Significant damage to crustacean fisheries worldwide has been associated with Hematodinium sp. It has been postulated that Hematodinium sp. requires passage through the water column and/or intermediate hosts to complete its life cycle. Thus, an understanding of the prevalence and seasonality of Hematodinium sp. within environmentally-derived samples should yield insight into potential modes of disease transmission, and how these relate to infection cycles in hosts.
We conducted a two year survey, from 2010–2011, in which 48 of 546 (8.8%) of environmental samples from the Maryland and Virginia coastal bays were positive for Hematodinium sp. between April and November, as based upon endpoint PCR analysis specific to blue crab isolates. Detection in both water and sediment was roughly equivalent, and there were no obvious seasonal patterns. However, there was a high detection in April water samples, which was unanticipated owing to the fact that crabs infected with Hematodinium sp. have not been observed in this early month of the seasonal disease cycle. Focusing on three sites of high prevalence (Sinnickson, VA; Tom’s Cove, VA; and Newport Bay, MD) Hematodinium sp. population diversity was analyzed using standard cloning methods. Of 131 clones, 109 (83.2%) were identical, 19 displayed a single nucleotide substitution, and 4 contain two nucleotide substitutions.
Our data suggests a continuous presence of Hematodinium sp. in both water and sediment of a combined Maryland and Virginia coastal bay ecosystem. The detection of Hematodinium sp. in the water column in April is an earlier manifestation of the parasite than predicted, pointing to an as yet unknown stage in its development prior to infection. That the population is relatively homogenous ranging from April to November, at three distinct sites, supports a hypothesis that one species of Hematodinium is responsible for infections within the ecosystem.
Hematodinium; Life cycle; Environment; Population
Mitochondria from the embryos of brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana) do not undergo Ca2+-induced permeability transition in the presence of a profound Ca2+ uptake capacity. Furthermore, this crustacean is the only organism known to exhibit bongkrekate-insensitive mitochondrial adenine nucleotide exchange, prompting the conjecture that refractoriness to bongkrekate and absence of Ca2+-induced permeability transition are somehow related phenomena. Here we report that mitochondria isolated from two other crustaceans, brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) and common prawn (Palaemon serratus) exhibited bongkrekate-sensitive mitochondrial adenine nucleotide transport, but lacked a Ca2+-induced permeability transition. Ca2+ uptake capacity was robust in the absence of adenine nucleotides in both crustaceans, unaffected by either bongkrekate or cyclosporin A. Transmission electron microscopy images of Ca2+-loaded mitochondria showed needle-like formations of electron-dense material strikingly similar to those observed in mitochondria from the hepatopancreas of blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) and the embryos of Artemia franciscana. Alignment analysis of the partial coding sequences of the adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT) expressed in Crangon crangon and Palaemon serratus versus the complete sequence expressed in Artemia franciscana reappraised the possibility of the 208-214 amino acid region for conferring sensitivity to bongkrekate. However, our findings suggest that the ability to undergo Ca2+-induced mitochondrial permeability transition and the sensitivity of adenine nucleotide translocase to bongkrekate are not necessarily related phenomena.
Investigations on the incidence of septate gregarines in shrimp have immense importance because of severe pathogenicity of the parasite. The septate gregarines infect the midgut of shrimp Peneaus monodon and severe infection disturbs the intestinal tissues. Mostly gregarines of the genus Nematopsis have been identified from cultured peneaid shrimp. It has worldwide in distribution. In India, gregarine parasites have so far been reported from penaeid shrimps of Bombay and Kerala. The species which was isolated from the midgut of shrimp Peneaus monodon collected from Kharibari area of Sunderbans. 9 out of 20 i.e. 45% of the randomly sampled hosts were found to be infected with a species of the genus Nematopsis. Different developmental stages including trophozoites, sporadins, and gametocysts of the Nematopsis sp. infecting the shrimp have been isolated. No correlations have been established between incidence of infection and environmental parameters.
