This report documents an emerging trend of identification of Megalocytivirus-like inclusions in a range of ornamental fish species intercepted during quarantine detention at the Australian border. From September 2012 to February 2013, 5 species of fish that had suffered mortality levels in excess of 25% whilst in the post-entry quarantine and had Megalocytivirus-like inclusion bodies in histological sections were examined by PCR. The fish had been imported from Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Ninety-seven of 111 individual fish from affected tanks of fish tested were positive for the presence of Megalocytivirus by PCR. Sequence analysis of representative PCR products revealed an identical sequence of 621 bp in all cases which was identical to a previously characterized Megalocytivirus (Sabah/RAA1/2012 strain BMGIV48). Phylogenetic analysis of available Megalocytivirus major capsid protein (MCP) sequences confirmed the existence of 3 major clades of Megalocytivirus. The virus detected in this study was identified as a member of Genotype II. The broad host range and pathogenicity of megalocytiviruses, coupled to the documented spread of ornamental fish into the environment, render this a significant and emerging biosecurity threat to Australia.
The mechanisms through which brown-marbled grouper accomplishes resistance to infection, particularly against Vibrios, are not yet fully understood. In this study, brown-marbled grouper fingerlings were experimentally infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, to identify disease resistance grouper, and the serum proteome profiles were compared between resistant and susceptible candidates, via two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE). The results showed that putative parvalbumin beta-2 subunit I, alpha-2-macroglobulin, nattectin and immunoglobulin light chain proteins were among proteins that significantly overexpressed in the resistant fish as compared to the susceptible group of fish, whereas apolipoprotein E and immunoglobulin light chain proteins were observed to be differentially overexpressed in the susceptible fish. Further analysis by peptide sequencing revealed that the immunoglobulin light chain proteins identified in the resistant and susceptible groups differed in amino acid composition. Taken together, the results demonstrated for the first time that putative parvalbumin beta-2 subunit I, alpha-2-macroglobulin, nattectin and immunoglobulin light chain are among important proteins participating to effect disease resistance mechanism in fish and were overexpressed to function collectively to resist V. parahaemolyticus infection. Most of these molecules are mediators of immune response.
The gram-negative bacterium, Vibrio alginolyticus, has frequently been identified as the pathogen responsible for the infectious disease called vibriosis. This disease is one of the major challenges facing brown-marbled grouper aquaculture, causing fish farmers globally to suffer substantial economic losses. The objective of this study was to investigate the proteins involved in the immune response of brown-marbled grouper fingerlings during their initial encounter with pathogenic organisms. To achieve this objective, a challenge experiment was performed, in which healthy brown-marbled grouper fingerlings were divided into two groups. Fish in the treated group were subjected to intraperitoneal injection with an infectious dose of V. alginolyticus suspended in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), and those in the control group were injected with an equal volume of PBS. Blood samples were collected from a replicate number of fish from both groups at 4 h post-challenge and analysed for immune response-related serum proteins via two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. The results showed that 14 protein spots were altered between the treated and control groups; these protein spots were further analysed to determine the identity of each protein via MALDI-TOF/TOF. Among the altered proteins, three were clearly overexpressed in the treated group compared with the control; these were identified as putative apolipoprotein A-I, natural killer cell enhancement factor and lysozyme g. Based on these results, these three highly expressed proteins participate in immune response-related reactions during the initial exposure (4 h) of brown-marbled grouper fingerling to V. alginolyticus infection.
'Gold standard' OIE reference PCR assay was utilized to detect the presence of infectious spleen and kidney necrosis virus (ISKNV) in freshwater ornamental fish from Malaysia. From total of 210 ornamental fish samples representing 14 species, ISKNV was detected in 36 samples representing 5 fish species. All positive cases did not show any clinical signs of ISKNV. Three restriction enzymes analyses showed that the fish were infected by identical strains of the same virus species within Megalocytivirus genus. Major capsid protein (MCP) genes of 10 ISKNV strains were sequenced and compared with 9 other reference nucleotide sequences acquired from GenBank. Sequence analysis of MCP gene showed that all strains detected in this study were closely related to the reference ISKNV with nucleotide sequence identity that was ranging from 99.8% to 100%. In addition, phylogenetic analysis of MCP gene revealed that viruses from genus Megalocytivirus can be divided into three genotypes: genotype 1 include reference ISKNV and all other strains that were detected in this study, genotype 2 include viruses closely related to red sea bream iridovirus (RSIV), and genotype 3 include viruses closely related turbot reddish body iridovirus (TRBIV).
