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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Pseudacris regilla metamorphs acquire resistance to a deadly pathogen after exposure to the killed fungus

    Taegan A. McMahon*, Caitlin L. Nordheim, Sarah E. Detmering, Pieter T. J. Johnson, Jason R. Rohr, David J. Civitello

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is associated with drastic global amphibian declines. Prophylactic exposure to killed zoospores and the soluble chemicals they produce (Bd metabolites) can induce acquired resistance to Bd in adult Cuban treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis). Here, we exposed metamorphic frogs of a second species, the Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla), to one of two prophylactic treatments prior to live Bd exposures: killed Bd zoospores with metabolites, killed zoospores alone, or a water control. Prior exposure to killed Bd zoospores with metabolites reduced Bd infection intensity in metamorphic Pacific chorus frogs by 60.4% compared to control frogs. Interestingly, Bd intensity in metamorphs previously exposed to killed zoospores alone did not differ in magnitude relative to the control or the killed zoospores with metabolites treatment metamorphs. Previous work indicated that Bd metabolites alone can induce acquired resistance in tadpoles, and so these findings together indicate that it is possible that the soluble Bd metabolites may contain immunomodulatory components that drive this resistance phenotype. Our results expand the generality of this prophylaxis work by identifying a second amphibian species (Pacific chorus frog) and an additional amphibian life stage (metamorphic frog) that can acquire resistance to Bd after metabolite exposure. This work increases hopes that a Bd-metabolite prophylaxis might be widely effective across amphibian species and life stages.