Development of real-time PCR assays for rapid detection of Pfiesteria piscicida and related dinoflagellates. (25/633)

Pfiesteria complex species are heterotrophic and mixotrophic dinoflagellates that have been recognized as harmful algal bloom species associated with adverse fish and human health effects along the East Coast of North America, particularly in its largest (Chesapeake Bay in Maryland) and second largest (Albermarle-Pamlico Sound in North Carolina) estuaries. In response to impacts on human health and the economy, monitoring programs to detect the organism have been implemented in affected areas. However, until recently, specific identification of the two toxic species known thus far, Pfiesteria piscicida and P. shumwayae (sp. nov.), required scanning electron microscopy (SEM). SEM is a labor-intensive process in which a small number of cells can be analyzed, posing limitations when the method is applied to environmental estuarine water samples. To overcome these problems, we developed a real-time PCR-based assay that permits rapid and specific identification of these organisms in culture and heterogeneous environmental water samples. Various factors likely to be encountered when assessing environmental samples were addressed, and assay specificity was validated through screening of a comprehensive panel of cultures, including the two recognized Pfiesteria species, morphologically similar species, and a wide range of other estuarine dinoflagellates. Assay sensitivity and sample stability were established for both unpreserved and fixative (acidic Lugol's solution)-preserved samples. The effects of background DNA on organism detection and enumeration were also explored, and based on these results, we conclude that the assay may be utilized to derive quantitative data. This real-time PCR-based method will be useful for many other applications, including adaptation for field-based technology.  (+info)

Dimethylsulfoniopropionate in giant clams (Tridacnidae). (26/633)

The tridacnid clams maintain symbiotic associations with certain dinoflagellates (termed zooxanthellae). Tridacnids are thus candidates to have high tissue concentrations of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a tertiary sulfonium compound that is not synthesized by animals but is commonly produced by dinoflagellates. This study establishes that DMSP is about an order of magnitude more concentrated in the light-exposed and shaded mantle and gills of Tridacna maxima and T. squamosa than in any other known animal tissues. The DMSP concentration in the light-exposed, siphonal mantle--the location of most zooxanthellae--is an inverse function of body size, paralleling an inverse relation between apparent density of zooxanthellae (measured as pheophytin concentration) and body size. The shaded mantle and gills are high in DMSP despite having low densities of zooxanthellae, indicating that high DMSP concentrations occur in molluscan tissue, not just in algal cells. DMSP is almost an order of magnitude less concentrated in the adductor muscle than in other tissues. The high DMSP concentrations found in tridacnids, by providing abundant substrate for formation of volatile dimethylsulfide, probably explain the peculiar tendency of tridacnids to rapidly develop offensive odors and tastes after death: a serious problem for their exploitation as food. Tridacnids are the one group of animals in which DMSP concentrations are high enough in some tissues to be in the range capable of perturbing enzyme function at high physiological temperatures. Thus, tridacnids may require enzyme forms adapted to DMSP.  (+info)

Biogeography of two species of Symbiodinium (Freudenthal) inhabiting the intertidal sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt). (27/633)

We have analyzed the genetic profiles of dinoflagellate populations obtained from the Pacific coast sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt) at collection sites from Washington to California. Genetic differences within the symbiont populations of California anemones have been uncovered by restriction length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the small subunit (SSU) and large subunit (LSU) ribosomal RNA genes, and by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS 2). The existence of two Symbiodinium species is substantiated by sequence analysis of the variable regions V1, V2, and V3 of the SSUrDNA, which also establishes their phylogenetic relatedness to other members of the genus Symbiodinium. Anemones from Washington and Oregon harbor a single dinoflagellate species, for which we propose the name S. muscatinei sp. nov. At these northern locations, S. muscatinei either exists alone or co-occurs with the Chlorella-like green algal symbiont. Our results indicate that S. muscatinei co-occurs with a second dinoflagellate, S. californium, in mixed populations in central and southern California. We suggest that the geographic distribution of these dinoflagellates is related to the temperature cline created by latitude.  (+info)

Mechanism of superoxide anion generation in the toxic red tide phytoplankton Chattonella marina: possible involvement of NAD(P)H oxidase. (28/633)

