ATTENUATION OF WHITE BAND DISEASE TRANSMISSION IN ACROPORA CERVICORNIS BY A QUORUM SENSING INHIBITOR
Among the greatest threats to global coral reef health are coral epizootics, which are increasing in frequency and severity. In particular, white band disease (WBD) has devastated Caribbean acroporid populations since its initial outbreak in 1979. However, despite its widespread and devastating effects, the etiology of WBD remains largely uncharacterized. Here we examine the role of quorum sensing (QS) within bacterial communities associated with WBD-infected A. cervicornis. QS refers to the phenomenon in which bacterial gene expression is regulated in response to changes in population density. This is accomplished through the secretion and detection of signaling molecules called autoinducers. Microbial communities isolated from WBD-infected A. cervicornis were exposed to QS inhibitor (an autoinducer antagonist) and then dosed onto healthy test corals. WBD-associated bacteria supplemented with QS inhibitor lost the ability to transmit disease whereas all A. cervicornis exposed to uninhibited (i.e. control) WBD bacterial communities became infected within two days. In order to determine the species influenced by the addition of QS inhibitor, bacterial samples were taken from each test coral at three time points: (T0) pre-dosing (T1) post-dosing at 12 hours and (T2) post-dosing at 24 hours (after WBD symptoms appeared in control corals). Microbial 16S V3-V4 rRNA metagenomic sequencing and multivariate analyses were then used to identify shifts in the bacterial communities between QS-inhibited and uninhibited WBD-associated bacterial communities.
Certner, R. H., Northeastern University, USA, email@example.com
Vollmer, S. V., Northeastern University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
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