Molecular detection methods developed for a systemic rickettsia-like bacterium (RLB) in Penaeus monodon (Decapoda: Crustacea)

Linda M. Nunan, Bonnie Poulos, Rita Redman, Marc Le Groumellec, Donald V. Lightner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Scopus citations


    Molecular detection methods were developed to aid in the diagnosis of a rickettsia-like bacterium (RLB) which caused severe mortalities of farm-raised Penaeus monodon in Madagascar. Using primers derived from the 16S rRNA gene of bacteria, a PCR assay was optimized to amplify this region of the genome of the RLB, using extracted DNA from infected P. monodon tissue as the template. The resulting amplified PCR product was sequenced and 2 novel primers were selected from the variable region of the gene. These primers amplified a 532 bp fragment of DNA originating from the rickettsia-infected samples. The PCR assay was optimized and tested on DNA extracted from specific pathogen-free (SPF) P. vannamei tissue and several other strains of bacteria. The PCR assay with the rickettsia-specific primers was specific for this RLB and did not amplify the other DNA samples tested. The 532 bp PCR-amplified fragment was labeled with digoxigenin (DIG) for in situ hybridization assays. This probe was tested on SPF, RLB and bacteria-infected shrimp specimens preserved in Davidson's fixative. The probe was specific for both natural and experimental rickettsial infections. Hybridization with this probe required a stringent temperature of 65°C, otherwise cross-reactivity was observed with other types of bacteria.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)15-23
    Number of pages9
    JournalDiseases of aquatic organisms
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 22 2003


    • Crustacea
    • Penaeus monodon
    • Rickettsia
    • Shrimp

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Aquatic Science


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