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ECB-ART-47116
Mar Genomics 2019 Oct 01;47:100675. doi: 10.1016/j.margen.2019.03.010.
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Metagenomic assessment of body surface bacterial communities of the sea urchin, Tripneustes gratilla.

Brink M , Rhode C , Macey BM , Christison KW , Roodt-Wilding R .


Abstract
Sea urchins, including Tripneustes gratilla, are susceptible to a disease known as bald sea urchin disease, which has the potential to lead to economic losses in this emerging aquaculture industry in South Africa. This disease is characterized by lesions that form on sea urchin exoskeletal surfaces. This study aimed to characterize the body surface bacterial communities associated with T. gratilla, using a 16S rDNA gene metagenomics approach, to provide insight into the bacterial agents associated with this aquaculture species, as well as with this balding disease. Bacterial samples were collected from non-lesioned healthy animals obtained from natural locations along the eastern coast of South Africa, as well as from different cultured cohorts: non-lesioned healthy-, lesioned diseased- and non-lesioned stressed animals. A total of 1,067,515 individual bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified, belonging to 133 family-, 123 genus- and 113 species level OTU groups. Alpha diversity analyses, based on Chao1, Shannon and Simpson indices, showed that there were no statistically significant differences (ANOVA; P > 0.05) between the respective cohorts, as all cohorts displayed a high degree of bacterial diversity. Similarly, beta diversity analyses (Non-metric multidimensional scaling) showed a large degree of overlapping OTUs across the four cohorts. Within each cohort, various OTUs commonly associated with marine environments were found, predominantly belonging to the families Vibrionaceae, Saprospiraceae, Flavobacteriaceae and Sphingomonadaceae. Differential abundance analysis (DESeq2) revealed that OTUs that are differentially abundant across cohorts were likely not responsible for this balding disease, suggesting that complex bacterial agents, rather than a specific pathogenic agent, are likely causing this disease. Furthermore, the putative metabolic functions assigned to the bacterial communities showed that heterotrophic bacteria appear to be responsible for tissue lysis of degrading animal matter. The results from this study, obtained through univariate and multivariate-based approaches, contributes to future management strategies of this emerging aquaculture species by providing insight into the bacterial communities associated with both natural and cultured environments.

PubMed ID: 30962029
Article link: Mar Genomics


Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC115925415