Rapid and accurate identification by real-time PCR of biotoxin-producing dinoflagellates from the family gymnodiniaceae.
ABSTRACT: The identification of toxin-producing dinoflagellates for monitoring programmes and bio-compound discovery requires considerable taxonomic expertise. It can also be difficult to morphologically differentiate toxic and non-toxic species or strains. Various molecular methods have been used for dinoflagellate identification and detection, and this study describes the development of eight real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays targeting the large subunit ribosomal RNA (LSU rRNA) gene of species from the genera Gymnodinium, Karenia, Karlodinium, and Takayama. Assays proved to be highly specific and sensitive, and the assay for G. catenatum was further developed for quantification in response to a bloom in Manukau Harbour, New Zealand. The assay estimated cell densities from environmental samples as low as 0.07 cells per PCR reaction, which equated to three cells per litre. This assay not only enabled conclusive species identification but also detected the presence of cells below the limit of detection for light microscopy. This study demonstrates the usefulness of real-time PCR as a sensitive and rapid molecular technique for the detection and quantification of micro-algae from environmental samples.
Project description:Traditionally Cocholodinium and Gymnodinium sensu lato clade are distinguished based on the cingulum turn number, which has been increasingly recognized to be inadequate for Gymnodiniales genus classification. This has been improved by the combination of the apical groove characteristics and molecular phylogeny, which has led to the erection of several new genera (Takayama, Akashiwo, Karenia, and Karlodinium). Taking the apical groove characteristics and molecular phylogeny combined approach, we reexamined the historically taxonomically uncertain species Cochlodinium geminatum that formed massive blooms in Pearl River Estuary, China, in recent years. Samples were collected from a bloom in 2011 for morphological, characteristic pigment, and molecular analyses. We found that the cingulum in this species wraps around the cell body about 1.2 turns on average but can appear under the light microscopy to be >1.5 turns after the cells have been preserved. The shape of its apical groove, however, was stably an open-ended anticlockwise loop of kidney bean shape, similar to that of Polykrikos. Furthermore, the molecular phylogenetic analysis using 18S rRNA-ITS-28S rRNA gene cistron we obtained in this study also consistently placed this species closest to Polykrikos within the Gymnodinium sensu stricto clade and set it far separated from the clade of Cochlodinium. These results suggest that this species should be transferred to Polykrikos as Polykrikos geminatum. Our results reiterate the need to use the combination of apical groove morphology and molecular phylogeny for the classification of species within the genus of Cochlodinium and other Gymnodiniales lineages.
Project description:Background:The ancestral dinoflagellate most likely established a peridinin-containing plastid, which have been inherited in the extant photosynthetic descendants. However, kareniacean dinoflagellates and Lepidodinium species were known to bear "non-canonical" plastids lacking peridinin, which were established through haptophyte and green algal endosymbioses, respectively. For plastid function and maintenance, the aforementioned dinoflagellates were known to use nucleus-encoded proteins vertically inherited from the ancestral dinoflagellates (vertically inherited- or VI-type), and those acquired from non-dinoflagellate organisms (including the endosymbiont). These observations indicated that the proteomes of the non-canonical plastids derived from a haptophyte and a green alga were modified by "exogenous" genes acquired from non-dinoflagellate organisms. However, there was no systematic evaluation addressing how "exogenous" genes reshaped individual metabolic pathways localized in a non-canonical plastid. Results:In this study, we surveyed transcriptomic data from two kareniacean species (Karenia brevis and Karlodinium veneficum) and Lepidodinium chlorophorum, and identified proteins involved in three plastid metabolic pathways synthesizing chlorophyll a (Chl a), heme and isoprene. The origins of the individual proteins of our interest were investigated, and we assessed how the three pathways were modified before and after the algal endosymbioses, which gave rise to the current non-canonical plastids. We observed a clear difference in the contribution of VI-type proteins across the three pathways. In both Karenia/Karlodinium and Lepidodinium, we observed a substantial contribution of VI-type proteins to the isoprene and heme biosynthesises. In sharp contrast, VI-type protein was barely detected in the Chl a biosynthesis in the three dinoflagellates. Discussion:Pioneering works hypothesized that the ancestral kareniacean species had lost the photosynthetic activity prior to haptophyte endosymbiosis. The absence of VI-type proteins in the Chl a biosynthetic pathway in Karenia or Karlodinium is in good agreement with the putative non-photosynthetic nature proposed for their ancestor. The dominance of proteins with haptophyte origin in the Karenia/Karlodinium pathway suggests that their ancestor rebuilt the particular pathway by genes acquired from the endosymbiont. Likewise, we here propose that the ancestral Lepidodinium likely experienced a non-photosynthetic period and discarded the entire Chl a biosynthetic pathway prior to the green algal endosymbiosis. Nevertheless, Lepidodinium rebuilt the pathway by genes transferred from phylogenetically diverse organisms, rather than the green algal endosymbiont. We explore the reasons why green algal genes were barely utilized to reconstruct the Lepidodinium pathway.
