DAO 96:113-123 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02389

Refined identification of Vibrio bacterial flora from Acanthasther planci based on biochemical profiling and analysis of housekeeping genes

J. A. Rivera-Posada1,*, M. Pratchett1, A. Cano-Gomez2,3, J. D. Arango-Gomez4, L. Owens2,3 

1ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4812, Australia
2School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville Queensland 4812, Australia
3Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland 4810, Australia
4School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4812, Australia

ABSTRACT: We used a polyphasic approach for precise identification of bacterial flora (Vibrio­naceae) isolated from crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) from Lizard Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia) and Guam (USA, Western Pacific Ocean). Previous 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analysis was useful to allocate and identify isolates within the Photobacterium, Splendidus and Harveyi clades but failed in the identification of Vibrio harveyi-like isolates. Species of the V. harveyi group have almost indistinguishable phenotypes and genotypes, and thus, identification by standard biochemical tests and 16S rRNA gene analysis is commonly inaccurate. Biochemical profiling and sequence analysis of additional topA and mreB housekeeping genes were carried out for definitive identification of 19 bacterial isolates recovered from sick and wild COTS. For 8 isolates, biochemical profiles and topA and mreB gene sequence alignments with the closest relatives (GenBank) confirmed previous 16S rRNA-based identification: V. fortis and Photobacterium eurosenbergii species (from wild COTS), and V. natriegens (from diseased COTS). Further phylogenetic analysis based on topA and mreB concatenated sequences served to identify the remaining 11 V. harveyi-like isolates: V. owensii and V. rotiferianus (from wild COTS), and V. owensii, V. rotiferianus, and V. harveyi (from diseased COTS). This study further confirms the reliability of topAmreB gene sequence analysis for identification of these close species, and it reveals a wider distribution range of the potentially pathogenic V. harveyi group.


KEY WORDS: Vibrio · Corallivores · Crown-of-thorns starfish · Harveyi clade · Splendidus clade


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Cite this article as: Rivera-Posada JA, Pratchett M, Cano-Gomez A, Arango-Gomez JD, Owens L (2011) Refined identification of Vibrio bacterial flora from Acanthasther planci based on biochemical profiling and analysis of housekeeping genes. Dis Aquat Org 96:113-123. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02389

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