alexa Spironucleus species: Economically-Important Fish Pathogens and Enigmatic Single-Celled Eukaryotes
ISSN: 2155-9546

Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development
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Review Article

Spironucleus species: Economically-Important Fish Pathogens and Enigmatic Single-Celled Eukaryotes

Catrin F Williams1*, David Lloyd1, Sarah L Poynton2, Anders Jorgensen3, Coralie OM Millet1 and Joanne Cable1*

1School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AT, Wales, UK

2Comparative Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

3Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway

Corresponding Author:
Catrin F Williams
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University
Cardiff CF10 3AT, Wales, UK
Tel: +44 (0)2920 874772
Fax: +44 (0)2920 874305
E-mail: [email protected]

Joanne Cable
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University
Cardiff CF10 3AT, Wales, UK
Tel: +44 (0)2920 874772
Fax: +44 (0)2920 874305
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: October 22, 2011; Accepted Date: November 19, 2011; Published Date: November 28, 2011

Citation: Williams CF, Lloyd D, Poynton SL , Jorgensen A, Millet COM, et al. (2011) Spironucleus species: Economically-Important Fish Pathogens and Enigmatic Single-Celled Eukaryotes. J Aquac Res Development S2:002. doi:10.4172/2155-9546.S2-002

Copyright: © 2011 Williams CF, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Diplomonads are aerotolerant anaerobic, binucleate flagellates, which are commonly found in the intestinal tract of wild and farmed fish. Of the diplomonad genera, Spironucleus, composed of opportunistic pathogens, poses the greatest threat to aquaculture. Immunocompromised hosts or fish without acquired immunity are thought to be more susceptible to parasitism by these otherwise commensal agents. Accumulation of flagellates along the intestinal tract often leads to systemic Spironucleosis causing high mortality of both ornamental and food fish in aquaculture. The life cycle of these piscine diplomonads is direct, consisting of a motile, parasitic trophozoite and a resilient encysted stage, which facilitates water-borne transmission. Confusion in the nomenclature, as well as numerous reassignments of taxa, hampers our understanding of host range and geographical distribution of fish diplomonads. Accurate identification requires transmission electron microscopy to characterise intricate ultrastructural features. Additionally, sequencing of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene allows identification of cryptic Spironucleus spp. In vitro culture provides a convenient source of flagellates for biochemical and physiological research, allowing the identification of novel parasite-specific molecular pathways such as H2 production within Spironucleus sp. This provides insight into the pathogenicity of these organisms and offers potential new targets for chemotherapy. Restrictions on the administration of the current drug of choice, metronidazole, in aquacultural settings, as well as reported cases of drug resistance, means that control of Spironucleosis is especially difficult. Allium sativum (garlic)-derived compounds have proven highly effective at inhibiting parasite growth in vitro, showing great potential as a novel alternative therapy in the treatment of Spironucleosis. Further characterisation of the biochemistry, pathogenicity and taxonomy of fish diplomonads is required in order to fully appreciate the true impact and economic consequences of Spironucleus spp. in aquaculture.

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