Project description:The marine epiphytic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus is a toxicologically important genus responsible for ciguatera fish poisoning, the principal cause of non-bacterial illness associated with fish consumption. The genus currently contains species exhibiting either globular or anterior-posteriorly compressed morphologies with marked differences in cell shape and plate arrangement. Here we report a third globular, epiphytic and tychoplanktonic species from the coasts of Ubatuba, Brazil. The new species can be distinguished from G. yasumotoi and G. ruetzleri by its broader first apical plate that occupies a larger portion of the epitheca. Accordingly, phylogenetic trees from small subunit (SSU) and large subunit (LSU) ribosomal DNA sequences also showed strongly supported separation of the new species from the G. yasumotoi/G. ruetzleri group albeit with short distance. The molecular phylogenies, which included new sequences of the planktonic species Goniodoma polyedricum, further indicated that the globular species of Gambierdiscus formed a tight clade, clearly separated (with strong bootstrap support) from the clade of lenticular species including the type for Gambierdiscus. The morphological and molecular data in concert support the split of Gambierdiscus sensu lato into two genera. Gambierdiscus sensu stricto should be reserved for the species with lenticular shapes, highly compressed anterioposteriorly, with short-shank fishhook apical pore plate, large 2' plate, low and ascending cingular displacement, and pouch-like sulcal morphology. The new genus name Fukuyoa gen. nov. should be applied to the globular species, slightly laterally compressed, with long-shank fishhook apical pore plate, large 1' plate, greater and descending cingular displacement, and not pouch-like vertically-oriented sulcal morphology. Fukuyoa contains the new species Fukuyoa paulensis gen. et sp. nov., and F. yasumotoi comb. nov. and F. ruetzleri comb. nov.
Project description:This study examined the toxicity of six Gambierdiscus species (Gambierdiscus belizeanus, Gambierdiscus caribaeus, Gambierdiscus carolinianus, Gambierdiscus carpenteri, Gambierdiscus ribotype 2 and Gambierdiscus ruetzleri) using a human erythrocyte lysis assay. In all, 56 isolates were tested. The results showed certain species were significantly more toxic than others. Depending on the species, hemolytic activity consistently increased by ?7-40% from log phase growth to late log - early stationary growth phase and then declined in mid-stationary growth phase. Increasing growth temperatures from 20 to 31 °C for clones of G. caribaeus showed only a slight increase in hemolytic activity between 20 and 27 °C. Hemolytic activity in the G. carolinianus isolates from different regions grown over the same 20-31 °C range remained constant. These data suggest that growth temperature is not a significant factor in modulating the inter-isolate and interspecific differences in hemolytic activity. The hemolytic activity of various isolates measured repeatedly over a 2 year period remained constant, consistent with the hemolytic compounds being constitutively produced and under strong genetic control. Depending on species, greater than 60-90% of the total hemolytic activity was initially associated with the cell membranes but diffused into solution over a 24 h assay incubation period at 4 °C. These findings suggest that hemolytic compounds produced by Gambierdiscus isolates were held in membrane bound vesicles as reported for brevetoxins produced by Karenia brevis. Gambierdiscus isolates obtained from other parts of the world exhibited hemolytic activities comparable to those found in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico confirming the range of toxicities is similar among Gambierdiscus species worldwide. Experiments using specific inhibitors of the MTX pathway and purified MTX, Gambierdiscus whole cell extracts, and hydrophilic cell extracts containing MTX, were consistent with MTX as the primary hemolytic compound produced by Gambierdiscus species. While the results from inhibition studies require validation by LC-MS analysis, the available data strongly suggest differences in hemolytic activity observed in this study reflect maitotoxicity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The marine epiphytic dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus produce toxins that cause ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP): one of the most significant seafood-borne illnesses associated with fish consumption worldwide. So far, occurrences of CFP incidents in Japan have been mainly reported in subtropical areas. A previous phylogeographic study of Japanese Gambierdiscus revealed the existence of two distinct phylotypes: Gambierdiscus sp. type 1 from subtropical and Gambierdiscus sp. type 2 from temperate areas. However, details of the genetic diversity and distribution for Japanese Gambierdiscus are still unclear, because a comprehensive investigation has not been conducted yet.<h4>Methods/principal finding</h4>A total of 248 strains were examined from samples mainly collected from western and southern coastal areas of Japan during 2006-2011. The SSU rDNA, the LSU rDNA D8-D10 and the ITS region were selected as genetic markers and phylogenetic analyses were conducted. The genetic diversity of Japanese Gambierdiscus was high since five species/phylotypes were detected: including two reported phylotypes (Gambierdiscus sp. type 1 and Gambierdiscus sp. type 2), two species of Gambierdiscus (G. australes and G. cf. yasumotoi) and a hitherto unreported phylotype Gambierdiscus sp. type 3. The distributions of type 3 and G. cf. yasumotoi were restricted to the temperate and the subtropical area, respectively. On the other hand, type 1, type 2 and G. australes occurred from the subtropical to the temperate area, with a tendency that type 1 and G. australes were dominant in the subtropical area, whereas type 2 was dominant in the temperate area. By using mouse bioassay, type 1, type 3 and G. australes exhibited mouse toxicities.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>This study revealed a surprising diversity of Japanese Gambierdiscus and the distribution of five species/phylotypes displayed clear geographical patterns in Japanese coastal areas. The SSU rDNA and the LSU rDNA D8-D10 as genetic markers are recommended for further use.
