, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 95-103
Date: 24 Mar 2005

Development of Molecular Probes for Dinophysis (Dinophyceae) Plastid: A Tool to Predict Blooming and Explore Plastid Origin

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Dinophysis are species of dinoflagellates that cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. We have previously reported that they probably acquire plastids from cryptophytes in the environment, after which they bloom. Thus monitoring the intracellular plastid density in Dinophysis and the source cryptophytes occurring in the field should allow prediction of Dinophysis blooming. In this study the nucleotide sequences of the plastid-encoded small subunit ribosomal RNA gene and rbcL (encoding the large subunit of RuBisCO) from Dinophysis spp. were compared with those of cryptophytes, and genetic probes specific for the Dinophysis plastid were designed. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) showed that the probes bound specifically to Dinophysis plastids. Also, FISH on collected nanoplankton showed the presence of probe-hybridized eukaryotes, possibly cryptophytes with plastids identical to those of Dinophysis. These probes are useful not only as markers for plastid density and activity of Dinophysis, but also as tools for monitoring cryptophytes that may be sources of Dinophysis plastids.