D. Novikova
Elyakov Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Vladivostok, 690022 Russia
Far Eastern Federal University, School of Natural Science,
Vladivostok, 690950 Russia
Received September 29, 2016
Abstract—This study investigates the spreading of the Gram-negative bacterium Yersinia ruckeri, pathogenic
for fish, among representatives of the marine f lora and fauna of the Sea of Okhotsk. The enzyme-linked
immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed the presence of Y. ruckeri outer membrane antigens in 9 of the
29 samples obtained by washing the internal organs of fish, shellfish, crustaceans, and surfaces of algal thalli.
Using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) containing a fluorescent label we detected LPS-binding proteins, which are
a component of the innate immune system of invertebrates, in half of the samples studied. However, the
simultaneous presence of Y. ruckeri and LPS-binding proteins was found only in brachiopods, scallops, and
shrimps. It is assumed that this may be indicative of a particular response of the immune system of these ani-
mals to infection and/or manifestation of a toxic effect of Y. ruckeri.
Keywords: marine invertebrates, innate immunity, Yersiniа ruckeri, OmpF porin, LPS-binding proteins,
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Sea of Okhotsk
The genus Yersinia belongs to the family Entero-
bacteriaceae and now includes 18 separate species of
bacteria (www.bacterio.net/yersinia.html). Those
pathogenic to humans include Y. pestis, Y. pseudotu-
berculosis, and Y. enterocolitica. The bacterium Y.
ruckeri causes yersiniosis in many fish species, also
known as enteritis, accompanied by redness of the
mouth. All other Yersinia: Y. aldovae, Y. aleksiciae, Y.
bercovieri, Y. entomophaga, Y. intermedia, Y. frederik-
senii, Y. kristensenii, Y. massiliensis, Y. mollaretii, Y.
nurmii, Y. pekkanenii, Y. rohdei , Y. wautersii, and Y.
similis belong to non-pathogenic and potential oppor-
tunistic pathogenic species. Yersinia are tolerant to
environmental conditions and are therefore widely
distributed in different ecosystems. They are com-
monly extracted from soils and water and found in
plants, warm-blooded organisms, and invertebrates
It has now been established that Yersinia that are
typical of terrestrial ecosystems (below referred to as
terrestrial Yersinia) are non-obligate microorganisms
for waters of seas and oceans . Very likely, the pol-
lution of coastal marine waters with these bacterial
species occurs and is supported by eff luent of fresh
waters infected with Yersinia from the land surface into
a new environment, an area of desalinated sea water
with a different qualitative composition. The reduced
salinity of seawater mitigates the negative effect of sea-
water on Yersinia, so that they can adapt to the new
environment to survive in these conditions for a long
period of time. As an example, according to some pub-
lications, non-pathogenic and pathogenic terrestrial
Yersinia species have been found in the Atlantic
Ocean, the Mediterranean, and in the Amur Bay, Sea
of Japan .
In marine fish, terrestrial Yersinia occur relatively
rarely, they were recorded in only 1–2.6% of the fish
from the Amursky Bay, Sea of Japan  and from the
Pacific coastal areas of the United States . Individ-
ual strains of Yersinia, including pseudotuberculosis
bacteria, were isolated from chum and pink salmon in
Chukotka  and from trout in Norway . Some
terrestrial species of Yersinia were found in marine
invertebrates: crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, and