Vibrio tubiashii is a marine pathogen isolated from larval and juvenile bivalve molluscs that causes bacillary necrosis. Recent studies demonstrated the isolation of this species in a French experimental hatchery/nursery affecting Crassostrea gigas spat in 2007. Here, using larvae of C. gigas as an interaction model, we showed that the French V. tubiashii is virulent to larvae and can cause bacillary necrosis symptoms with an LD50 of about 2.3 × 10(3) c.f.u. ml(-1) after 24 h. Moreover, complete or gel permeation HPLC fractionated extracellular products (ECPs) of this strain appeared toxic to larvae. MS-MS analysis of the different ECP fractions revealed the existence of an extracellular metalloprotease and other suspected virulence factors. This observation is also supported by the expression level of some potential virulence factors. The overall results suggest that the pathology caused by the French V. tubiashii in C. gigas oysters is caused by a group of toxic factors and not only the metalloprotease.
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