Host-released dimethylsulphide activates the dinoflagellate parasitoid Parvilucifera sinerae

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Journal Article
ISME Journal, 2013, 7 (5), pp. 1065 - 1068
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Parasitoids are a major top-down cause of mortality of coastal harmful algae, but the mechanisms and strategies they have evolved to efficiently infect ephemeral blooms are largely unknown. Here, we show that the generalist dinoflagellate parasitoid Parvilucifera sinerae (Perkinsozoa, Alveolata) is activated from dormancy, not only by Alexandrium minutum cells but also by culture filtrates. We unequivocally identified the algal metabolite dimethylsulphide (DMS) as the density-dependent cue of the presence of potential host. This allows the parasitoid to alternate between a sporangium-hosted dormant stage and a chemically-activated, free-living virulent stage. DMS-rich exudates of resistant dinoflagellates also induced parasitoid activation, which we interpret as an example of coevolutionary arms race between parasitoid and host. These results further expand the involvement of dimethylated sulphur compounds in marine chemical ecology, where they have been described as foraging cues and chemoattractants for mammals, turtles, birds, fish, invertebrates and plankton microbes.© 2013 International Society for Microbial Ecology All rights reserved.
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