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Metabolomics Study of Immune Responses of New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussels (Perna canaliculus) Infected with Pathogenic Vibrio sp.

Abstract

Vibrio coralliilyticus is a bacterial pathogen which can affect a range of marine organisms, such as corals, fish and shellfish, with sometimes devastating consequences. However, little is known about the mechanisms involved in the host-pathogen interaction, especially within molluscan models. We applied gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based metabolomics to characterize the physiological responses in haemolymph of New Zealand Greenshell™ mussels (Perna canaliculus) injected with Vibrio sp. DO1 (V. coralliilyticus/neptunius-like isolate). Univariate data analyses of metabolite profiles in Vibrio-exposed mussels revealed significant changes in 22 metabolites at 6 h post-infection, compared to non-exposed mussels. Among them, 10 metabolites were up-regulated, while 12 metabolites were down-regulated in infected mussels. Multivariate analyses showed a clear distinction between infected and non-infected mussels. In addition, secondary pathway analyses indicated perturbations of the host innate immune system following infection, including oxidative stress, inflammation and disruption of the TCA cycle, change in amino acid metabolism and protein synthesis. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenic mechanisms of Vibrio infection of mussels and demonstrate our ability to detect detailed and rapid host responses from haemolymph samples using a metabolomics approach.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Westpac Mussel Distributors Ltd. for supplying mussels, Aditya Kesarcodi-Watson (Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand) for providing the bacterial strain and Erica Zarate and Saras Green (University of Auckland) for their assistance with metabolite sample processing. This project was supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) (CAWX1315). Additional financial support was provided by a New Zealand ASEAN Scholarship and an award from the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society (NZMSS) to T. V. Nguyen, under the supervision of A. C. Alfaro and F. Merien. We are also thankful to all the members of the Aquaculture Biotechnology Research Group at the Auckland University of Technology (ABRG-AUT) for their assistant during this project.

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Correspondence to Andrea C. Alfaro.

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Nguyen, T.V., Alfaro, A.C., Young, T. et al. Metabolomics Study of Immune Responses of New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussels (Perna canaliculus) Infected with Pathogenic Vibrio sp.. Mar Biotechnol 20, 396–409 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10126-018-9804-x

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Keywords

  • Mussel immunology
  • Metabolite profiles
  • Bacterial infection
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Shellfish health
  • Flow cytometry
  • Haemolymph