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Open AccessArticle

PirABVP Toxin Binds to Epithelial Cells of the Digestive Tract and Produce Pathognomonic AHPND Lesions in Germ-Free Brine Shrimp

1
Lab of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2
ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI), Barrackpore 700120, India
3
Department of Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
4
Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Shared senior authorship.
Toxins 2019, 11(12), 717; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11120717
Received: 18 November 2019 / Revised: 28 November 2019 / Accepted: 6 December 2019 / Published: 9 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), a newly emergent farmed penaeid shrimp bacterial disease originally known as early mortality syndrome (EMS), is causing havoc in the shrimp industry. The causative agent of AHPND was found to be a specific strain of bacteria, e.g., Vibrio and Shewanella sps., that contains pVA1 plasmid (63–70 kb) encoding the binary PirAVP and PirBVP toxins. The PirABVP and toxins are the primary virulence factors of AHPND-causing bacteria that mediates AHPND and mortality in shrimp. Hence, in this study using a germ-free brine shrimp model system, we evaluated the PirABVP toxin-mediated infection process at cellular level, including toxin attachment and subsequent toxin-induced damage to the digestive tract. The results showed that, PirABVP toxin binds to epithelial cells of the digestive tract of brine shrimp larvae and produces characteristic symptoms of AHPND. In the PirABVP-challenged brine shrimp larvae, shedding or sloughing of enterocytes in the midgut and hindgut regions was regularly visualized, and the intestinal lumen was filled with moderately electron-dense cells of variable shapes and sizes. In addition, the observed cellular debris in the intestinal lumen of the digestive tract was found to be of epithelial cell origin. The detailed morphology of the digestive tract demonstrates further that the PirABVP toxin challenge produces focal to extensive necrosis and damages epithelial cells in the midgut and hindgut regions, resulting in pyknosis, cell vacuolisation, and mitochondrial and rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) damage to different degrees. Taken together, our study provides substantial evidence that PirABVP toxins bind to the digestive tract of brine shrimp larvae and seem to be responsible for generating characteristic AHPND lesions and damaging enterocytes in the midgut and hindgut regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: PirABVP toxins; brine shrimp; digestive tract; sloughing; epithelial cells; necrosis PirABVP toxins; brine shrimp; digestive tract; sloughing; epithelial cells; necrosis
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Kumar, V.; Bels, L.D.; Couck, L.; Baruah, K.; Bossier, P.; Broeck, W.V. PirABVP Toxin Binds to Epithelial Cells of the Digestive Tract and Produce Pathognomonic AHPND Lesions in Germ-Free Brine Shrimp. Toxins 2019, 11, 717.

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