Project description:Highlights•Since 1986 Gymnodinium catenatum contaminates irregularly bivalves in Portugal with PSTs.•Acute neurological symptomology, such as paraesthesias, has often required hospitalization.•During an episode in October 2018, toxins in fluids of two victims and toxin ingestion were studied.•Preliminary confirmation was done by ELISA in serum and urine.•PSP toxins with an O-sulphate at C11, abundant in mussels, were absent in urine.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Crassostrea gigas accumulates paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) associated with red tide species as Gymnodinium catenatum. Previous studies demonstrated bivalves show variable feeding responses to toxic algae at physiological level; recently, only one study has reported biochemical changes in the transcript level of the genes involved in C. gigas stress response.<h4>Principal findings</h4>We found that 24 h feeding on toxic dinoflagellate cells (acute exposure) induced a significant decrease in clearance rate and expression level changes of the genes involved in antioxidant defense (copper/zinc superoxide dismutase, Cu/Zn-SOD), cell detoxification (glutathione S-transferase, GST and cytochrome P450, CPY450), intermediate immune response activation (lipopolysaccharide and beta glucan binding protein, LGBP), and stress responses (glutamine synthetase, GS) in Pacific oysters compared to the effects with the non-toxic microalga Isochrysis galbana. A sub-chronic exposure feeding on toxic dinoflagellate cells for seven and fourteen days (30×10³ cells mL?¹) showed higher gene expression levels. A significant increase was observed in Cu/Zn-SOD, GST, and LGBP at day 7 and a major increase in GS and CPY450 at day 14. We also observed that oysters fed only with G. catenatum (3×10³ cells mL?¹ produced a significant increase on the transcription level than in a mixed diet (3×10³ cells mL?¹ of G. catenatum+0.75×10? cells mL?¹ I. galbana) in all the analyzed genes.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results provide gene expression data of PST producer dinoflagellate G. catenatum toxic effects on C. gigas, a commercially important bivalve. Over expressed genes indicate the activation of a potent protective mechanism, whose response depends on both cell concentration and exposure time against these toxic microalgae. Given the importance of dinoflagellate blooms in coastal environments, these results provide a more comprehensive overview of how oysters respond to stress generated by toxic dinoflagellate exposure.
Project description:The recent identification of genes involved in the production of the potent neurotoxin and keystone metabolite saxitoxin (STX) in marine eukaryotic phytoplankton has allowed us for the first time to develop molecular genetic methods to investigate the chemical ecology of harmful algal blooms in situ. We present a novel method for detecting and quantifying the potential for STX production in marine environmental samples. Our assay detects a domain of the gene sxtA that encodes a unique enzyme putatively involved in the sxt pathway in marine dinoflagellates, sxtA4. A product of the correct size was recovered from nine strains of four species of STX-producing Alexandrium and Gymnodinium catenatum and was not detected in the non-STX-producing Alexandrium species, other dinoflagellate cultures, or an environmental sample that did not contain known STX-producing species. However, sxtA4 was also detected in the non-STX-producing strain of Alexandrium tamarense, Tasmanian ribotype. We investigated the copy number of sxtA4 in three strains of Alexandrium catenella and found it to be relatively constant among strains. Using our novel method, we detected and quantified sxtA4 in three environmental blooms of Alexandrium catenella that led to STX uptake in oysters. We conclude that this method shows promise as an accurate, fast, and cost-effective means of quantifying the potential for STX production in marine samples and will be useful for biological oceanographic research and harmful algal bloom monitoring.
