Visualization of coral host-pathogen interactions using a stable GFP-labeled Vibrio coralliilyticus strain

Pollock, F. Joseph, Krediet, Cory J., Garren, Melissa, Stocker, Roman, Winn, Karina, Wilson, Bryan, Huete-Stauffer, Carla, Willis, Bette L., and Bourne, David G. (2015) Visualization of coral host-pathogen interactions using a stable GFP-labeled Vibrio coralliilyticus strain. Coral Reefs, 34 (2). pp. 655-662.

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The bacterium Vibrio coralliilyticus has been implicated as the causative agent of coral tissue loss diseases (collectively known as white syndromes) at sites across the Indo-Pacific and represents an emerging model pathogen for understanding the mechanisms linking bacterial infection and coral disease. In this study, we used a mini-Tn7 transposon delivery system to chromosomally label a strain of V. coralliilyticus isolated from a white syndrome disease lesion with a green fluorescent protein gene (GFP). We then tested the utility of this modified strain as a research tool for studies of coral host–pathogen interactions. A suite of biochemical assays and experimental infection trials in a range of model organisms confirmed that insertion of the GFP gene did not interfere with the labeled strain's virulence. Using epifluorescence video microscopy, the GFP-labeled strain could be reliably distinguished from non-labeled bacteria present in the coral holobiont, and the pathogen's interactions with the coral host could be visualized in real time. This study demonstrates that chromosomal GFP labeling is a useful technique for visualization and tracking of coral pathogens and provides a novel tool to investigate the role of V. coralliilyticus in coral disease pathogenesis.

Item ID: 42017
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: Vibrio coralliilyticus, green fluorescent protein, coral disease, host-pathogen interactions, pathogens, bacteria
Funders: Human Frontiers in Science Program (HFSP)
Projects and Grants: HFSP award no. RGY0089RS
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 17:39
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960407 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Marine Environments @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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