Continuous culture of Perkinsus mediterraneus, a parasite of the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis, and characterization of its morphology, propagation, and extracellular proteins in vitro

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Continuous in vitro cultures of Perkinsus mediterraneus were established from tissues of infected European flat oysters, Ostrea edulis. The parasite proliferated in protein-free medium and divided by schizogony in vitro. Cell morphology was similar to that observed for P. mediterraneus in tissues of naturally infected O. edulis and for other Perkinsus spp. cultured in vitro. Parasite cells enlarged approximately 8-fold when placed in alternative Ray's fluid thioglycollate medium, and stained black with Lugol's iodine solution, a response characteristic of Perkinsus spp. DNA sequences matched those determined previously for P. mediterraneus, and phylogenetic analyses on three different data sets indicated that this was a Perkinsus species with a close relationship to another recently described species, Perkinsus honshuensis. Parasite viability was high (>90%) in vitro, but the proliferation rate was low, with densities generally increasing 2-to-6-fold between subcultures at 6-wk intervals. Enzyme analysis of cell-free culture supernatants revealed protease-, esterase-, glycosidase-, lipase-, and phosphatase-like activities. Incubation with class-specific protease inhibitors showed that P. mediterraneus produced serine proteases, and eight proteolytic bands with molecular weights ranging from 34 to 79 kDa were detected in the supernatants by gelatin sodium dodecylsulfate- polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. © 2008 The Author(s).

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Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology

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