Project description:In order to find fraudulent species substitution in meat products, a highly sensitive and rapid assay for meat species identification and quantification is urgently needed. In this study, species-specific primers and probes were designed from the mitochondrial cytb (cytochrome b) fragment for identification and quantification of bovine ingredient in commercial meat products. Bovine samples and non-bovine ones were used to identify the specificity, sensitivity, and applicability of established assay. Results showed that the primers and probes were highly specific for bovine ingredient in meat products. The absolute detection limit of the real-time PCR method was 0.025?ng DNA, and the relative detection limit was 0.002% (w/w) of positive samples. The quantitative real-time PCR assay was validated on simulated meat samples and high in the precision and accuracy. In order to demonstrate the applicability and reliability of the proposed assay in practical products, the 22 commercial meat products including salted, jerkies, and meatball were used. The results indicated the established method has a good stability in detection of bovine ingredient in real food. The established method in this study showed specificity and sensitivity in identification and quantification of beef meat in processed meat products.
Project description:A real-time reverse transcription-PCR method targeting the rbcL gene was developed for the detection and quantitation of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis. The assay was sensitive to less than 1 cell per reaction, did not detect rbcL from 38 nontarget taxa, and accurately quantitated K. brevis organisms in red tide samples from around Florida. These studies have resulted in a sensitive and specific method for K. brevis detection in the marine environment.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the non-genealogical transfer of genetic material between different organisms, is considered a potentially important mechanism of genome evolution in eukaryotes. Using phylogenomic analyses of expressed sequence tag (EST) data generated from a clonal cell line of a free living dinoflagellate alga Karenia brevis, we investigated the impact of HGT on genome evolution in unicellular chromalveolate protists. RESULTS:We identified 16 proteins that have originated in chromalveolates through ancient HGTs before the divergence of the genera Karenia and Karlodinium and one protein that was derived through a more recent HGT. Detailed analysis of the phylogeny and distribution of identified proteins demonstrates that eight have resulted from independent HGTs in several eukaryotic lineages. CONCLUSION:Recurring intra- and interdomain gene exchange provides an important source of genetic novelty not only in parasitic taxa as previously demonstrated but as we show here, also in free-living protists. Investigating the tempo and mode of evolution of horizontally transferred genes in protists will therefore advance our understanding of mechanisms of adaptation in eukaryotes.
Project description:During a bacterial survey of the Huon Estuary in southern Tasmania, Australia, we isolated a yellow-pigmented Pseudoalteromonas strain (class Proteobacteria, gamma subdivision), designated strain Y, that had potent algicidal effects on harmful algal bloom species. This organism was identified by 16S rRNA sequencing as a strain with close affinities to Pseudoalteromonas peptidysin. This bacterium caused rapid cell lysis and death (within 3 h) of gymnodinoids (including Gymnodinium catenatum) and raphidophytes (Chattonella marina and Heterosigma akashiwo). It caused ecdysis of armored dinoflagellates (e.g., Alexandrium catenella, Alexandrium minutum, and Prorocentrum mexicanum), but the algal cultures then recovered over the subsequent 24 h. Strain Y had no effect on a cryptomonad (Chroomonas sp.), a diatom (Skeletonema sp.), a cyanobacterium (Oscillatoria sp.), and two aplastidic protozoans. The algicidal principle of strain Y was excreted into the seawater medium and lost its efficacy after heating. Another common bacterial species, Pseudoalteromonas carrageenovora, was isolated at the same time and did not have these algicidal effects. The minimum concentrations of strain Y required to kill G. catenatum were higher than the mean concentrations found in nature under nonbloom conditions. However, the new bacterium showed a chemotactic, swarming behavior that resulted in localized high concentrations around target organisms. These observations imply that certain bacteria could play an important role in regulating the onset and development of harmful algal blooms.