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Concept: Ayu


This paper focuses on an overview of radioactive cesium 137 (quasi-Cs137 included Cs134) contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and eastern Japan based on the data published by the Fisheries Agency of the Japanese Government in 2011. In the area north and west of the Fukushima Nuclear plant, freshwater fish have been highly contaminated. For example, the mean of active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of Ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) is 2,657 Bq/kg at Mano River, 20-40 km north-west from the plant. Bioaccumulation is observed in the Agano river basin in Aizu sub-region, 70-150 km west from the plant. The active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of carnivorous Salmondae is around 2 times higher than herbivorous Ayu. The extent of active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of Ayu is observed in the entire eastern Japan. The some level of the contamination is recognized even in Shizuoka prefecture, 400 km south-west from the plant.

Concepts: Ayu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Freshwater fish, Chernobyl disaster, Honshū, Japan, Government of Japan, Prefectures of Japan


Flavobacterium psychrophilum (F. psychrophilum) is the causative agent of bacterial cold-water disease (BCWD) that occurs in ayu Plecoglossus altivelis. Formalin-killed cell of F. psychrophilum has long been studied as an immersion vaccine for BCWD. In this study, we explored the possibility of F. psychrophilum collagenase (fpcol) for use as the immersion vaccine. BCWD convalescent ayu sera contained specific IgM antibodies against somatic F. psychrophilum and fpcol, meaning that fpcol is a promising antigen for the vaccine development. The recombinant fpcol was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli and Brevibacillus chosinensis (B. chosinensis). The culture supernatant of the B. chosinensis was used as an immersion vaccine solution. The vaccinated ayu were then challenged by soaking into F. psychrophilum culture. In two experimental groups, the relative percentages of survivals were 63 and 38%, respectively, suggesting that fpcol is promising as the immersion vaccine for ayu-BCWD.

Concepts: Antigen, Ayu, Biotechnology, Bacteria, Immunology, Escherichia coli, Vaccine, Immune system


Gut microbiota plays fundamental roles in protection against pathogen invasion. However, the mechanism and extent of responses of gut microbiota to pathogenic infection are poorly understood. This study investigated the gut bacterial communities and immune responses of ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) upon exposure to Vibrio anguillarum. The succession of V. anguillarum infection was evidenced by increased expression of immune genes and bacterial loads in ayu tissues, which in turn altered the composition and predicted functions of gut bacterial community. The dynamics of gut bacterial diversity and evenness were temporally stable in control ayu but were reduced in infected subjects, particularly at the late stages of infection. Variations in the gut microbiota were significantly associated with the expression levels of TNF-α (P = 0.019) and IL-1 β (P = 0.013). The profiles of certain gut bacterial taxa were indicative of V. anguillarum infection. Compared with healthy controls, the ayu infected with V. anguillarum possessed less complex, fewer connected, and lower cooperative gut bacterial interspecies interaction, coinciding with significant shifts in keystone species. These findings imply that V. anguillarum infection substantially disrupted the compositions and interspecies interaction of ayu gut bacterial community, thereby altering gut microbial-mediated functions and inducing host immune responses. This study provides an integrated overview on the interaction between the gut microbiota and host immune responses to pathogen infection from an ecological perspective.

Concepts: Gene expression, Vaccination, Ayu, Infection, Pathogen, Gut flora, Immune system, Bacteria


Here, we report the draft genome sequence and annotation of Flavobacterium psychrophilum strain SSADA-1411. This strain was isolated from the skin ulcer of an ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis) migrating downriver to spawn in the lower Shimanto River, in western Kochi Prefecture on Shikoku Island in Japan.

Concepts: Ayu, Tokushima Prefecture, Honshū, Japan, Prefectures of Japan, Shikoku, Kōchi Prefecture


Digenetic trematodes of the genus Clinostomum are widely distributed in many species of freshwater fish and are known to cause the zoonotic disease Halzoun. Humans may become accidental hosts if they ingest raw freshwater fish containing metacercaria of Clinostomum complanatum, which causes pharyngitis or laryngitis. The yellow grub parasitizing cultivated ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) and loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) was one of the most serious problems in fish farms from 1977 to 1979 in Taiwan. The present study revealed, for the first time, frequent occurrence of C. complanatum metacercaria in various fish species in a natural environment, the Dahan River, in Taiwan. We examined 1503 fish specimens belonging to four families and 162 snails representing six species. C. complanatum metacercaria was mainly from the fish family Cyprinidae, and only cercaria from the snail Radix swinhoei was recovered. The prevalence and mean intensity of metacercaria were 9.8% and 9.35 parasites/infected fish, respectively. The prevalence of cercaria was low, 0.62%, in snails. Acrossocheilus paradoxus, Zacco barbata, Zacco pachycephalus, Zacco platypus, Onychostoma barbatula, and Hemibarbus labeo are new host records. Metacercariae were primarily found in the operculum, mandible, muscle, and oral cavity of fish. Morphological description and molecular analysis with 18S rDNA sequencing allowed for rapidly identifying C. complanatum. Encysted and excysted metacercariae cultivated at 22 °C in physiological saline died within 60 h. The mean intensity of infection increased with an increasing length of Z. pachycephalus. We found no association between monthly parasite prevalence and mean intensity at each sampling location. No C. complanatum metacercaria survived after 8 h of salting. The Dahan River has suitable conditions and hosts (snails, fish, and fish-eating birds) for maintaining the life cycle of C. complanatum.

