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Dis Aquat Organ. 2004 Nov 23;62(1-2):65-74.

Two vibrio splendidus related strains collaborate to kill Crassostrea gigas: taxonomy and host alterations.

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Laboratoire de Génétique et Pathologie, Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), 17390 La Tremblade, France.


For several years, strains phenotypically related to Vibrio splendidus have been associated with mortality outbreaks of molluscs. A former study on Crassostrea gigas demonstrated the genetic diversity of V. splendidus strains associated with diseased animals. Another study suggested that different strains may act in an additive/synergistic way leading to higher C. gigas mortality rates. Here, a strain pair (31+32) was characterised at taxonomic and virulence levels. Using a polyphasic approach, these strains were confirmed to be V. splendidus-related, without a clear discrimination between V. kanaloae and V. pomeroyi since hybridisation rates with both these strains were above 70 %. Following experimental infection of C. gigas by injection in the adductor muscle or in the pallial cavity, the host alterations induced were described. After injection of strains 31 and/or 32, bacteria were localised at the periphery of the muscle and induced extensive lesions of the translucent part of the adductor muscle. Muscle alterations were of 3 kinds: (1) presence of isolated rounded muscular fibres containing non-homogenous granular material and surrounded by a translucent halo; (2) presence of non-homogenous granular material in the cytoplasm of entire muscle bands; (3) affection of wide muscle areas with extremely condensed muscle fibres. Infiltration associated with these lesions was notably absent in the vast majority of the individuals.

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