Detection of Minchinia sp., in rock oysters Saccostrea cuccullata (Born, 1778) using DNA probes.

Bearham D, Spiers Z., Shane Raidal, Jones J.B, P.K. Nicholls

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Haplosporidian parasites infect various invertebrate hosts including some commercially important shellfish. Haplosporidium nelsoni (along with Perkinsus marinus) has severely affected Eastern oyster production on the eastern seaboard of the United States and flat oyster production in Europe has been severely impacted by Bonamia ostreae. These parasites are also often present at a very low prevalence and there are a variety of morphologically similar species that can be difficult to differentiate during cytological or histological diagnosis hence the need to develop specific tests. Recently, a Minchinia sp. was described affecting rock oysters (Saccostrea cuccullata) in north Western Australia.In this study, two in situ hybridisation (ISH) assays and a PCR assay have been developed and optimised for use in investigating these parasites. The first ISH assay used a 166 bp polynucleotide probe while the second used a 30 bp oligonucleotide probe. The specificity of each ISH assay was assessed by applying each probe to a variety of haplosporidian (5), a paramyxian (1) or ciliophora (1) parasites. The polynucleotide probe produced strong hybridisation signals against all of the haplosporidian parasites tested (Minchinia sp., Minchinia teredinis, Bonamia roughleyi, H. nelsoni and Haplosporidium costale) while the oligonucleotide probe recognised only the Minchinia sp. Both probes failed to detect the paramyxian (Marteilia sp.) or the Rhynchodid-like ciliate. The PCR assay amplifies a 220 bp region and detected Minchinia sp. DNA from 50 ng of genomic DNA extracted from the tissues of infected oysters and 10 fg of amplified Minchinia sp. DNA. The assay did not react to oysters infected with H. nelsoni or H. costale. The ability of the PCR and oligonucleotide ISH assay to diagnose Minchinia sp. infected oysters was compared to histological examination from a sample of 56 oysters. The PCR assay revealed 26 infections while histological examination detected 14 infections.The oligonucleotide ISH assay detected 29 infections. The oligonucleotide ISH and PCR assays were found to be significantly more sensitive than histology for detecting the parasite.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-60
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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