Genome-wide survey of cytochrome P450 genes in the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer, 1837)



Humble JL, Carmona-Antoñanzas G, McNair CM, Nelson DR, Bassett DI, Egholm I, Bron JE, Bekaert M & Sturm A (2019) Genome-wide survey of cytochrome P450 genes in the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer, 1837). Parasites and Vectors, 12 (1), Art. No.: 563.

Background The salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) infests farmed and wild salmonid fishes, causing considerable economic damage to the salmon farming industry. Infestations of farmed salmon are controlled using a combination of non-medicinal approaches and veterinary drug treatments. While L. salmonis has developed resistance to most available salmon delousing agents, relatively little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved. Members of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) superfamily are typically monooxygenases, some of which are involved in the biosynthesis and metabolism of endogenous compounds, while others have central roles in the detoxification of xenobiotics. In terrestrial arthropods, insecticide resistance can be based on the enhanced expression of CYPs. The reported research aimed to characterise the CYP superfamily in L. salmonis and assess its potential roles in drug resistance. Methods Lepeophtheirus salmonis CYPs were identified by homology searches of the genome and transcriptome of the parasite. CYP transcript abundance in drug susceptible and multi-resistant L. salmonis was assessed by quantitative reverse transcription PCR, taking into account both constitutive expression and expression in parasites exposed to sublethal levels of salmon delousing agents, ecdysteroids and environmental chemicals. Results The above strategy led to the identification of 25 CYP genes/pseudogenes in L. salmonis, making its CYP superfamily the most compact characterised for any arthropod to date. Lepeophtheirus salmonis possesses homologues of a number of arthropod CYP genes with roles in ecdysteroid metabolism, such as the fruit fly genes disembodied, shadow, shade, spook and Cyp18a1. CYP transcript expression did not differ between one drug susceptible and one multi-resistant strain of L. salmonis. Exposure of L. salmonis to emamectin benzoate or deltamethrin caused the transcriptional upregulation of certain CYPs. In contrast, neither ecdysteroid nor benzo[a]pyrene exposure affected CYP transcription significantly. Conclusions The parasite L. salmonis is demonstrated to possess the most compact CYP superfamily characterised for any arthropod to date. The complement of CYP genes in L. salmonis includes conserved CYP genes involved in ecdysteroid biosynthesis and metabolism, as well as drug-inducible CYP genes. The present study does not provide evidence for a role of CYP genes in the decreased susceptibility of the multiresistant parasite strain studied.

Drug resistance; Aquaculture; Salmon farming; Lepeophtheirus salmonis; Caligidae; Cytochrome P450

Parasites and Vectors: Volume 12, Issue 1

FundersBBSRC Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation and Scottish Funding Council
Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online27/11/2019
Date accepted by journal15/11/2019
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC

People (3)


Dr David Bassett

Dr David Bassett

Senior Animal Technician, Machrihanish

Professor James Bron

Professor James Bron

Professor, Institute of Aquaculture

Dr Armin Sturm

Dr Armin Sturm

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Aquaculture

Projects (1)