Concepts: Freshwater fish, River, Cyprinidae, Ayu, Trematoda, Miracidium, Fish, Digenea


Environmental DNA (eDNA) is DNA shed by organisms into surrounding environments such as soil and water. The new methods using eDNA as a marker for species detection are being rapidly developed. Here we explore basic knowledge regarding the dependence of the eDNA degradation rate on time and water temperature, and the relationship between eDNA degradation and bacterial abundance. This subject has not been well clarified, even though it is essential for improving the reliability of eDNA analysis. To determine the time- and water temperature-dependent degradation of eDNA, river water was sampled and eDNA concentrations were determined for ayu sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio) at seven time points, over a 48-h period, and at three different water temperatures. The degradation of eDNA was modeled for each species using an existing exponential decay model with an extension to include water temperature effects. The degradation models were constructed for ayu sweetfish as Nt = 229,901.2 × exp [- (0.01062 × k - 0.07081) × t] and for common carp as Nt = 2,558.0 × exp [- (0.01075 × k - 0.07372) × t]. Nt is the DNA concentration at time t (elapsed time in hours) and k is the water temperature (°C). We also measured the concentration of eDNA derived from purified genomic DNA of the common carp, which was spiked into aquarium water without the target species, and we measured the bacterial abundance in the sample water after 12 and 24 h of incubation. Environmental DNA degradation was accelerated at higher water temperatures (generalized linear model, GLM; p < 0.001), but bacterial abundance did not have a significant effect on eDNA degradation (GLM, p = 0.097). These results suggest that the proper treatment of this temperature effect in data interpretations and adjustments would increase the reliability of eDNA analysis in future studies.

Concepts: Carp, Plecoglossidae, Ayu


Haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) can mobilise into blood and produce immune cell lineages following stress. However, the homeostasis and function of HSPCs after infection in teleosts are less well known. Here, we report that Listonella anguillarum infection enhances HSPC mobilisation and reduces their differentiation into myeloid cells in ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis), an aquacultured teleost in East Asia. We established a colony-forming unit culture (CFU-C) assay to measure HSPCs using conditioned medium from peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin. The number of CFU-Cs decreased in the head kidney and increased in the blood and spleen of ayu infected with L. anguillarum. HSPC mobilisation after L. anguillarum infection was mediated by norepinephrine. Furthermore, HSPCs from ayu treated with L. anguillarum lipopolysaccharide (LPS) showed defective myeloid differentiation and could no longer rescue L. anguillarum-infected ayu. HSPC expansion was suppressed after L. anguillarum infection or its LPS treatment in vitro. These results reveal a link between HSPC regulation and pathogen infection in teleosts.

Concepts: Monocyte, PBMC, Spleen, Ayu, Blood, Hematology, Immune system, Protacanthopterygii


In dispersive species with continuous distributions, genetic differentiation between local populations is often absent or subtle and thus difficult to detect. To incorporate such subtle differentiation into management plans, it may be essential to analyze many samples from many localities using adequate numbers of high-resolution genetic markers. Here, we evaluated the usefulness of dense locality sampling in resolving genetic population structure in the ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis), a dispersive fish important in Japanese inland fisheries. Genetic variability in, and differentiation between, ayu populations around the Japan-Ryukyu Archipelago were investigated in 4746 individuals collected from 120 localities by genotyping 12 microsatellite markers. These individuals represented the two subspecies of ayu, namely the Ryukyuan subspecies (P. a. ryukyuensis) and both amphidromous and landlocked forms of the nominotypical subspecies (P. a. altivelis) along the archipelago. We successfully detected an absence of genetic differentiation within the landlocked form and subtle but significant differentiation and clear geographic patterns of genetic variation among populations of the amphidromous form, which had been considered genetically homogeneous. This suggests that dense locality sampling effectively resolves subtle differences in genetic population structure, reducing stochastic deviation in the detection of genetic differentiation and geographic patterns in local populations of this dispersive species. Resampling analyses based on empirical data sets clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of increasing the number of locality samples for stable and reliable estimations of genetic fixation indices. The genetic population structure observed within the amphidromous form provides useful information for identifying management or conservation units in ayu. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Copyright, Microsatellite, Population genetics, Ayu, Biology, DNA, Scientific method, Genetics


In this paper, we describe the draft genome sequence of Flavobacterium psychrophilum strain KTEN-1510, with genotype A/G-C. This strain was isolated in October 2015 from the gills of an ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis) in the upper Kagami River in central Kochi Prefecture on Shikoku Island, Japan.

Concepts: Ayu, Tokushima Prefecture, Kōchi, Kōchi, Honshū, Japan, Prefectures of Japan, Kōchi Prefecture, Shikoku


The collagenase activity and the fpcol gene were examined in Flavobacterium psychrophilum isolates from cold-water disease (CWD)-affected ayu, Plecoglossus altivelis. Collagenase expression was closely related to the accumulated mortality of CWD-affected ayu. RT-qPCR and bacterial challenge experiments showed that F. psychrophilum ayu isolate WA-1 expressed the fpcol gene more actively and was more virulent than ayu isolate WA-2. The amago (Oncorhynchus masou) isolate WB-1, which possesses a pseudo-fpcol gene, was not harmful to ayu. Hitherto, the well-studied metalloproteases Fpp1 and Fpp2 have been considered virulence factors. However, the most virulent isolate against ayu (WA-1) showed no Fpp activity because of a deletion mutation or an insertion of a transposon in the fpp genes. The less virulent WA-2 isolate showed only Fpp1 activity. Taken together, these results suggest that collagenolytic activity, but not Fpp activity, is related to the virulence of F. psychrophilum isolates in CWD-affected ayu.

Concepts: Ayu, Gene, Gene expression, Chromosome, Mutation, Evolution, Genetics, DNA