Project description:The genus Gambierdiscus is a recognized group of marine epiphytic-benthic dinoflagellates that produce the toxins that cause ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP). To date, thirteen species and six ribotypes of Gambierdiscus have been identified, and multiple species commonly co-occur within a single site or epiphyte community. Toxicity can vary by species, thus it is important to be able to differentiate among species for research and monitoring purposes. Gambierdiscus species have very similar morphological characteristics and are difficult or impossible to distinguish using light microscopy. DNA sequencing has been an important tool in the definition of Gambierdiscus species, but it can be time-consuming and relatively expensive. To provide an alternative approach, a PCR-RFLP protocol was developed for efficient, rapid, and cost-effective identification of Gambierdiscus strains isolated from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, where CFP cases and Gambierdiscus spp. have been reported. The assay targets the D1-D2 hypervariable regions of the large subunit ribosomal RNA gene and uses a single restriction enzyme, BsrI. This method produces distinct RFLP banding patterns for the six species of Gambierdiscus reported from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and also distinguishes them from four Pacific endemic species. This method was successfully used to type 465 clonal isolates of Gambierdiscus from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Akumal Beach - Mexico This BsrI PCR-RFLP method expands the tools available to researchers and managers engaged in monitoring activities and ecological studies.
Project description:Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) is a human illness caused by the consumption of marine fish contaminated with ciguatoxins (CTX) and possibly maitotoxins (MTX), produced by species from the benthic dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus. Here, we describe the identity and toxicology of Gambierdiscus spp. isolated from the tropical and temperate waters of eastern Australia. Based on newly cultured strains, we found that four Gambierdiscus species were present at the tropical location, including G. carpenteri, G. lapillus and two others which were not genetically identical to other currently described species within the genus, and may represent new species. Only G. carpenteri was identified from the temperate location. Using LC-MS/MS analysis we did not find any characterized microalgal CTXs (P-CTX-3B, P-CTX-3C, P-CTX-4A and P-CTX-4B) or MTX-1; however, putative maitotoxin-3 (MTX-3) was detected in all species except for the temperate population of G. carpenteri. Using the Ca2+ influx SH-SY5Y cell Fluorescent Imaging Plate Reader (FLIPR) bioassay we found CTX-like activity in extracts of the unidentified Gambierdiscus strains and trace level activity in strains of G. lapillus. While no detectable CTX-like activity was observed in tropical or temperate strains of G. carpenteri, all species showed strong maitotoxin-like activity. This study, which represents the most comprehensive analyses of the toxicology of Gambierdiscus strains isolated from Australia to date, suggests that CFP in this region may be caused by currently undescribed ciguatoxins and maitotoxins.
Project description:Species in the genus Gambierdiscus produce ciguatoxins (CTXs) and/or maitotoxins (MTXs), which may cause ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans if contaminated fish are consumed. Species of Gambierdiscus have previously been isolated from macroalgae at Rangitahua (Raoul Island and North Meyer Islands, northern Kermadec Islands), and the opportunity was taken to sample for Gambierdiscus at the more southerly Macauley Island during an expedition in 2016. Gambierdiscus cells were isolated, cultured, and DNA extracted and sequenced to determine the species present. Bulk cultures were tested for CTXs and MTXs by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The species isolated were G. australes, which produced MTX-1 (ranging from 3 to 36 pg/cell), and G. polynesiensis, which produced neither MTX-1 nor, unusually, any known CTXs. Isolates of both species produced putative MTX-3. The risk of fish, particularly herbivorous fish, causing CFP in the Zealandia and Kermadec Islands region is real, although in mainland New Zealand the risk is currently low. Both Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa have been recorded in the sub-tropical northern region of New Zealand, and so the risk may increase with warming seas and shift in the distribution of Gambierdiscus species.
Project description:Dinoflagellates belonging to the genus Gambierdiscus produce ciguatoxins (CTXs), which are metabolized in fish to more toxic forms and subsequently cause ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. Five species of Gambierdiscus have been described from the Canary Islands, where CTXs in fish have been reported since 2004. Here we present new data on the distribution of Gambierdiscus species in the Canary archipelago and specifically from two islands, La Palma and La Gomera, where the genus had not been previously reported. Gambierdiscus spp. concentrations were low, with maxima of 88 and 29 cells·g-1 wet weight in samples from La Gomera and La Palma, respectively. Molecular analysis (LSUrRNA gene sequences) revealed differences in the species distribution between the two islands: only G. excentricus was detected at La Palma whereas four species, G. australes, G. caribaeus, G. carolinianus, and G. excentricus, were identified from La Gomera. Morphometric analyses of cultured cells of the five Canary Islands species and of field specimens from La Gomera included cell size and a characterization of three thecal arrangement traits: (1) the shape of the 2' plate, (2) the position of Po in the anterior suture of the 2' plate, and (3) the length-width relationship of the 2″″ plate. Despite the wide morphological variability within the culture and field samples, the use of two or more variables allowed the discrimination of two species in the La Gomera samples: G. cf. excentricus and G. cf. silvae. A comparison of the molecular data with the morphologically based classification demonstrated important coincidences, such as the dominance of G. excentricus, but also differences in the species composition of Gambierdiscus, as G. caribaeus was detected in the study area only by using molecular methods.
