Putative phage hyperparasite in the rickettsial pathogen of abalone, “Candidatus Xenohaliotis californiensis”.

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Putative phage hyperparasite in the rickettsial pathogen of abalone, “Candidatus Xenohaliotis californiensis”.

Microb Ecol. 2012 Nov;64(4):1064-72

Authors: Friedman CS, Crosson LM

Studies on the ecology of microbial parasites and their hosts are predicated on understanding the assemblage of and relationship among the species present. Changes in organismal morphology and physiology can have profound effects on host-parasite interactions and associated microbial community structure. The marine rickettsial organism, “Candidatus Xenohaliotis californiensis” (WS-RLO), that causes withering syndrome of abalones has had a consistent morphology based on light and electron microscopy. However, a morphological variant of the WS-RLO has recently been observed infecting red abalone from California. We used light and electron microscopy, in situ hybridization and16S rDNA sequence analysis to compare the WS-RLO and the morphologically distinct RLO variant (RLOv). The WS-RLO forms oblong inclusions within the abalone posterior esophagus (PE) and digestive gland (DG) tissues that contain small rod-shaped bacteria; individual bacteria within the light purple inclusions upon hematoxylin and eosin staining cannot be discerned by light microscopy. Like the WS-RLO, the RLOv forms oblong inclusions in the PE and DG but contain large, pleomorphic bacteria that stain dark navy blue with hematoxylin and eosin. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) examination revealed that the large pleomorphic bacteria within RLOv inclusions were infected with a spherical to icosahedral-shaped putative phage hyperparasite. TEM also revealed the presence of rod-shaped bacteria along the periphery of the RLOv inclusions that were morphologically indistinguishable from the WS-RLO. Binding of the WS-RLO-specific in situ hybridization probe to the RLOv inclusions demonstrated sequence similarity between these RLOs. In addition, sequence analysis revealed 98.9-99.4 % similarity between 16S rDNA sequences of the WS-RLO and RLOv. Collectively, these data suggest that both of these RLOs infecting California abalone are “Candidatus Xenohaliotis californiensis,” and that the novel variant is infected by a putative phage hyperparasite that induced morphological variation of its RLO host.

PMID: 22729142 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

via pubmed: school of aquatic an… http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22729142?dopt=Abstract

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