Perkinsus sp. (Alveolata, Perkinsidae) a Parasite of the Clam Meretrix meretrix (Veneridae) from Arabian Gulf: Ultrastructural Observations of the Trophozoites and the Cellular Response of the Host

Abdel-Azeem S. Abdel-Baki,

Saleh Al-Quraishy,

Mohamed A. Dkhil,

Elsa Oliveira,

Graça Casal,

Carlos Azevedo


Genus Perkinsus Levine, 1978 (Alveolata, Perkinsidae) an intracellular pathogenic parasite is described from the mantle and gill filaments of a commercially important clam, Meretrix meretrix, collected from the Arabian Gulf, Saudi Arabia. This genus contains currently seven named species: P. marinus, P. olseni (P. atlanticus), P. chesapeaki (P. andrewsi), P. mediterraneus, P. honshuensis, P. beihaiensis and P. qugwadi. Meanwhile, some unnamed Perkinsus sp. have been described in wide variety of mollusc species. Ultrastructural features of Perkinsus sp. trophozites and the host reaction are described. The different developmental stages of trophozoites appeared as single or grouped cells surrounded by amorphous material that constituted cysts or nodules randomly distributed throughout the connective tissue of the mantle. The early trophozoites were generally spherical to ellipsoidal with a circular nucleus containing a prominent central nucleolus. The cytoplasm had several small vacuoles which coalesce to form a great vacuole in the later trophozoites and the nucleus becomes eccentric. Some lomosomes were observed between the wall and the plasmalemma of trophozoites. A large number of degraded and pyknotic cell and several cellular structure with lysed aspects were encountered in the surrounding area near the cysts. Ultrastructural data showed that the lysed granular cells and the coalescence of the granules result in the cyst that encapsulates various trophozoites. In the current study, we describe for the first time the presence of Perkinsus sp. as well as the host reaction in clams from the Saudi Arabian coasts.

Słowa kluczowe: Perkinsus, trophozoite, encapsulation, ultrastructure, clam, Meretrix meretrix, Arabian Gulf.

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