Project description:Marine dinoflagellates produce a diversity of polyketide toxins that are accumulated in marine food webs and are responsible for a variety of seafood poisonings. Reef-associated dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus produce toxins responsible for ciguatera poisoning (CP), which causes over 50,000 cases of illness annually worldwide. The biosynthetic machinery for dinoflagellate polyketides remains poorly understood. Recent transcriptomic and genomic sequencing projects have revealed the presence of Type I modular polyketide synthases in dinoflagellates, as well as a plethora of single domain transcripts with Type I sequence homology. The current transcriptome analysis compares polyketide synthase (PKS) gene transcripts expressed in two species of Gambierdiscus from French Polynesia: a highly toxic ciguatoxin producer, G. polynesiensis, versus a non-ciguatoxic species G. pacificus, each assembled from approximately 180 million Illumina 125 nt reads using Trinity, and compares their PKS content with previously published data from other Gambierdiscus species and more distantly related dinoflagellates. Both modular and single-domain PKS transcripts were present. Single domain ?-ketoacyl synthase (KS) transcripts were highly amplified in both species (98 in G. polynesiensis, 99 in G. pacificus), with smaller numbers of standalone acyl transferase (AT), ketoacyl reductase (KR), dehydratase (DH), enoyl reductase (ER), and thioesterase (TE) domains. G. polynesiensis expressed both a larger number of multidomain PKSs, and larger numbers of modules per transcript, than the non-ciguatoxic G. pacificus. The largest PKS transcript in G. polynesiensis encoded a 10,516 aa, 7 module protein, predicted to synthesize part of the polyether backbone. Transcripts and gene models representing portions of this PKS are present in other species, suggesting that its function may be performed in those species by multiple interacting proteins. This study contributes to the building consensus that dinoflagellates utilize a combination of Type I modular and single domain PKS proteins, in an as yet undefined manner, to synthesize polyketides.
Project description:Gambierdiscus spp. are the major culprit responsible for global ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP). At present, the effects of microbiological factors on algal proliferation and toxin production are poorly understood. To evaluate the regulatory roles of quorum-sensing (QS) bacteria in the physiology of Gambierdiscus, co-culture experiments with screened QS strains were conducted in this study. Except for the growth-inhibiting effect from the strain Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus, the algal host generally displayed much higher growth potential and toxin production ability with the existence of QS strains. In addition, Bacillus anthracis particularly exhibited a broad-spectrum growth enhancement effect on various Gambierdiscus types, as well as a remarkable influence on algal toxicity. The variations of algal physiological status, including growth rate, chlorophyll content, and responsive behaviors, are potential reasons for the observed positive or negative affection. This study suggests that QS bacteria regulate the algal growth and toxin production. Based on the evidence, we further speculate that QS bacteria may contribute to the site-specific distribution of CFP risk through regulating the algal host biomass and toxicity.
Project description:Dinoflagellate species belonging to the genera Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa produce ciguatoxins (CTXs), potent neurotoxins that concentrate in fish causing ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. While the structures and toxicities of ciguatoxins isolated from fish in the Pacific and Caribbean are known, there are few data on the variation in toxicity between and among species of Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa. Quantifying the differences in species-specific toxicity is especially important to developing an effective cell-based risk assessment strategy for CFP. This study analyzed the ciguatoxicity of 33 strains representing seven Gambierdiscus and one Fukuyoa species using a cell based Neuro-2a cytotoxicity assay. All strains were isolated from either the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. The average toxicity of each species was inversely proportional to growth rate, suggesting an evolutionary trade-off between an investment in growth versus the production of defensive compounds. While there is 2- to 27-fold variation in toxicity within species, there was a 1740-fold difference between the least and most toxic species. Consequently, production of CTX or CTX-like compounds is more dependent on the species present than on the random occurrence of high or low toxicity strains. Seven of the eight species tested (G. belizeanus, G. caribaeus, G. carolinianus, G. carpenteri, Gambierdiscus ribotype 2, G. silvae and F. ruetzleri) exhibited low toxicities, ranging from 0 to 24.5 fg CTX3C equivalents cell-1, relative to G. excentricus, which had a toxicity of 469 fg CTX3C eq. cell-1. Isolates of G. excentricus from other regions have shown similarly high toxicities. If the hypothesis that G. excentricus is the primary source of ciguatoxins in the Atlantic is confirmed, it should be possible to identify areas where CFP risk is greatest by monitoring only G. excentricus abundance using species-specific molecular assays.