Nematopsis sundarbanensis; Peneaus monodon; Septate gregarines; Gut parasite; Sundarbans
This study compares the fishing activity and landings of the trawl and creel fisheries for Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus (L.)) off the Portuguese coast, and evaluates the financial viability of two vessels typical of each fleet. Crustacean trawlers are part of an industrial fleet that, besides Nephrops, targets deep water shrimps. Creels are used by a multi-gear, multi-target artisanal fleet, fishing only in areas unavailable to trawlers and, when catching Nephrops, set specifically to target this species. Trawlers have in recent years contributed with 85% of the landings in weight, but only 74% in value (2005–2009 average). Despite smaller landings, the Nephrops creel fishery provides individuals of larger size and in better condition, thereby obtaining higher unit prices. Economic viability was also higher for the creel vessel, with trawling being only viable if major costs (such as labor and fuel) are covered by the revenue from other target species (e.g., the rose shrimp). At present, Nephrops populations on the South and SW coast are subject to intense fishing and to a recovery plan. The possibility of reallocation of some of the fishing effort directed at Nephrops from trawlers to creels is discussed in terms of the conservation of the resource and economic return.
Increasingly, diseases of marine organisms are recognized as significant biotic factors affecting ecosystem health. However, the responsible disease agents are often unknown and the discovery and description of novel parasites most often rely on morphological descriptions made by highly trained specialists. Here, we describe a new approach for parasite discovery, utilizing denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) reverse-phase ion-paring technology. Systematic investigations of major DHPLC variables, including temperature, gradient conditions, and target amplicon characteristics were conducted to develop a mechanistic understanding of DNA fragment separation by DHPLC. As a model system, 18S rRNA genes from the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) and a parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium sp. were used. Binding of 18S rRNA gene PCR amplicons to the DNA separation column in the presence of triethylammonium acetate (TEAA) was inversely correlated with temperature and could be predicted based on the estimated DNA helicity of the PCR amplicon. Amplicons of up to 498 bp were resolved as single chromatographic peaks if they had high (>95%) DNA helicity. Amplicons that differed by as few as 2 bp could be resolved. Separation of 18S rRNA gene PCR amplicons was optimized by simultaneous manipulation of both temperature and solvent gradients. The optimal conditions included targeting regions of high DNA helicity (>95%), temperatures in the range of 57 to 63°C, and a linear acetonitrile gradient from 13.75 to 17.5% acetonitrile in 0.1 M TEAA (55 to 70% buffer B) over a 9-min period. Under these conditions, amplicons from a variety of parasites and their hosts can be separated and detected by DHPLC.
Marine sponges are frequently inhabited by a wide range of associated invertebrates, including caridean shrimps. Symbiotic shrimps are often considered to be commensals; however, in most cases, the relationship with sponge hosts remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that sponge-inhabiting shrimps are often parasites adapted to consumption of sponge tissues. First, we provide detailed examination of morphology and stomach contents of Typton carneus (Decapoda: Palaemonidae: Pontoniinae), a West Atlantic tropical shrimp living in fire sponges of the genus Tedania. Remarkable shear-like claws of T. carneus show evidence of intensive shearing, likely the result of crushing siliceous sponge spicules. Examination of stomach contents revealed that the host sponge tissue is a major source of food for T. carneus. A parasitic mode of life is also reflected in adaptations of mouth appendages, in the reproduction strategy, and in apparent sequestration of host pigments by shrimp. Consistent results were obtained also for congeneric species T. distinctus (Western Atlantic) and T. spongicola (Mediterranean). The distribution of shrimps among sponge hosts (mostly solitary individuals or heterosexual pairs) suggests that Typton shrimps actively prevent colonisation of their sponge by additional conspecifics, thus protecting their resource and reducing the damage to the hosts. We also demonstrate feeding on host tissues by sponge-associated shrimps of the genera Onycocaris, Periclimenaeus, and Thaumastocaris (Pontoniinae) and Synalpheus (Alpheidae). The parasitic mode of life appears to be widely distributed among sponge-inhabiting shrimps. However, it is possible that under some circumstances, the shrimps provide a service to the host sponge by preventing a penetration by potentially more damaging associated animals. The overall nature of interspecific shrimp-sponge relationships thus warrants further investigation.
