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Survival and transcriptomic responses to different Perkinsus marinus exposure methods in an Eastern oyster family

posted on 2024-01-27, 00:11 authored by USDA Agricultural Research Service
The parasite Perkinsus marinus, which causes Dermo disease, affects Eastern oyster survival, and is responsible for substantial losses to aquaculture production. Controlled laboratory challenges enable definition and measurement of disease response phenotypes as well as characterization of gene expression patterns during the infection process. Stage of infection as well as dosing method likely affect response measures and exploring variation among them can enhance our understanding of this host-parasite interaction. Here we compared response traits and global expression patterns over time for a selectively bred Eastern oyster family exposed to P. marinus via two dosing methods (exposure through suspension feeding and direct injection) to elucidate mechanisms influencing survival. All exposed animals received the same dose, standardized to their wet tissue weight, but oysters in the injected group had higher initial parasite load and significantly reduced survival probability compared to the fed group. Using RNAseq, we identified differentially expressed transcripts between fed and control animals 6 h after exposure and between fed and injected groups at 36 h, 7 d, and 28 d post exposure. Immediately after infection, caspase-8 and transcripts associated with mediating cell damage from reactive oxygen species were upregulated in the fed group compared to unchallenged controls. The comparison between fed and injected groups early in the infection process revealed increased innate immune activity in the injected group. In addition to transcripts associated with shellfish immune response, those involved in proinflammatory cytokine pathways, including toll-like receptor 4 and TNF receptor-associated factor 6-like protein were also upregulated in injected animals. Later in the infection process, the fed group expressed transcripts associated with growth, specifically microtubule-based processes, at a higher level than the injected group. This study demonstrates that dosing method impacts initial parasite load, survival, and transcriptomic response to Dermo disease and highlights the importance of considering dosing method when interpreting interactions between P. marinus and the Eastern oyster.


U.S. Department of Agriculture, CRIS # 8030-31000-004-00D


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  • Non-geospatial

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  • biota

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sequence analysis

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  • Public

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