The marine dinoflagellate genus Alexandrium includes a number of species which produce neurotoxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), which in humans may cause muscular paralysis, neurological symptoms, and, in extreme cases, death. A. minutum is the most widespread toxic PSP species in the western Mediterranean basin. The monitoring of coastal waters for the presence of harmful algae also normally involves microscopic examinations of phytoplankton populations. These procedures are time consuming and require a great deal of taxonomic experience, thus limiting the number of specimens that can be analyzed. Because of the genetic diversity of different genera and species, molecular tools may also help to detect the presence of target microorganisms in marine field samples. In this study, we developed a real-time PCR-based assay for rapid detection of all toxic species of the Alexandrium genus in both fixative-preserved environmental samples and cultures. Moreover, we developed a real-time quantitative PCR assay for the quantification of A. minutum cells in seawater samples. Alexandrium genus-specific primers were designed on the 5.8S rDNA region. Primer specificity was confirmed by using BLAST and by amplification of a representative sample of the DNA of other dinoflagellates and diatoms. Using a standard curve constructed with a plasmid containing the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 A. minutum sequence and cultured A. minutum cells, we determined the absolute number of 5.8S rDNA copies per cell. Consequently, after quantification of 5.8S rDNA copies in samples containing A. minutum cells, we were also able to estimate the number of cells. Several fixed A. minutum bloom sea samples from Arenys Harbor (Catalan Coast, Spain) were analyzed using this method, and quantification results were compared with standard microscopy counting methods. The two methods gave comparable results, confirming that real-time PCR could be a valid, fast alternative procedure for the detection and quantification of target phytoplankton species during coastal water monitoring.

Development of a real-time PCR assay for rapid detection and quantification of Alexandrium minutum (a Dinoflagellate)

GALLUZZI, LUCA;PENNA, ANTONELLA;BERTOZZINI, ELENA;MAGNANI, MAURO
2004

Abstract

The marine dinoflagellate genus Alexandrium includes a number of species which produce neurotoxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), which in humans may cause muscular paralysis, neurological symptoms, and, in extreme cases, death. A. minutum is the most widespread toxic PSP species in the western Mediterranean basin. The monitoring of coastal waters for the presence of harmful algae also normally involves microscopic examinations of phytoplankton populations. These procedures are time consuming and require a great deal of taxonomic experience, thus limiting the number of specimens that can be analyzed. Because of the genetic diversity of different genera and species, molecular tools may also help to detect the presence of target microorganisms in marine field samples. In this study, we developed a real-time PCR-based assay for rapid detection of all toxic species of the Alexandrium genus in both fixative-preserved environmental samples and cultures. Moreover, we developed a real-time quantitative PCR assay for the quantification of A. minutum cells in seawater samples. Alexandrium genus-specific primers were designed on the 5.8S rDNA region. Primer specificity was confirmed by using BLAST and by amplification of a representative sample of the DNA of other dinoflagellates and diatoms. Using a standard curve constructed with a plasmid containing the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 A. minutum sequence and cultured A. minutum cells, we determined the absolute number of 5.8S rDNA copies per cell. Consequently, after quantification of 5.8S rDNA copies in samples containing A. minutum cells, we were also able to estimate the number of cells. Several fixed A. minutum bloom sea samples from Arenys Harbor (Catalan Coast, Spain) were analyzed using this method, and quantification results were compared with standard microscopy counting methods. The two methods gave comparable results, confirming that real-time PCR could be a valid, fast alternative procedure for the detection and quantification of target phytoplankton species during coastal water monitoring.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/1884813
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