In alveolate evolution, dinoflagellates have developed many unique features, including the cell that has epicone and hypocone, the undulating transverse flagellum. However, it remains unclear how these features evolved. The early branching dinoflagellates so far investigated such as Hematodinium, Amoebophrya and Oxyrrhis marina differ in many ways from of core dinoflagellates, or dinokaryotes. Except those handful of well studied taxa, the vast majority of early branching dinoflagellates are known only by environmental sequences, and remain enigmatic. In this study we describe two new species of the early branching dinoflagellates, Psammosa pacifica n. g., n. sp. and P. atlantica n. sp. from marine intertidal sandy beach. Molecular phylogeny of the small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA and Hsp90 gene places Psammosa spp. as an early branch among the dinoflagellates. Morphologically (1) they lack the typical dinoflagellate epicone–hypocone structure, and (2) undulation in either flagella. Instead they display a mosaïc of dinokaryotes traits, i.e. (3) presence of bi-partite trychocysts; Oxyrrhis marina–like traits, i.e. (4) presence of flagellar hairs, (5) presence of two-dimensional cobweb scales ornamenting both flagella (6) transversal cell division; a trait shared with some syndineansand Parvilucifera spp. i.e. (7) a nucleus with a conspicuous nucleolus and condensed chromatin distributed beneath the nuclear envelope; as well as Perkinsus marinus -like features i.e. (8) separate ventral grooves where flagella emerge and (9) lacking dinoflagellate-type undulating flagellum. Notably Psammosa retains an apical complex structure, which is shared between perkinsids, colpodellids, chromerids and apicomplexans, but is not found in dinokaryotic dinoflagellates.
Deep-sea hydrothermal vents and methane seeps are extreme environments that have a high concentration of hydrogen sulphide. However, abundant unique invertebrates including shrimps of the family Bresiliidae have been found in such environments. The bresiliid shrimps are believed to have radiated in the Miocene (less than 20 Myr); however, the period when and the mechanisms by which they dispersed across the hydrothermal vents and cold seeps in oceans worldwide have not been clarified. In the present study, we collected the deep-sea blind shrimp Alvinocaris longirostris from the hydrothermal vent site in the Okinawa Trough and carried out the first investigation of the 18S rRNA gene of a bresiliid shrimp. The phylogenetic analysis revealed that the bresiliid shrimp is situated at an intermediate lineage within the infraorder Caridea and shows monophyly with palaemonid shrimps, which live in shallow sea and freshwater. Furthermore, the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene sequences were analysed to determine the phylogenetic relationship with known bresiliid shrimps. A. longirostris of the Okinawa Trough had two haplotypes of the COI gene, one of which was identical to the Alvinocaris sp. of the cold seeps in Sagami Bay. These results indicate that a long-distance dispersal of A. longirostris occurred possibly within the last 100 000 years.
dispersal; hydrothermal vent; water current; phylogeny; Bresiliidae Alvinocarididae
The evolutionary history and relationships of the mud shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda: Gebiidea and Axiidea) are contentious, with previous attempts revealing mixed results. The mud shrimps were once classified in the infraorder Thalassinidea. Recent molecular phylogenetic analyses, however, suggest separation of the group into two individual infraorders, Gebiidea and Axiidea. Mitochondrial (mt) genome sequence and structure can be especially powerful in resolving higher systematic relationships that may offer new insights into the phylogeny of the mud shrimps and the other decapod infraorders, and test the hypothesis of dividing the mud shrimps into two infraorders.
We present the complete mitochondrial genome sequences of five mud shrimps, Austinogebia edulis, Upogebia major, Thalassina kelanang (Gebiidea), Nihonotrypaea thermophilus and Neaxius glyptocercus (Axiidea). All five genomes encode a standard set of 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, 22 transfer RNA genes and a putative control region. Except for T. kelanang, mud shrimp mitochondrial genomes exhibited rearrangements and novel patterns compared to the pancrustacean ground pattern. Each of the two Gebiidea species (A. edulis and U. major) and two Axiidea species (N. glyptocercus and N. thermophiles) share unique gene order specific to their infraorders and analyses further suggest these two derived gene orders have evolved independently. Phylogenetic analyses based on the concatenated nucleotide and amino acid sequences of 13 protein-coding genes indicate the possible polyphyly of mud shrimps, supporting the division of the group into two infraorders. However, the infraordinal relationships among the Gebiidea and Axiidea, and other reptants are poorly resolved. The inclusion of mt genome from more taxa, in particular the reptant infraorders Polychelida and Glypheidea is required in further analysis.
