Project description:From 1992 onwards, outbreaks of a previously unknown illness have been reported in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) kept in maricultures in Southeast Asia. The most striking symptom of this emerging disease is the loss of scales. It was referred to as scale drop syndrome, but the etiology remained enigmatic. By using a next-generation virus discovery technique, VIDISCA-454, sequences of an unknown virus were detected in serum of diseased fish. The near complete genome sequence of the virus was determined, which shows a unique genome organization, and low levels of identity to known members of the Iridoviridae. Based on homology of a series of putatively encoded proteins, the virus is a novel member of the Megalocytivirus genus of the Iridoviridae family. The virus was isolated and propagated in cell culture, where it caused a cytopathogenic effect in infected Asian seabass kidney and brain cells. Electron microscopy revealed icosahedral virions of about 140 nm, characteristic for the Iridoviridae. In vitro cultured virus induced scale drop syndrome in Asian seabass in vivo and the virus could be reisolated from these infected fish. These findings show that the virus is the causative agent for the scale drop syndrome, as each of Koch's postulates is fulfilled. We have named the virus Scale Drop Disease Virus. Vaccines prepared from BEI- and formalin inactivated virus, as well as from E. coli produced major capsid protein provide efficacious protection against scale drop disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) is an important marine foodfish species in Southeast Asia and Australia. Genetic improvement of this species has been achieved to some extent through selective breeding programs since 1990s. Several genomic tools such as DNA markers, a linkage map, cDNA and BAC libraries have been developed to assist selective breeding. A physical map is still lacking, although it is essential for positional cloning of genes located in quantitative trait loci (QTL) and assembly of whole genome sequences. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A genome-wide physical map of the Asian seabass was constructed by restriction fingerprinting of 38,208 BAC clones with SNaPshot HICF FPC technique. A total of 30,454 were assembled into 2,865 contigs. The physical length of the assembled contigs summed up to 665 Mb. Analyses of some contigs using different methods demonstrated the reliability of the assembly. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The present physical map is the first physical map for Asian seabass. This physical map will facilitate the fine mapping of QTL for economically important traits and the positional cloning of genes located in QTL. It will also be useful for the whole genome sequencing and assembly. Detailed information about BAC-contigs and BAC clones are available upon request.
Project description:In this study, we attempt to characterize the transcriptomic profile of the Asian seabass gonads at various developmental stages. The protandric Asian seabass or barramundi (Lates calcarifer) typically matures as a male at approximately 2–4 years of age and then changes sex to a female in later years. For this experiment, Asian seabass of several ages were collected from the Marine Aquaculture Center of the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore and from farms around Singapore. There were no treatments carried out in this experiment. The gonads were examined by histology and classified according to sexual maturation status as described by Guiguen and colleagues (Guiguen et al. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 1994). Altogether, we analyzed 22 gonadal samples that could be classified into six different types of gonads. Total 22 samples: Adult Ovaries (F3-stage; 5 years old fish) : 4 Adult Testes (M3-stage; 5 years old fish) : 4 Early Testes (M3-stage; 8-9 months old fish) : 3 Early Transforming Gonads (>2 years old fish) : 3 Late Transforming Gonads (>2 years old fish) : 4 Undifferentiated Gonads (4.5 months old fish) : 4
Project description:BACKGROUND: Fish diseases caused by pathogens are limiting their production and trade, affecting the economy generated by aquaculture. Innate immunity system is the first line of host defense in opposing pathogenic organisms or any other foreign material. For identification of immune-related genes in Asian seabass Lates calcarifer, an important marine foodfish species, we injected bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a commonly used elicitor of innate immune responses to eight individuals at the age of 35 days post-hatch and applied the suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) technique to selectively amplify spleen cDNA of differentially expressed genes. RESULTS: Sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of 3351 ESTs from two SSH libraries yielded 1692 unique transcripts. Of which, 618 transcripts were unknown/novel genes and the remaining 1074 were similar to 743 known genes and 105 unannotated mRNA sequences available in public databases. A total of 161 transcripts were classified to the category "response to stimulus" and 115 to "immune system process". We identified 25 significantly up-regulated genes (including 2 unknown transcripts) and 4 down-regulated genes associated with immune-related processes upon challenge with LPS. Quantitative real-time PCR confirmed the differential expression of these genes after LPS challenge. CONCLUSIONS: The present study identified 1692 unique transcripts upon LPS challenge for the first time in Asian seabass by using SSH, sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. Some of the identified transcripts are vertebrate homologues and others are hitherto unreported putative defence proteins. The obtained immune-related genes may allow for a better understanding of immunity in Asian seabass, carrying out detailed functional analysis of these genes and developing strategies for efficient immune protection against infections in Asian seabass.
Project description:The Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) is a bony fish from the Latidae family, which is widely distributed in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region. The karyotype of the Asian seabass contains 24 pairs of A chromosomes and a variable number of AT- and GC-rich B chromosomes (Bchrs or Bs). Dot-like shaped and nucleolus-associated AT-rich Bs were microdissected and sequenced earlier. Here we analyzed DNA fragments from Bs to determine their repeat and gene contents using the Asian seabass genome as a reference. Fragments of 75 genes, including an 18S rRNA gene, were found in the Bs; repeats represented 2% of the Bchr assembly. The 18S rDNA of the standard genome and Bs were similar and enriched with fragments of transposable elements. A higher nuclei DNA content in the male gonad and somatic tissue, compared to the female gonad, was demonstrated by flow cytometry. This variation in DNA content could be associated with the intra-individual variation in the number of Bs. A comparison between the copy number variation among the B-related fragments from whole genome resequencing data of Asian seabass individuals identified similar profiles between those from the South-East Asian/Philippines and Indian region but not the Australian ones. Our results suggest that Bs might cause variations in the genome among the individuals and populations of Asian seabass. A personalized copy number approach for segmental duplication detection offers a suitable tool for population-level analysis across specimens with low coverage genome sequencing.
