Current Microbiology

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 0418–0422 | Cite as

Superoxide Dismutase Is a Virulence Factor Produced by the Coral Bleaching Pathogen Vibrio shiloi

  • Ehud Banin
  • Dimitri Vassilakos
  • Elisha Orr
  • Raphael J. Martinez
  • Eugene Rosenberg

Abstract

Coral bleaching is a disease that threatens coral reefs throughout the world. The disease is correlated with higher-than-normal seawater temperatures. Data have been reported showing that bleaching of the coral Oculina patagonica during the summer in the Mediterranean Sea is the result of an infection with Vibrio shiloi. The summer temperatures induce the expression of virulence factors in the pathogen. We report here that V. shiloi produces an extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD) at 30°C, but not at 16°C. An SOD mutant was avirulent. The mutant adhered to corals, penetrated into coral cells, multiplied intracellularly for a short time, and then died. These data support the hypothesis that SOD protects the intracellular V. shiloi from oxidative stress caused by the high concentration of oxygen produced by intracellular zooxanthellae photosynthesis.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ehud Banin
    • 1
  • Dimitri Vassilakos
    • 2
  • Elisha Orr
    • 2
  • Raphael J. Martinez
    • 3
  • Eugene Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel 69978IL
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LEI 7RH, UKGB
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USAUS

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