Phylogenetic analyses on the mt genome sequences and the distinct gene orders provide further evidences for the divergence between the two mud shrimp infraorders, Gebiidea and Axiidea, corroborating previous molecular phylogeny and justifying their infraordinal status. Mitochondrial genome sequences appear to be promising markers for resolving phylogenetic issues concerning decapod crustaceans that warrant further investigations and our present study has also provided further information concerning the mt genome evolution of the Decapoda.
Mud shrimps; Mitochondrial genome; Gene order; Evolution; Phylogenetics
Linear relationships of the median lethal concentrations of several hundreds of chemicals for a variety of organisms with Vibrio fischeri median effective concentrations are investigated. Significant correlations can be developed for many aquatic species including the fishes fathead minnow, bluegill, catfish, goldfish, goldorfe, guppy, killifish, rainbow trout, sheepshead minnow, and zebrafish; the water flea Daphnia sp.; such crustaceans as Artemia sp. and Crangon sp.; the ciliate Tetrahymena pyriformis; and algae, such as Chlorella sp. These interspecies relationships can be used to estimate order-of-magnitude type toxic effects of many substances for these aquatic organisms. Highly significant relationships can be obtained when selecting compounds on a chemical basis, such as alcohols, ketones, aromatics, etc., which allow the calculation of the compounds' toxicities to the corresponding aquatic species with increased accuracy and confidence. Analogous correlations with mammalian (rat and mouse) oral, intraperitoneal, and intravenous median lethal dose (LD50) data are much weaker than those for most aquatic species. However, there are significant differences between these three routes of administration and the intravenous LD50 data show the best relationship with the Vibrio data.
Parasites play important roles in local population dynamics and genetic structure. However, due to insufficient diagnostic tools, detailed host-parasite interactions may remain concealed by hidden parasite diversity in natural systems. Microscopic examination of 19 European lake Daphnia populations revealed the presence of three groups of parasites: fungi, microsporidia, and oomycetes. For most of these parasites no genetic markers have been described so far. Based on sequence similarities of the nuclear small-subunit and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rRNA gene regions, one fungus, four microsporidian, and nine oomycete taxa were discovered in 147 infected Daphnia (and/or three other zooplankton crustaceans). Additionally, cloning of rRNA gene regions revealed parasite sequence variation within host individuals. This was most pronounced in the ITS region of one microsporidian taxon, where the within-host sequence variation ranged from 1.7% to 5.3% polymorphic sites for parasite isolates from 14 different geographical locations. Interestingly, the parasite isolates from close locations grouped together based on sequence similarities, suggesting that there was parasite dispersal. Taken together, the data obtained in this study revealed hidden diversity of parasite communities in Daphnia lake populations. Moreover, a higher level of resolution for identifying parasite strains makes it possible to test new hypotheses with respect to parasite dispersal, transmission routes, and coinfection.
Extranuclear basic proteins have been detected in the capsule of the spermatozoa of three species of decapod crustaceans (Nephrops norvegicus L., Macrura; Eupagurus bernhardus L., Anomura; Carcinus maenas Penn., Brachyura). Their properties have been studied by cytochemical methods. Their position inside the capsule of the spermatozoon has been specified with the aid of the electron microscope. Present in a constant fashion in the three species cited, their relative importance is very variable. In contrast to the refringent cone of the spermatozoon of Ascaris, which contains an acid protein, ascaradine, the capsule of the spermatozoon of the three decapod crustaceans studied contains basic proteins which we propose to designate by the general term "decapodine".
