1887

Abstract

The bacterium has been implicated in mass mortalities of corals and shellfish larvae. However, using corals for manipulative infection experiments can be logistically difficult compared to other model organisms, so we aimed to establish oyster larvae infections as a proxy model. Therefore, this study assessed the virulence of six wild-type strains, and mutants of one strain with deletions of known virulence factors, between Pacific oyster larvae () and Hawaiian rice coral () infection systems. The wild-type strains tested displayed variable virulence in each system, but virulence levels between hosts were not necessarily comparable. Strains RE98 and OCN008 maintained a medium to high level of virulence across hosts and appeared to be more generalist pathogens. Strain H1, in contrast, was avirulent towards coral but displayed a medium level of virulence towards oyster larvae. Interestingly, the BAA-450 type strain had a medium level of virulence towards coral and was the least virulent to oyster larvae. A comparison of known virulence factors determined that the flagellum, motility or chemotaxis, all of which play a significant role in coral infections, were not crucial for oyster infections with strain OCN008. A genomic comparison of the newly sequenced strain H1 with the other strains tested identified 16 genes potentially specific to coral pathogens that were absent in H1. This is both the first comparison of various strains across infection systems and the first investigation of a strain that is non-virulent to coral. Our results indicate that the virulence of strains in coral is not necessarily indicative of virulence in oyster larvae, and that the set of genes tested are not required for virulence in both model systems. This study increases our understanding of the virulence between strains and helps assess their potential threat to marine environments and shellfish industries.

Keyword(s): coral , disease , model system , oyster and Vibrio
Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Oregon State University
    • Principle Award Recipient: ClaudiaC Häse
  • Southern Oregon University
    • Principle Award Recipient: PatrickVideau
  • George Washington University
    • Principle Award Recipient: JimmyH Saw
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington
    • Principle Award Recipient: BlakeUshijima
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/content/journal/micro/10.1099/mic.0.001169
2022-04-05
2022-05-18
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