Isolation and characterization of four novel thraustochytrid strains from a colonial tunicate

C. Rabinowitz, J. Douek, R. Weisz, A. Shabtay, B. Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thraustochytrids, a common group of marine eukaryotic protists, are the major contaminants of invertebrate primary cell cultures. Here we have attempted to isolate thraustochytrid species from primary cultures of extirpated buds of the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri. Four new strains (termed BS3-BS6) were isolated. Cells of these strains subjected to three media conditions, showed different growth patterns and cellular morphologies. Phylogenetic (18S rDNA) and AFLP analyses revealed two-band patterns, one characteristic to strains BS3 and BS5 and the other to strains BS4 and BS6. A Sequence analysis showed 98 % identity between strains BS3 and BS5, and 100 % identity between strains BS4 and BS6. Distance analysis tree showed that the four new strains were primarily related to two other thraustochytrids strains, independently isolated from the same tunicate species a few years ago. It is suggested that the six closely related thraustochytrid strains isolated from Botryllus schlosseri reveal a biological association between the tunicate and a clade of species/cryptic species of thraustochytrids, which can be identified by molecular markers, growth patterns and cellular characterizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalIndian Journal of Marine Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • 18s γDNA
  • Botryllus
  • Invertebrate cell culture
  • Isolation
  • Labyrinthulomycota
  • Thraustochytrids
  • Tunicate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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