Necrotizing hepatopancreatitis bacterium (NHPB) is an obligated intracellular bacteria causing severe hepatopancreatic damages and mass mortalities in penaeid shrimp. The worldwide distribution of penaeid shrimp as alien species threatens the life cycle of other crustacean species. The aim of the experiment was to evaluate the possibility of experimentally infecting the American lobster (Homarus americanus) with NHPB extracted from shrimp hepatopancreas. Homogenates from infected shrimp were fed by force to lobsters. Other group of lobsters was fed with homogenates of NHPB-free hepatopancreas. After the 15th day from initial inoculation, the presence of NHPB was detected by polymerase chain reaction in feces and hepatopancreas from lobsters inoculated with infected homogenates. Necrotized spots were observed in the surface of lobster hepatopancreas. In contrast, lobsters fed on NHPB-free homogenates resulted negative for NHPB. Evidence suggests the plasticity of NHPB which can infect crustacean from different species and inhabiting diverse latitudes. Considering the results, the American lobster could be a good candidate to maintain available NHPB in vivo.
Many dinoflagellate species form dormant resting cysts as a part of their life cycle, and in some freshwater species, hatching of these cysts can be delayed by the presence of water-borne signals from grazing zooplankton. Some marine dinoflagellates can form temporary cysts, which may function to resist unfavourable short-term environmental conditions. We investigated whether the marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium ostenfeldii is able to induce an increased resistance to the parasitic flagellate Parvilucifera infectans by forming temporary cysts. We performed several laboratory experiments where dinoflagellates were exposed either to direct contact with parasites or to filtered water from cultures of parasite-infected conspecifics (parasite-derived signals). Infection by P. infectans is lethal to motile A. ostenfeldii cells, but temporary cysts were more resistant to parasite infection. Furthermore, A. ostenfeldii induced a shift in life-history stage (from motile cells to temporary cysts) when exposed to parasite-derived water-borne signals. The response was relaxed within a couple of hours, indicating that A. ostenfeldii may use this behaviour as a short-term escape mechanism to avoid parasite infection. The results suggest that intraspecies chemical communication evoked by biotic interactions can be an important mechanism controlling life-history shifts in marine dinoflagellates, which may have implications for the development of toxic algal blooms.
The genus Euduboscquella is one of a few described genera within the syndinean dinoflagellates, an enigmatic lineage with abundant diversity in marine environmental clone libraries based on small subunit (SSU) rRNA. The region composed of the SSU through to the partial large subunit (LSU) rRNA was determined from 40 individual tintinnid ciliate loricae infected with Euduboscquella sampled from eight surface water sites in the Northern Hemisphere, producing seven distinct SSU sequences. The corresponding host SSU rRNA region was also amplified from eight host species. The SSU tree of Euduboscquella and syndinean group I sequences from environmental clones had seven well-supported clades and one poorly supported clade across data sets from 57 to 692 total sequences. The genus Euduboscquella consistently formed a supported monophyletic clade within a single subclade of group I sequences. For most parasites with identical SSU sequences, the more variable internal transcribed spacer (ITS) to LSU rRNA regions were polymorphic at 3 to 10 sites. However, in E. cachoni there was variation between ITS to LSU copies at up to 20 sites within an individual, while in a parasite of Tintinnopsis spp., variation between different individuals ranged up to 19 polymorphic sites. However, applying the compensatory base change model to the ITS2 sequences suggested no compensatory changes within or between individuals with the same SSU sequence, while one to four compensatory changes between individuals with similar but not identical SSU sequences were found. Comparisons between host and parasite phylogenies do not suggest a simple pattern of host or parasite specificity.
Stomach contents of 131 specimens of five elasmobranch species (Mustelus lunulatus, Dasyatis longa, Rhinobatos leucorhynchus, Raja velezi and Zapteryx xyster) caught in the central fishing zone in the Pacific Ocean of Colombia were counted and weighed to describe feeding habits and dietary overlaps.
Twenty-one prey items belonging to four major groups (stomatopods, decapods, mollusks and fish) were identified. Decapod crustaceans were the most abundant prey found in stomachs. The mantis shrimp Squilla panamensis was the main prey item in the diet of M. lunulatus; tiger shrimp Trachypenaeus sp. was the main prey item in the diet of Rhinobatos leucorhynchus and Raja velezi, and Penaeidae shrimp were the main prey items in the diet of Z. xyster. Furthermore, fish were important in the diet of Raja velezi, Z. xyster and D. longa. The greatest diet breadth corresponded to Z. xyster whereas M. lunulatus was the most specialized predator. Finally, four significant diet overlaps between the five species were found, attributable mainly to Squillidae, Penaeidae and Fish.