The high prevalence (80-100%) of the marine leech Zeylanicobdella arugamensis (De Silva) on cage-cultured Asian sea bass Lates calcarifer (Bloch) led us to investigate the percentage of juvenile leeches hatched from deposited cocoons, survival of juvenile and adult marine leeches at different salinity and temperature. The results showed that the hatching percentage of juvenile leeches was highest at salinity of 30 ppt (32.5 ± 2.8%) followed by 20 ppt (18.0 ± 4.3%) and 10 ppt (12.1 ± 1.4%), respectively. It was found that the adult and juvenile leeches could live up to an average range of 4-7 days at salinity ranging from 10 to 40 ppt. The juvenile leeches were able to hatch at temperature ranging from 25 to 35 °C but unable to hatch at 40 °C. The survival period of adult and juvenile leeches ranged from 11 to 16 days at 25 °C, which was comparatively longer than 5-13 days and 10 h--5 days at 27-30 °C and 35-40 °C, respectively. The study provided the information on the physical parameters of salinity and temperature which are most optimal for the marine leech Z. arugamensis to propagate.
Exposure to TEX-OE®, a patented extract of the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) containing chaperone-stimulating factor, was shown to protect common carp, Cyprinus carpio L., fingerlings against acute ammonia stress. Survival was enhanced twofold from 50% to 95% after exposure to 5.92 mg L(-1) NH(3) , a level determined in the ammonia challenge bioassay as the 1-h LD50 concentration for this species. Survival of TEX-OE®-pre-exposed fish was enhanced by 20% over non-exposed controls during lethal ammonia challenge (14.21 mg L(-1) NH(3) ). Increase in the levels of gill and muscle Hsp70 was evident in TEX-OE®-pre-exposed fish but not in the unexposed controls, indicating that application of TEX-OE® accelerated carp endogenous Hsp70 synthesis during ammonia perturbation. Protection against ammonia was correlated with Hsp70 accretion.
Anglerfish from the genus Lophius are a globally important commercial fishery. The microsporidian Spraguea infects the nervous system of these fish resulting in the formation of large, visible parasitic xenomas. Lophius litulon from Japan were investigated to evaluate the intensity and distribution of Spraguea xenomas throughout the nervous system and to assess pathogenicity to the host and possible transmission routes of the parasite. Spraguea infections in L. litulon had a high prevalence; all fish over 403 mm in standard length being infected, with larger fish usually more heavily infected than smaller fish. Seventy percent of all fish examined had some gross visible sign of infection. The initial site of development is the supramedullary cells on the dorsal surface of the medulla oblongata, where all infected fish have parasitic xenomas. As the disease progresses, a number of secondary sites typically become infected such as the spinal, trigeminal and vagus nerves. Fish with infection in the vagus nerve bundles often have simultaneous sites of infection, in particular the spinal nerves and along the ventral nerve towards the urinary bladder. Advanced vagus nerve infections sometimes form xenomas adjacent to kidney tissue. Spraguea DNA was amplified from the contents of the urinary bladders of two fish, suggesting that microsporidian spores may be excreted in the urine. We conclude that supramedullary cells on the hindbrain are the primary site of infection, which is probably initiated at the cutaneous mucous glands where supramedullary cells are known to extend their peripheral axons. The prevalence of Spraguea infections in L. litulon was very high, and infections often extremely heavy; however, no associated pathogenicity was observed, and heavily infected fish were otherwise normal.
Among their numerous physiological effects, heat shock proteins (Hsps) are potent immunomodulators, a characteristic reflecting their potential as therapeutic agents and which led to their application in combating infection. As an example, the up-regulation of endogenous Hsp70 in the branchiopod crustacean Artemia franciscana (Kellogg) is concurrent with shielding against bacterial infection. To better understand this protective mechanism, gnotobiotic Artemia were fed with Escherichia coli treated to over-produce different prokaryotic Hsps. This was shown to increase larval resistance to experimental Vibrio campbellii exposure. Immunoprobing of Western blots showed that the enhanced resistance to V. campbellii correlated with DnaK production in E coli. A definitive role for DnaK was then demonstrated by feeding Artemia larvae with transformed bacteria over-producing only this protein, although other Hsps such as DnaJ and grpE also provided tolerance against Vibrio infection. Feeding of bacteria synthesizing selected Hsps is therefore suggested as an alternative to antibiotic use as a means of enhancing resistance of Artemia larvae to bacterial infection, which may have potential applications in aquaculture.
