Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 190, Issue 2, pp 185–194 | Cite as

Genome analysis of the coral bleaching pathogen Vibrio shiloi

  • Leah Reshef
  • Eliora Ron
  • Eugene Rosenberg
Original Paper


The past few decades have seen a world-wide increase in coral diseases, yet little is known about coral pathogens. In this study, techniques commonly used in pathogenomic research were applied to the coral pathogen Vibrio shiloi in order to identify genetic elements involved in its virulence. Suppressive subtractive hybridization was used to compare the gene content of V. shiloi to that of a closely related but non-pathogenic bacterium, Vibrio mediterranei, resulting in identification of several putative virulence factors and of three novel genomic islands. The entire genome of V. shiloi was further screened for genes related to previously characterized steps in infection: adhesion, superoxide dismutase production and toxin production. Exposure of pure cultures of V. shiloi to crushed coral tissues strongly affected the expression of seven genes encoding pili, zona occludins toxin (Zot) and a superoxide dismutase. Analysis of eight V. shiloi strains isolated in the last decade shows a shift of the natural population from strains carrying all three genomic islands to strains carrying none of them. This shift occurred following appearance of resistance in the coral Oculina patagonica to infection by V. shiloi. The relevance of these findings to the bleaching disease caused by V. shiloi is discussed.


Vibrio Genomic Island Vibrio Species Suppressive Subtractive Hybridization Coral Pathogen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the GEF Coral Reef Targeted Research Program and the Israel Center for the Study of Emerging Diseases. The genome sequencing was supported by the Moore Foundation. We thank Uri Gophna for help with the bioinformatics.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Microbiology and BiotechnologyTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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