Shrimps (Penaeidae and stomatopods) and benthic fishes were the most important food types in the diet of the elasmobranch species studied. Diet breadth and overlap were relatively low. Determination of food resource partitioning among the batoid species studied was not possible. However, we identified partitions in other niche axes (time of feeding activity and habitat utilization). It is possible to assume that diffuse competition could be exceeding the biunivocal competition among the studied species. Therefore, this assemblage would have a strong tendency to trophic guild formation.
Penaeus stylirostris densovirus (PstDNV), a pathogen of penaeid shrimp, causes significant damage to farmed and wild shrimp populations. In contrast to other parvoviruses, PstDNV probably has only one type of capsid protein that lacks the phospholipase A2 activity that has been implicated as a requirement during parvoviral host cell infection. The structure of recombinant virus-like particles, composed of 60 copies of the 37.5-kDa coat protein, the smallest parvoviral capsid protein reported thus far, was determined to 2.5-Å resolution by X-ray crystallography. The structure represents the first near-atomic resolution structure within the genus Brevidensovirus. The capsid protein has a β-barrel “jelly roll” motif similar to that found in many icosahedral viruses, including other parvoviruses. The N-terminal portion of the PstDNV coat protein adopts a “domain-swapped” conformation relative to its twofold-related neighbor similar to the insect parvovirus Galleria mellonella densovirus (GmDNV) but in stark contrast to vertebrate parvoviruses. However, most of the surface loops have little structural resemblance to any of the known parvoviral capsid proteins.
Mutualisms often involve one host supporting multiple symbionts, whose identity, density and intraguild interactions can influence the nature of the mutualism and performance of the host. However, the implications of multiple co-occurring symbionts on services to a host have rarely been quantified. In this study, we quantified effects of decapod symbionts on removal of sediment from their coral host. Our field survey showed that all common symbionts typically occur as pairs and never at greater abundances. Two species, the crab Trapezia serenei and the shrimp Alpheus lottini, were most common and co-occurred more often than expected by chance. We conducted a mesocosm experiment to test for effects of decapod identity and density on sediment removal. Alone, corals removed 10% of sediment, but removal increased to 30% and 48% with the presence of two and four symbionts, respectively. Per-capita effects of symbionts were independent of density and identity. Our results suggest that symbiont density is restricted by intraspecific competition. Thus, increased sediment removal from a coral host can only be achieved by increasing the number of species of symbionts on that coral, even though these species are functionally equivalent. Symbiont diversity plays a key role, not through added functionality but by overcoming density limitation likely imposed by intraspecific mating systems.
Parasites of the nematode genus Anisakis are associated with aquatic organisms. They can be found in a variety of marine hosts including whales, crustaceans, fish and cephalopods and are known to be the cause of the zoonotic disease anisakiasis, a painful inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract caused by the accidental consumptions of infectious larvae raw or semi-raw fishery products. Since the demand on fish as dietary protein source and the export rates of seafood products in general is rapidly increasing worldwide, the knowledge about the distribution of potential foodborne human pathogens in seafood is of major significance for human health. Studies have provided evidence that a few Anisakis species can cause clinical symptoms in humans. The aim of our study was to interpolate the species range for every described Anisakis species on the basis of the existing occurrence data. We used sequence data of 373 Anisakis larvae from 30 different hosts worldwide and previously published molecular data (n = 584) from 53 field-specific publications to model the species range of Anisakis spp., using a interpolation method that combines aspects of the alpha hull interpolation algorithm as well as the conditional interpolation approach. The results of our approach strongly indicate the existence of species-specific distribution patterns of Anisakis spp. within different climate zones and oceans that are in principle congruent with those of their respective final hosts. Our results support preceding studies that propose anisakid nematodes as useful biological indicators for their final host distribution and abundance as they closely follow the trophic relationships among their successive hosts. The modeling might although be helpful for predicting the likelihood of infection in order to reduce the risk of anisakiasis cases in a given area.
