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Date of Original Version



Biological Sciences


The American oyster Crassostrea virginica, an ecologically and economically important estuarine organism, can suffer high mortalities in areas in the Northeast United States due to Roseovarius Oyster Disease (ROD), caused by the gram-negative bacterial pathogen Roseovarius crassostreae. The goals of this research were to provide insights into: 1) the responses of American oysters to R. crassostreae, and 2) potential mechanisms of resistance or susceptibility to ROD. The responses of oysters to bacterial challenge were characterized by exposing oysters from ROD-resistant and susceptible families to R. crassostreae, followed by high-throughput sequencing of cDNA samples from various timepoints after disease challenge. Sequence data was assembled into a reference transcriptome and analyzed through differential gene expression and functional enrichment to uncover genes and processes potentially involved in responses to ROD in the American oyster. While susceptible oysters experienced constant levels of mortality when challenged with R. crassostreae, resistant oysters showed levels of mortality similar to non-challenged oysters. Oysters exposed to R. crassostreae showed differential expression of transcripts involved in immune recognition, signaling, protease inhibition, detoxification, and apoptosis. Transcripts involved in metabolism were enriched in susceptible oysters, suggesting that bacterial infection places a large metabolic demand on these oysters. Transcripts differentially expressed in resistant oysters in response to infection included the immune modulators IL-17 and arginase, as well as several genes involved in extracellular matrix remodeling. The identification of potential genes and processes responsible for defense against R. crassostreae in the American oyster provides insights into potential mechanisms of disease resistance.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.