Red tide phytoplankton Chattonella marina is known to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as superoxide anion (O(2)(-)), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) and hydroxyl radical (&z.rad;OH), under normal physiological conditions. Although several lines of evidence suggest that ROS are involved in the mortality of fish exposed to C. marina, the mechanism of ROS generation in C. marina remains to be clarified. In this study, we found that the cell-free supernatant prepared from C. marina cells showed NAD(P)H-dependent O(2)(-) generation, and this response was inhibited by diphenyleneiodonium, an inhibitor of mammalian NADPH oxidase. When the cell-free supernatant of C. marina was analyzed by immunoblotting using antibody raised against the human neutrophil cytochrome b558 large subunit (gp91phox), a main band of approximately 110 kDa was detected. The cell surface localization of the epitope recognized with this antibody was also demonstrated in C. marina by indirect immunofluorescence. Furthermore, Southern blot analysis performed on genomic DNA of C. marina with a probe covering the C-terminal region of gp91phox suggested the presence of a single-copy gene coding for gp91phox homologous protein in C. marina. These results provide evidence for the involvement of an enzymatic system analogous to the neutrophil NADPH oxidase as a source of O(2)(-) production in C. marina.  (+info)

Epizootiology of the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium sp. in the American blue crab Callinectes sapidus. (29/633)

Hematodinium sp. is a parasitic dinoflagellate that infects and kills blue crabs Callinectes sapidus. Periodic outbreaks of dinoflagellate infections with subsequent high host mortalities prompted a study of the epizootiology and distribution of the crab pathogen. Hemolymph samples from over 13000 crabs were assessed for infections over 8 yr. Moderate to high prevalences were found at several locations along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. In the coastal bays of Maryland and Virginia, prevalence followed a seasonal pattern, with a sharp peak in late autumn. Infections were significantly more prevalent in crabs measuring less than 30 mm carapace width; host sex did not influence prevalence. Prevalences were highest in crabs collected from salinities of 26 to 30%o; no infected crabs were found in salinities below 11%o. Intensity of infection did not vary among crab sizes, molt stages, or sexes. Naturally and experimentally infected crabs died over 35 and 55 d in captivity, with a mean time to death of approximately 13 and 42 d, respectively. Several other crustaceans, including gammaridean amphipods, xanthid (mud) crabs, and the green crab Carcinus maenus, were found with Hematodinium-like infections. Considering its widespread distribution and high pathogenicity, we suggest that Hematodinium sp. represents a significant threat to blue crab populations in high salinity estuaries along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the USA.  (+info)

Preferential expulsion of dividing algal cells as a mechanism for regulating algal-cnidarian symbiosis. (30/633)

A wide range of both intrinsic and environmental factors can influence the population dynamics of algae in symbiosis with marine cnidarians. The present study shows that loss of algae by expulsion from cnidarian hosts is one of the primary regulators of symbiont population density. Because there is a significant linear correlation between the rate of algal expulsion and the rate of algal division, factors that increase division rates (e.g., elevated temperature) also increase expulsion rates. Additionally, 3H-thymidine is taken up to a greater extent by algae destined to be expelled than by algae retained in the host cnidarians. Taken together, data for rates of expulsion, rates of division at different temperatures, and uptake of 3H-thymidine suggest that dividing algal cells are preferentially expelled from their hosts. The preferential expulsion of dividing cells may be a mechanism for regulation of algal population density, where the rate of expulsion of algae may be an inverse function of the ability of host cells to accommodate new algal daughter cells. This kind of regulation is present in some cnidarian species (e.g., Aiptasia pulchella, Pocillopora damicornis), but not in all (e.g., Montipora verrucosa, Porites compressa, and Fungia scutaria).  (+info)

Evolutionary relationship between dinoflagellates bearing obligate diatom endosymbionts: insight into tertiary endosymbiosis. (31/633)

The marine dinoflagellates Peridinium balticum and Peridinium foliaceum are known for bearing diatom endosymbionts instead of peridinin-containing plastids. While evidence clearly indicates that their endosymbionts are closely related, the relationship between the host dinoflagellate cells is not settled. To examine the relationship of the two dinoflagellates, the DNA sequences of nuclear small-subunit rRNA genes (SSU rDNA) from Peridinium balticum, Peridinium foliaceum and one other peridinin-containing species, Peridinium bipes, were amplified, cloned and sequenced. While phylogenetic analyses under simple models of nucleotide substitution weakly support the monophyly of Peridinium balticum and Peridinium foliaceum, analyses under more sophisticated models significantly increased the statistical support for this relationship. Combining these results with the similarity between the two endosymbionts, it is concluded that (i) the two hosts have the closest sister relationship among dinoflagellates tested, (ii) the hypothesis that the diatom endosymbiosis occurred prior to the separation of the host cells is most likely to explain their evolutionary histories, and (iii) phylogenetic inferences under complex nucleotide evolution models seem to be able to compensate significant rate variation in the two SSU rDNA.  (+info)

Mergers and acquisitions: malaria and the great chloroplast heist. (32/633)

The origin of the relict chloroplast recently identified in malarial parasites has been mysterious. Several new papers suggest that the parasites obtained their chloroplasts in an ancient endosymbiotic event that also created some major algal groups.  (+info)