DAO 54:187-194 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao054187

Experimental bacteriophage-mediated virulence in strains of Vibrio harveyi

James Munro, Jane Oakey, Erin Bromage, Leigh Owens*

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Vibriosis is a major disease problem in prawn aquaculture. Until now there has been no clear explanation why some strains of Vibrio are pathogenic, while others are not. This study demonstrated that the presence of the bacteriophage V. harveyi myovirus like (VHML) may confer virulence to V. harveyi Strain 642. This was demonstrated by infecting naïve avirulent V. harveyi Strains 12, 20, 45 and 645 with the bacteriophage and converting them into virulent strains. The previously naïve strains of Vibrio infected with Bacteriophage VHML from V. harveyi Strain 642 demonstrated up-regulation of haemolysin, up-regulation of protein excretion, additional proteins which were recognised as toxic proteins from Strain 642 by monoclonal antibodies specific to the exotoxin sub-units, and a significant increase in mortality of larval Penaeus monodon. It was concluded that Bacteriophage VHML conferred virulence to V. harveyi Strains 12, 20, 45 and 645 and that Bacteriophage VHML either fully or partly confers virulence in V. harveyi Strain 642.


KEY WORDS: Vibriosis · Vibrio harveyi · Bacteriophage · Haemolysin · Protein synthesis · Monoclonal antibodies · Penaeus monodon


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