Vizcaino MI, Johnson WR, Kimes NE, Williams K, Torralba M, Nelson KE, Smith GW, Weil E, Moeller PD, Morris PJ

Antimicrobial resistance of the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus and Caribbean sister phylotypes isolated from a diseased octocoral.

Microbial ecology. 2010-05-01; 59.4: 646-57.

Vibrio coralliilyticus is a global marine pathogen that has been found to cause disease in several marine organisms, including corals. This study is the first report of the isolation of V. coralliilyticus from a diseased Caribbean octocoral, Pseudopterogorgia americana. Five sister phylotypes were positively identified using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, recA probes specific for V. coralliilyticus, and rep-PCR fingerprinting. The antimicrobial resistance was compared between pathogenic strains of V. coralliilyticus and the Caribbean strains. First, the antimicrobial resistance of V. coralliilyticus-type strain ATCC BAA-450 was determined using an agar-overlay antimicrobial bioassay at 24 degrees C and 27 degrees C, temperatures which are relevant to its known temperature-dependent virulence. From 108 distinct bacteria isolated from P. americana, 12 inhibited the V. coralliilyticus-type strain at 24 degrees C and five at 27 degrees C. Next, the phenotypic comparison of two Caribbean phylotypes and three V. coralliilyticus reference strains against a subset of 30 bacteria demonstrated a similar resistance trend. At both temperatures, the reference strains were inhibited by three bacteria isolates, while the Caribbean strains were inhibited by four to nine bacteria. Additionally, V. coralliilyticus-type strain ATCC BAA-450 and one of the Caribbean strains were inhibited by a higher number of bacteria at 24 degrees C compared with 27 degrees C. Together, these results highlight that V. coralliilyticus strains have antimicrobial resistance to the majority of coral-associated bacteria tested, which may be temperature-dependent in some strains. Furthermore, all V. coralliilyticus strains tested showed multi-drug resistance to a range of 11-16 (out of 26) commercial antibiotics. This study establishes V. coralliilyticus in association with a Caribbean octocoral and demonstrates its resistance to the antimicrobial activity of coral-associated bacteria and to commercial antibiotics.

PMID: 20309538