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Evidence for autoinduction and quorum sensing in white band disease-causing microbes on Acropora cervicornis
Certner, R.; Vollmer, S.V. (2015). Evidence for autoinduction and quorum sensing in white band disease-causing microbes on Acropora cervicornis. NPG Scientific Reports 5(11134): 9 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Certner, R.
  • Vollmer, S.V.

    Coral reefs have entered a state of global decline party due to an increasing incidence of coral disease. However, the diversity and complexity of coral-associated bacterial communities has made identifying the mechanisms underlying disease transmission and progression extremely difficult. This study explores the effects of coral cell-free culture fluid (CFCF) and autoinducer (a quorum sensing signaling molecule) on coral-associated bacterial growth and on coral tissue loss respectively. All experiments were conducted using the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora cervicornis. Coral-associated microbes were grown on selective media infused with CFCF derived from healthy and white band disease-infected A. cervicornis. Exposure to diseased CFCF increased proliferation of Cytophaga-Flavobacterium spp. while exposure to healthy CFCF inhibited growth of this group. Exposure to either CFCF did not significantly affect Vibrio spp. growth. In order to test whether disease symptoms can be induced in healthy corals, A. cervicornis was exposed to bacterial assemblages supplemented with exogenous, purified autoinducer. Incubation with autoinducer resulted in complete tissue loss in all corals tested in less than one week. These findings indicate that white band disease in A. cervicornis may be caused by opportunistic pathogenesis of resident microbes.

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