Genetic Diversity and Distribution of the Ciguatera-Causing Dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus spp. (Dinophyceae) in Coastal Areas of Japan


BACKGROUND The marine epiphytic dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus produce toxins that cause ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP): one of the most significant seafood-borne illnesses associated with fish consumption worldwide. So far, occurrences of CFP incidents in Japan have been mainly reported in subtropical areas. A previous phylogeographic study of Japanese Gambierdiscus revealed the existence of two distinct phylotypes: Gambierdiscus sp. type 1 from subtropical and Gambierdiscus sp. type 2 from temperate areas. However, details of the genetic diversity and distribution for Japanese Gambierdiscus are still unclear, because a comprehensive investigation has not been conducted yet. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDING A total of 248 strains were examined from samples mainly collected from western and southern coastal areas of Japan during 2006-2011. The SSU rDNA, the LSU rDNA D8-D10 and the ITS region were selected as genetic markers and phylogenetic analyses were conducted. The genetic diversity of Japanese Gambierdiscus was high since five species/phylotypes were detected: including two reported phylotypes (Gambierdiscus sp. type 1 and Gambierdiscus sp. type 2), two species of Gambierdiscus (G. australes and G. cf. yasumotoi) and a hitherto unreported phylotype Gambierdiscus sp. type 3. The distributions of type 3 and G. cf. yasumotoi were restricted to the temperate and the subtropical area, respectively. On the other hand, type 1, type 2 and G. australes occurred from the subtropical to the temperate area, with a tendency that type 1 and G. australes were dominant in the subtropical area, whereas type 2 was dominant in the temperate area. By using mouse bioassay, type 1, type 3 and G. australes exhibited mouse toxicities. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE This study revealed a surprising diversity of Japanese Gambierdiscus and the distribution of five species/phylotypes displayed clear geographical patterns in Japanese coastal areas. The SSU rDNA and the LSU rDNA D8-D10 as genetic markers are recommended for further use.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060882

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@inproceedings{Nishimura2013GeneticDA, title={Genetic Diversity and Distribution of the Ciguatera-Causing Dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus spp. (Dinophyceae) in Coastal Areas of Japan}, author={Tomohiro Nishimura and Shinya Sato and Wittaya Tawong and Hiroshi Sakanari and Keita Uehara and Md Mahfuzur Rahman Shah and Shoichiro Suda and Takeshi Yasumoto and Yohsuke Taira and Haruo Yamaguchi and Masao Adachi}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2013} }