Small subunit ribosomal RNA sequences unite alternate actinosporean and myxosporean stages of Myxobolus cerebralis the causative agent of whirling disease in salmonid fish

Karl B. Andree, Stephane J. Gresoviac, Ronald Hedrick

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90 Scopus citations


The alternating myxosporean and actinosporean stages of the myxozoan parasite Myxobolus cerebralis (Hofer 1903) from its salmonid fish and aquatic oligochaete hosts, respectively, were compared for sequence homology of the small subunit (18S) ribosomal RNA genes. A 99.8% similarity between the sequences of these two stages was substantially greater than that of M. cerebralis compared to two other Myxobolus sp. from salmonid fish. Our results are the first molecular evidence confirming the alternating stages initially described by Wolf and Markiw [25] for the life cycle of M. cerebralis but found in two different taxonomic classes (Myxosporea and Actinosporea) are indeed forms of the same organism. Sequencing of rRNA genes of the actinosporean stage followed by development of specific primers for DNA amplification of the myxosporean stage, as in our study, should be applied to solve other myxozoan life cycles. Additionally, these approaches will in the future provide useful diagnostic reagents for the detection and study of this important group of fish pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-215
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997



  • Fish
  • Myxozoa
  • Triactinomyxon
  • Whirling disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology

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