Use of antibiotics for the control of bacterial diseases in shrimp culture has caused several adverse impacts to the industry. This has resulted in the search for alternative environment friendly approaches to overcome bacterial infections. This study was conducted to investigate the use of beneficial bacteria as an alternative to antibiotics. Ten pathogenic bacterial species isolated from shrimp, Penaeus monodon, and Artemia cysts were tested for susceptibility to indigenous marine Bacillus subtilis AB65, Bacillus pumilus AB58, Bacillus licheniformis AB69 and compared with oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol, gentamicin and bacitracin, which are common antibiotics used in Asian aquaculture. The Bacillus spp. were isolated from the local marine environment for bioremediation use in shrimp hatcheries and were proven to reduce total ammonium nitrogen. The pathogenic bacterial isolates were 90% susceptible to B. subtilis AB65, 70% susceptible to B. pumilus AB58 and B. licheniformis AB69 and 100% susceptible to oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol and gentamicin but only 40% to bacitracin. Two representative isolates of the vibrio group, Vibrio alginolyticus VaM11 and Vibrio parahaemolyticus VpM1, when tested for competitive exclusion by a common broth method using the marine Bacillus spp., showed decreased viable counts from 10(8) to 10(2) cfu mL(-1). The results suggest that the action of the marine bacteria appears to be significant in protecting the host shrimp against pathogenic bacteria. In addition to the alternative use of antibiotics, the selected marine bacteria had additional bioremediation properties of reducing ammonia.
Cryptocaryonosis is a major problem for mariculture, and the absence of suitable sero-surveillance tools for the detection of cryptocaryonosis makes it difficult to screen Cryptocaryon irritans-infected fish, particularly asymptomatic fish. In this study, we proposed a serum-based assay using selected C. irritans proteins to screen infected and asymptomatic fish. Eight highly expressed genes were chosen from an earlier study on C. irritans expressed sequence tags and ciliate glutamine codons were converted to universal glutamine codons. The chemically synthesized C. irritans genes were then expressed in an Escherichia coli expression host under optimized conditions. Five C. irritans proteins were successfully expressed in E. coli and purified by affinity chromatography. These proteins were used as antigens in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to screen sera from experimentally immunized fish and naturally infected fish. Sera from both categories of fish reacted equally well with the expressed C. irritans recombinant proteins as well as with sonicated theronts. This study demonstrated the utility of producing ciliate recombinant proteins in a heterologous expression host. An ELISA was successfully developed to diagnose infected and asymptomatic fish using the recombinant proteins as antigens.
Feeding aquatic animals with bacterial encapsulated heat-shock proteins (Hsps) is potentially a new method to combat vibriosis, an important disease affecting aquatic animals used in aquaculture. Food pellets comprised of shrimp and containing Escherichia coli overexpressing either DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE, the prokaryotic equivalents of Hsp70-Hsp40-Hsp20, or only DnaK were fed to juveniles of the white leg shrimp Penaeus vannamei, and protection against pathogenic Vibrio harveyi was determined. Maintaining pellets at different temperatures for varying lengths of time reduced the number of live adhering E. coli, as did contact with sea water, demonstrating that storage and immersion adversely affected bacterial survival and attachment to pellets. Feeding P. vannamei with E. coli did not compromise their survival, indicating that the bacteria were not pathogenic to shrimp. Feeding P. vannamei with pellets containing bacteria overproducing DnaK (approximately 60 cells g(-1) pellets) boosted P. vannamei survival twofold against V. harveyi, suggesting that DnaK plays a role in Vibrio tolerance. Pellets containing DnaK were effective in providing protection to P. vannamei for up to 2 weeks before loss of viability and that DnaK encapsulated by these bacteria enhanced shrimp resistance against Vibrio infection.
Progressive research has been recently made in dissecting the molecular biology of Betanodavirus life cycle, the causative pathogen of viral encephalopathy and retinopathy in economic important marine fish species. Establishment of betanodavirus infectious clone allows the manipulation of virus genome for functional genomic study, which elucidates the biological event of the viral life cycle at molecular level. The betanodavirus strategizes its replication by expressing anti-apoptosis/antinecrotic proteins to maintain the cell viability during early infection. Subsequently utilizes and controls the biological machinery of the infected cells for viral genome replication. Towards the late phase of infection, mass production of capsid protein for virion assembly induces the activation of host apoptosis pathway. It eventually leads to the cell lysis and death, which the lysis of cell contributes to the accomplishment of viral shedding that completes a viral life cycle. The recent efforts to dissect the entire betanodavirus life cycle are currently reviewed.