Aeromonas veronii

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A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Aeromonas veronii


Higher order taxa

Bacteria; Proteobacteria; Gammaproteobacteria; Aeromonadales; Aeromonadaceae


Aeromonas veronii

Description and significance

Describe the appearance, habitat, etc. of the organism, and why you think it is important.

A. veronii is a rod shaped, motile, gram negative, facultative anaerobe. The bacteria are usually not found in groups or pairs but as individual cells.[5] The blood digested by the bacteria has been found to contain various antimicrobial properties. It is capable of lowering high concentrations of bacteria through the activatons of the membrane attack complex. This complex creates permeable membranes in a foreign bacteria, essentially inactivating the bacteria. The A. veronii seem to be unsusceptible to this complex, allowing it to proliferate while other bacteria can not. This leads to a very limited number of microbial flora in the digestive tract of the leech, which is extremely uncommon.[4] The population of Aeromonas veronii is greatly effected by the consumption of blood. Tests have shown that dramatic changes occur during this time, the majority of A. veronii bacteria are found not in the epithelial tissue but in the IntraLuminal Fluid

Genome structure

Describe the size and content of the genome. How many chromosomes? Circular or linear? Other interesting features? What is known about its sequence?

Cell structure and metabolism

Interesting features of cell structure; how it gains energy; what important molecules it produces.


Habitat; symbiosis; contributions to the environment.

The A. veronii bacteria can be found in a number of habitats, including humans, mosquitos and leeches. It is primarily found in the digestive tract of the leech where it maintains a symbiotic relationship with its host. The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis is capable of consuming six times its own body weight. The crop is the area of the digestive tract colonized by A. veronii. It is also the area where blood is stored after ingestion, and where water and salt are absorbed from the blood. . Blood is stored in the crop of the digestive tract. Studies have suggested that one of the reasons A. veronii is one of the two predominant microbial flora of the digestive tract is due to the antimicrobial properties of ingested blood.[4] A. veronii provides a number of contributions to the symbiotic relationship it share with the leech. It appears the bacteria helps maintain the flora of the digestive tract, helps in digestion of blood and it also provides necessary nutrients, such as vitamin B complex, not found in abundance in blood.[5][12]


How does this organism cause disease? Human, animal, plant hosts? Virulence factors, as well as patient symptoms.

Medicinal leeches are used after reconstructive or plastic surgery due to their anticoagulating properties and relative inexpense. Studies have shown that without prior antibiotic treatment, up to 20% of patients receiving leech treatment become infected with aeromonas.[4] Aeromonas bacteria have been shown to have pathogenic properties in a human host. The problem arises if other more pathogenic bacteria are transmitted by leech therapy. Studies looked at whether other bacteria could proliferate or or persist inside the digestive tract for an extended period of time.[4]

Current Research

Currently studies are being conducted on the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis due to its popularity as an anticoagulant after plastic and reconstructive surgery. These studies focus on the flora of the digestive tract, primarily to determine how effective they are against bacteria that may be pathogenic to humans. The studies look at the whether or not A. veronii is able to contain growth of other bacteria and remain the dominating flora.[4] Studies have also looked at the effect of digestion on the predominance of the two species that inhabit the digest tract.


1. Abdullah, A.I., Hart, C.A., and Winstanley, C. 2003. Molecular characterization and distribution of virulence-associated genes amongst Aeromonas isolates from Libya. Journal of Applied Microbiology, v. 95, p. 1001-1007.

2. Aguilera-Arreola, M.G. Hernandez-Rodriguez, C., Zuniga, G., Figueras, M.J., Garduno, R. A., and Castro-Escarpulli, G. 2007. Virulence potential and genetic diversity of Aeromonas caviae, Aeromonas veronii, and Aeromonas hydrophilia clinical isolates from Mexico and Spain: a comparative study. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, v. 53, p. 877-887.

3. Han, H., Taki, T., Kondo, H., Hirono, I., and Aoki, T. 2008. Pathogenic potential of a collagenase gene from Aeromonas veronii. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, v. 54, p. 1-10.

4. Indergand, S., and Graf, J. 2000. Ingested blood contributes to the specificity of the symbiosis of Aeromonas veronii biovar sobria and Hirudo medicinalis, the medicinal leech. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v. 66, p. 4735-4741.

5. Kikuchi, Y., and Graf J. 2007. Spatial and temporal population dynamics of a naturally occurring two-species microbial community inside the digestive tract of the medicinal leech. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v. 73, p. 1984-1991.

6. Rio, R.V.M., Anderegg, M., and Graf, J. 2007. Characterization of a catalase gene from Aeromonas veronii, the digestive-tract symbiont of the medicinal leech. Microbiology, v. 153, p. 1897-1906.

7. Sen, K., and Lye, D. 2007. Importance of flagella and enterotoxins for Aeromonas virulence in a mouse model. Canadian journal of Microbiology, v. 53, p. 261-269.

8. Silver, A.C., Rabinowitz, N.M., Kuffer, S., and Graf, J. 2007. Identification of Aeromonas veronii genes required for colonization of the medicinal leech, Hirudo verbena. Journal of Bacteriology, v. 189, p. 6763-6772.

9. Thomsen, R.N., and Kristiansen, M.M. 2001. Three cases of bacteraemia caused by Aeromonas veronii biovar sobria. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, v.33, p.718-719.

10. Vazquez-Juarez, R.C., Romero, M.J., and Ascencio, F. 2004. Adhesive properties of a LamB-like outer membrane protein and its contribution to Aeromonas veronii adhesion.

11. Vila , J., Ruiz, J., Gallardo, F., Vargas, M., Soler, L., Figueras, M.J., and Gascon J. 2003. Aeromonas spp. and traveler’s diarrhea: clinical features and antimicrobial resistance. Emerging Infectious Diseases, v. 9, p. 552-555.

12. Worthen, P.L., Gode, C.J., and Graf J. 2006. Culture-independent characterization of the digestive-tract microbiota of the medicinal leech reveals a tripartite symbiosis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v. 72, p. 4775-4781.

Edited by student of Emily Lilly at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.