From cholera to corals: viruses as drivers of virulence in a major coral bacterial pathogen

Weynberg, Karen D., Voolstra, Christian R., Neave, Matthew J., Buerger, Patrick, and van Oppen, Madeleine J.H. (2015) From cholera to corals: viruses as drivers of virulence in a major coral bacterial pathogen. Scientific Reports, 5. 17889. pp. 1-9.

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Disease is an increasing threat to reef-building corals. One of the few identified pathogens of coral disease is the bacterium Vibrio coralliilyticus. In Vibrio cholerae, infection by a bacterial virus (bacteriophage) results in the conversion of non-pathogenic strains to pathogenic strains and this can lead to cholera pandemics. Pathogenicity islands encoded in the V. cholerae genome play an important role in pathogenesis. Here we analyse five whole genome sequences of V. coralliilyticus to examine whether virulence is similarly driven by horizontally acquired elements. We demonstrate that bacteriophage genomes encoding toxin genes with homology to those found in pathogenic V. cholerae are integrated in V. coralliilyticus genomes. Virulence factors located on chromosomal pathogenicity islands also exist in some strains of V. coralliilyticus. The presence of these genetic signatures indicates virulence in V. coralliilyticus is driven by prophages and other horizontally acquired elements. Screening for pathogens of coral disease should target conserved regions in these elements.

Item ID: 44448
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Projects and Grants: ARC FT100100088
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 04:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060506 Virology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960407 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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