Many species of marine shrimp in the Family Penaeidae, viz. Penaeus (Litopenaeus) vannamei, Penaeus monodon, Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) chinensis, and Penaeus (Marsupenaeus) japonicus, are animals of economic importance in the aquaculture industry. Yet information about their DNA and protein sequences is lacking. In order to predict their collective proteome, we combined over 270,000 available EST and cDNA sequences from the 4 shrimp species with all protein sequences of Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. EST data from 4 other crustaceans, the crab Carcinus maenas, the lobster Homarus americanus (Decapoda), the water flea Daphnia pulex, and the brine shrimp Artemia franciscana were also used.
Similarity searches from EST collections of the 4 shrimp species matched 64% of the protein sequences of the fruit fly, but only 45% of nematode proteins, indicating that the shrimp proteome content is more similar to that of an insect than a nematode. Combined results with 4 additional non-shrimp crustaceans increased matching to 78% of fruit fly and 56% of nematode proteins, suggesting that present shrimp EST collections still lack sequences for many conserved crustacean proteins. Analysis of matching data revealed the presence of 4 EST groups from shrimp, namely sequences for proteins that are both fruit fly-like and nematode-like, fruit fly-like only, nematode-like only, and non-matching. Gene ontology profiles of proteins for the 3 matching EST groups were analyzed. For non-matching ESTs, a small fraction matched protein sequences from other species in the UniProt database, including other crustacean-specific proteins.
Shrimp ESTs indicated that the shrimp proteome is comprised of sub-populations of proteins similar to those common to both insect and nematode models, those present specifically in either model, or neither. Combining small EST collections from related species to compensate for their small size allowed prediction of conserved expressed protein components encoded by their uncharacterized genomes. The organized data should be useful for transferring annotation data from model species into shrimp data and for further studies on shrimp proteins with particular functions or groups.
The Red Queen hypothesis can explain the maintenance of host and parasite diversity. However, the Red Queen requires genetic specificity for infection risk (i.e., that infection depends on the exact combination of host and parasite genotypes) and strongly virulent effects of infection on host fitness. A European crustacean (Daphnia magna) – bacterium (Pasteuria ramosa) system typifies such specificity and high virulence. We studied the North American host Daphnia dentifera and its natural parasite Pasteuria ramosa, and also found strong genetic specificity for infection success and high virulence. These results suggest that Pasteuria could promote Red Queen dynamics with D. dentifera populations as well. However, the Red Queen might be undermined in this system by selection from a more common yeast parasite (Metschnikowia bicuspidata). Resistance to the yeast did not correlate with resistance to Pasteuria among host genotypes, suggesting that selection by Metschnikowia should proceed relatively independently of selection by Pasteuria.
Although inducible defences have been studied extensively, only little is known about how the presence of parasites might interfere with these anti-predator adaptations. Both parasites and predators are important factors shaping community structure and species composition of ecosystems. Here, we simultaneously exposed Daphnia magna to predator cues (released by the tadpole shrimp, Triops, or by a fish) and spores of the yeast parasite Metschnikowia sp. to determine how life history and morphological inducible defences against these two contrasting types of predators are affected by infection.
The parasite suppressed some Triops-induced defences: Daphnia lost the ability to produce a greater number of larger offspring, a life-history adaptation to Triops predation. In contrast, the parasite did not suppress inducible defences against fish: induction (resulting in smaller body length of the mothers as well as of their offspring) and infection acted additively on the measured traits. Thus, fish-induced defences may be less costly than inducible defences against small invertebrate predators like Triops; the latter defences could no longer be expressed when the host had already invested in fighting off the parasite.
In summary, our study suggests that as specific inducible defences differ in their costs, some might be suppressed if a target prey is additionally infected. Therefore, adding parasite pressure to predator–prey systems can help to elucidate the costs of inducible defences.
