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Transcriptional profiling of zebrafish identifies host factors controlling susceptibility to Shigella flexneri.

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Shigella flexneri is a human-adapted pathovar of Escherichia coli that can invade the intestinal epithelium, causing inflammation and bacillary dysentery. Although an important human pathogen, the host response to S. flexneri has not been fully described. Zebrafish larvae represent a valuable model for studying human infections in vivo. Here, we use a Shigella-zebrafish infection model to generate mRNA expression profiles of host response to Shigella infection at the whole-animal level. Immune response-related processes dominate the signature of early Shigella infection (6 h post-infection). Consistent with its clearance from the host, the signature of late Shigella infection (24 h post-infection) is significantly changed, and only a small set of immune-related genes remain differentially expressed, including acod1 and gpr84. Using mutant lines generated by ENU, CRISPR mutagenesis and F0 crispants, we show that acod1- and gpr84-deficient larvae are more susceptible to Shigella infection. Together, these results highlight the power of zebrafish to model infection by bacterial pathogens and reveal the mRNA expression of the early (acutely infected) and late (clearing) host response to Shigella infection.


Peer reviewed: True

Publication status: Published

Funder: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; doi:

Funder: UK Research and Innovation; doi:

Funder: Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine; doi:


Shigella, Acod1, Gpr84, Host-pathogen, RNA-seq, Zebrafish, Animals, Humans, Dysentery, Bacillary, Shigella flexneri, Zebrafish, Inflammation, RNA, Messenger

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Dis Model Mech

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The Company of Biologists
European Union H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (H2020-MSCA-IF-2015–700088)
Wellcome Trust (204928/Z/16/Z, 206444/Z/17/Z, WT097411MA)
European Research Council (772853 - ENTRAPMENT)