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Accueil > Animation Scientifique > Unravelling the virulence of the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus and its role in Acropora White Syndrome

Unravelling the virulence of the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus and its role in Acropora White Syndrome

Coral reefs harbour one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and provide substantial revenue to coastal communities through fishing, tourism and coastal protection. Recent decades have seen an unprecedented rise in coral mortality and microbial diseases are emerging as a very real threat to coral reefs worldwide. The marine pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus has been identified as a causative agent of white syndrome in corals and previous research suggested the involvement of zinc-metalloproteases in pathogenicity. In this study, the gene encoding a protease, VcpA, was cloned and sequenced from global V. coralliilyticus isolates. Diagnostic tools were developed to detect the enzmye gene, transcript and protein, whilst its role in virulence was investigated by mutagenesis studies and infection challenges. We also carried out coral disease surveys on reefs around American Samoa to assess the prevalence of Acropora White Syndrome (AWS) and characterise the composition and diversity of the bacteria associated with healthy and diseased corals - and appraise the contribution of V. coralliilyticus to global coral disease. These data will be presented and the role of the much-maligned Vibrio coralliilyticus discussed.

Bryan Wilson (Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Centre School of Biological Sciences Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)