Daphnia; Host-parasite; Inducible defences; Metschnikowia sp.; Multiple stressors; Phenotypic plasticity; Predator–prey
Recently, we described a novel denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) approach useful for initial detection and identification of crustacean parasites. Because this approach utilizes general primers targeted to conserved regions of the 18S rRNA gene, a priori genetic sequence information on eukaryotic parasites is not required. This distinction provides a significant advantage over specifically targeted PCR assays that do not allow for the detection of unknown or unsuspected parasites. However, initial field evaluations of the DHPLC assay suggested that because of PCR-biased amplification of dominant host genes it was not possible to detect relatively rare parasite genes in infected crab tissue. Here, we describe the use of a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) PCR hybridization blocking probe in association with DHPLC (PNA-PCR DHPLC) to overcome inherent PCR bias associated with amplification of rare target genes by use of generic primers. This approach was utilized to detect infection of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) by the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium sp. Evaluation of 76 crabs caught in Wassaw Sound, GA, indicated a 97% correspondence between detection of the parasite by use of a specific PCR diagnostic assay and that by use of PNA-PCR DHPLC. During these studies, we discovered one crab with an association with a previously undescribed protist symbiont. Phylogenetic analysis of the amplified symbiont 18S rRNA gene indicated that it is most closely related to the free-living kinetoplastid parasite Procryptobia sorokini. To our knowledge, this is the first report of this parasite group in a decapod crab and of this organism exhibiting a presumably parasitic life history.
Dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium are best known as endosymbionts of corals and other invertebrate as well as protist hosts, but also exist free-living in coastal environments. Despite their importance in marine ecosystems, less than 10 loci have been used to explore phylogenetic relationships in this group, and only the multi-copy nuclear ribosomal Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions 1 and 2 have been used to characterize fine-scale genetic diversity within the nine clades (A–I) that comprise the genus. Here, we describe a three-step molecular approach focused on 1) identifying new candidate genes for phylogenetic analysis of Symbiodinium spp., 2) characterizing the phylogenetic relationship of these candidate genes from DNA samples spanning eight Symbiodinium clades (A–H), and 3) conducting in-depth phylogenetic analyses of candidate genes displaying genetic divergences equal or higher than those within the ITS-2 of Symbiodinium clade C. To this end, we used bioinformatics tools and reciprocal comparisons to identify homologous genes from 55,551 cDNA sequences representing two Symbiodinium and six additional dinoflagellate EST libraries. Of the 84 candidate genes identified, 7 Symbiodinium genes (elf2, coI, coIII, cob, calmodulin, rad24, and actin) were characterized by sequencing 23 DNA samples spanning eight Symbiodinium clades (A–H). Four genes displaying higher rates of genetic divergences than ITS-2 within clade C were selected for in-depth phylogenetic analyses, which revealed that calmodulin has limited taxonomic utility but that coI, rad24, and actin behave predictably with respect to Symbiodinium lineage C and are potential candidates as new markers for this group. The approach for targeting candidate genes described here can serve as a model for future studies aimed at identifying and testing new phylogenetically informative genes for taxa where transcriptomic and genomics data are available.
Babesiosis is an emerging, tick-transmitted, zoonotic disease caused by hematotropic parasites of the genus Babesia. Babesial parasites (and those of the closely related genus Theileria) are some of the most ubiquitous and widespread blood parasites in the world, second only to the trypanosomes, and consequently have considerable worldwide economic, medical, and veterinary impact. The parasites are intraerythrocytic and are commonly called piroplasms due to the pear-shaped forms found within infected red blood cells. The piroplasms are transmitted by ixodid ticks and are capable of infecting a wide variety of vertebrate hosts which are competent in maintaining the transmission cycle. Studies involving animal hosts other than humans have contributed significantly to our understanding of the disease process, including possible pathogenic mechanisms of the parasite and immunological responses of the host. To date, there are several species of Babesia that can infect humans, Babesia microti being the most prevalent. Infections with Babesia species generally follow regional distributions; cases in the United States are caused primarily by B. microti, whereas cases in Europe are usually caused by Babesia divergens. The spectrum of disease manifestation is broad, ranging from a silent infection to a fulminant, malaria-like disease, resulting in severe hemolysis and occasionally in death. Recent advances have resulted in the development of several diagnostic tests which have increased the level of sensitivity in detection, thereby facilitating diagnosis, expediting appropriate patient management, and resulting in a more accurate epidemiological description.