Project description:A fish nodavirus was detected in the juveniles of Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) during a massive outbreak in the seabass cage culture farm located in the south west coast of India. The clinical signs of the disease included anorexia, inflated abdomen, exophthalmia, darkening of the whole body, erratic swimming and cork-screw type movement followed by death. The dead and the moribund fish were analyzed for nodavirus by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using specific primers targeting the T4 region of RNA2 coat protein gene. This is the first report of nodavirus infection in the fresh water cage-reared seabass fish in the west coast of India. The piscine nodavirus was detected in the brain, retina and kidney of all the fishes examined. The PCR products were cloned and sequenced. The sequence analysis showed more than 90 % homology with the other coat protein gene sequence of piscine nodaviruses from other countries. The phylogenetic analysis based on the partial nucleotide sequence of RNA2 coat protein gene revealed that the virus belonged to the red-spotted grouper nervous necrosis virus, which is one of the widely distributed genotype among the other four known genotypes of piscine nodavirus.
Project description:BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in the regulation of many fundamental biological processes. So far miRNAs have been only identified in a few fish species, although there are over 30,000 fish species living under different environmental conditions on the earth. Here, we described an approach to identify conserved miRNAs and characterized their expression patterns in different tissues for the first time in a food fish species Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: By combining a bioinformatics analysis with an approach of homolog-based PCR amplification and sequencing, 63 novel miRNAs belonging to 29 conserved miRNA families were identified. Of which, 59 miRNAs were conserved across 10-86 species (E value ? 10??) and 4 miRNAs were conserved only in fish species. qRT-PCR analysis showed that miR-29, miR-103, miR-125 and several let-7 family members were strongly and ubiquitously expressed in all tissues tested. Interestingly, miR-1, miR-21, miR-183, miR-184 and miR-192 showed highly conserved tissue-specific expression patterns. Exposure of the Asian seabass to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) resulted in up-regulation of over 50% of the identified miRNAs in spleen suggesting the importance of the miRNAs in acute inflammatory immune responses. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The approach used in this study is highly effective for identification of conserved miRNAs. The identification of 63 miRNAs and determination of the spatial expression patterns of these miRNAs are valuable resources for further studies on post-transcriptional gene regulation in Asian seabass and other fish species. Further identification of the target genes of these miRNAs would shed new light on their regulatory roles of microRNAs in fish.
Project description:BACKGROUND: ?2-Microglobulin (?(2)M) is the light chain of major histocompatibility class I (MHC I) that binds non-covalently with the ? heavy chain. Both proteins attach to the antigen peptide, presenting a complex to the T cell to be destroyed via the immune mechanism. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, a cDNA sequence encoding ?(2)M in the Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) was identified and analyzed using in silico approaches to predict and characterize its functional domain. The ?(2)M cDNA contains an open reading frame (ORF) of 351 bases with a coding capacity of 116 amino acids. A large portion of the protein consists of the IG constant domain (IGc1), similar to ?(2)M sequences from other species studied thus far. Alignment of the IGc1 domains of ?(2)M from L. calcarifer and other species shows a high degree of overall conservation. Seven amino acids were found to be conserved across taxa whereas conservation between L. calcarifer and other fish species was restricted to 14 amino acids at identical conserved positions. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: As the L. calcarifer ?(2)M protein analyzed in this study contains a functional domain similar to that of ?(2)M proteins in other species, it can be postulated that the ?(2)M proteins from L. calcarifer and other organisms are derived from a common ancestor and thus have a similar immune function. Interestingly, fish ?(2)M genes could also be classified according to the ecological habitat of the species, i.e. whether it is from a freshwater, marine or euryhaline environment.
Project description:Movement of individuals influences individual reproductive success, fitness, genetic diversity and relationships among individuals within populations and gene exchange among populations. Competition between males or females for mating opportunities and/or local resources predicts a female bias in taxa with monogamous mating systems and a male-biased dispersal in polygynous species. In birds and mammals, the patterns of dispersal between sexes are well explored, while dispersal patterns in protandrous hermaphroditic fish species have not been studied. We collected 549 adult individuals of Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) from four locations in the South China Sea. To assess the difference in patterns of dispersal between sexes, we genotyped all individuals with 18 microsatellites. Significant genetic differentiation was detected among and within sampling locations. The parameters of population structure (F(ST)), relatedness (r) and the mean assignment index (mAIC), in combination with data on tagging-recapture, supplied strong evidences for female-biased dispersal in the Asian seabass. This result contradicts our initial hypothesis of no sex difference in dispersal. We suggest that inbreeding avoidance of females, female mate choice under the condition of low mate competition among males, and male resource competition create a female-biased dispersal. The bigger body size of females may be a cause of the female-biased movement. Studies of dispersal using data from DNA markers and tagging-recapture in hermaphroditic fish species could enhance our understanding of patterns of dispersal in fish.