LSU rDNA based RFLP assays for the routine identification of Gambierdiscus species. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The Gambierdiscus genus is a group of benthic dinoflagellates commonly associated with ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), which is generally found in tropical or sub-tropical regions around the world. Morphologically similar species within the genus can vary in toxicity; however, species identifications are difficult or sometimes impossible using light microscopy. DNA sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA) is thus often used to identify and describe Gambierdiscus species and ribotypes, but the expense and time can be prohibitive for routine culture screening and/or large-scale monitoring programs. This study describes a restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) typing method based on analysis of the large subunit rDNA that can successfully identify at least nine of the described Gambierdiscus species and two Fukuyoa species. The software programs DNAMAN 6.0 and Restriction Enzyme Picker were used to identify a set of restriction enzymes (SpeI, HpyCH4IV, and Taq?I) capable of distinguishing most of the known Gambierdiscus species for which DNA sequences were available. This assay was tested using in silico analysis and cultured isolates, and species identifications of isolates assigned by RFLP typing were confirmed by DNA sequencing. To verify the assay and assess intra-specific heterogeneity in RFLP patterns, identifications of 63 Gambierdiscus isolates comprising ten Gambierdiscus species, one ribotype, and two Fukuyoa species were confirmed using RFLP typing, and this method was subsequently employed in the routine identification of isolates collected from the Caribbean Sea. The RFLP assay presented here reduces the time and cost associated with morphological identification via scanning electron microscopy and/or DNA sequencing, and provides a phylogenetically sensitive method for routine Gambierdiscus species assignment.

publication date

  • June 2017