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Characterization and PCR Detection Of Binary, Pir-Like Toxins from Vibrio parahaemolyticus Isolates that Cause Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND) in Shrimp

Ratchanok Sirikharin, Suparat Taengchaiyaphum, Piyachat Sanguanrut, Thanh Duong Chi, Rapeepat Mavichak, Porranee Proespraiwong, Bunlung Nuangsaeng, Siripong Thitamadee, Timothy W Flegel, Kallaya Sritunyalucksana
PloS One 2015, 10 (5): e0126987
26017673
Unique isolates of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VPAHPND) have previously been identified as the causative agent of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) in shrimp. AHPND is characterized by massive sloughing of tubule epithelial cells of the hepatopancreas (HP), proposed to be induced by soluble toxins released from VPAHPND that colonize the shrimp stomach. Since these toxins (produced in broth culture) have been reported to cause AHPND pathology in reverse gavage bioassays with shrimp, we used ammonium sulfate precipitation to prepare protein fractions from broth cultures of VPAHPND isolates for screening by reverse gavage assays. The dialyzed 60% ammonium sulfate fraction caused high mortality within 24-48 hours post-administration, and histological analysis of the moribund shrimp showed typical massive sloughing of hepatopancreatic tubule epithelial cells characteristic of AHPND. Analysis of the active fraction by SDS-PAGE revealed two major bands at marker levels of approximately 16 kDa (ToxA) and 50 kDa (ToxB). Mass spectrometry analysis followed by MASCOT analysis revealed that both proteins had similarity to hypothetical proteins of V. parahaemolyticus M0605 (contig034 GenBank accession no. JALL01000066.1) and similarity to known binary insecticidal toxins called 'Photorhabdus insect related' proteins A and B (Pir-A and Pir-B), respectively, produced by the symbiotic, nematode bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens. In in vivo tests, it was shown that recombinant ToxA and ToxB were both required in a dose dependent manner to cause AHPND pathology, indicating further similarity to Pir-A and -B. A single-step PCR method was designed for detection of the ToxA gene and was validated using 104 bacterial isolates consisting of 51 VPAHPND isolates, 34 non-AHPND VP isolates and 19 other isolates of bacteria commonly found in shrimp ponds (including other species of Vibrio and Photobacterium). The results showed 100% specificity and sensitivity for detection of VPAHPND isolates in the test set.

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