Roberts Steven B.

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Steven B.

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  • Preprint
    Lack of growth enhancement by exogenous growth hormone treatment in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) in four separate experiments
    ( 2005-03-02) Jentoft, Sissel ; Topp, Nicole ; Seeliger, Matthew ; Malison, Jeffrey A. ; Barry, Terence P. ; Held, James A. ; Roberts, Steven B. ; Goetz, Frederick W.
    The effect of exogenous growth hormone (GH) treatment on the growth of juvenile yellow perch (Perca flavescens) was investigated in four experiments. In the first two experiments, juvenile yellow perch were reared at either 13°C or 21°C, and injected weekly with bovine GH (bGH) at 0.1, 1.0 or 10.0 μg/g body weight for 84 days. No significant growth enhancement in GH-treated fish was measured in fish in either of the experiments. In the third experiment, juvenile yellow perch were treated with estradiol-17β (E2, 15 μg/g of diet), bGH (1.0 μg/g body weight) injected weekly or both hormones for 70 days at 21°C. E2 alone stimulated growth, but no further growth stimulation occurred in the E2 + bGH-treated fish. In addition, no growth enhancement was found in fish treated with bGH alone. We measured no difference in serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) levels between the treatment groups at 12 and 24 h after the final injection of GH; however, a drop in IGF-I levels after 24 h was observed. In a fourth study, the effect of recombinant yellow perch GH (rypGH, 0.2 or 1.0 μg/g body weight) injected weekly was evaluated in yellow perch juveniles. The fish were reared for 42 days at 18°C. Neither GH dosages improved growth compared to control-injected and non-injected fish. Taken together, the lack of effect of mammalian GH or rypGH in our experiments suggests (1) low binding affinity between these hormones and the GH receptor in yellow perch, (2) that the endogenous GH levels were already at biologically maximal levels or (3) that other endocrine factors are needed in order for GH to promote yellow perch growth. The reduction in IGF-I levels 24 h after handling suggests a negative effect of handling stress on the GH-IGF-I axis in yellow perch.
  • Article
    Development of a real time quantitative PCR assay for the hard clam pathogen Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX)
    (Inter-Research, 2006-09-14) Lyons, M. Maille ; Smolowitz, Roxanna M. ; Dungan, Christopher F. ; Roberts, Steven B.
    Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX) is a thraustochytrid pathogen responsible for catastrophic mortalities of the northern quahog (hard clam) Mercenaria mercenaria. A real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay was developed to assist research efforts on QPX ecology and pathology. Sensitivity of the assay was evaluated with serial dilutions of QPX-cultured cells to determine the lowest concentration of DNA that remained detectable in both the presence and absence of extraneous environmental substances. QPX cells were quantified before DNA extraction to calibrate standard curves to cell counts. Based on our results, the qPCR assay is able to quantify QPX within the range of 1 to several thousand organisms per reaction. Specificity of the assay was assessed by testing 29 thraustochytrid-like protists isolated from suspension-feeding bivalves from China, Oregon, Maryland, and Virginia. Application of the assay was demonstrated with positive qPCR results from naturally contaminated environmental samples including marine aggregates (i.e. marine snow), clam pseudofeces, and inflammatory nodules from infected clams. This quantitative assay for QPX will provide a valuable tool for characterizing QPX parasite abundances in coastal environments and for improving clam disease diagnostics.
  • Preprint
    Characterization of EST derived SSRs from the bay scallop, Argopecten irradians
    ( 2005-03-03) Roberts, Steven B. ; Romano, Christina ; Gerlach, Gabriele
    Interest in bay scallop conservation has resulted in organized stock enhancement efforts and increased attention to fisheries management issues. Genetic markers can facilitate the monitoring of enhancement efforts, characterization of wild populations, and optimize hatchery practices. We have identified eight polymorphic simple sequence repeat markers including one dinucleotide, six trinucleotide and one compound dinucleotide repeats, in expressed sequence tags generated from multiple bay scallop cDNA libraries. The numbers of alleles range from two to five. The expected and observed heterozygosities range from 0.093 to 0.720 and 0.095 to 0.600, respectively.
  • Article
    Development and validation of a real-time quantitative PCR assay for the detection and quantification of Perkinsus marinus in the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica
    (National Shellfisheries Association, 2009-08) DeFaveri, Jacquelin ; Smolowitz, Roxanna M. ; Roberts, Steven B.
    Perkinus marinus causes a devastating disease, known as Dermo, in the Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Routine detection of the disease is traditionally accomplished by the use of the Ray/Makin assay, using Fluid Thioglycollate Medium (RFTM). A simple real-time quantitative PCR assay was developed as a diagnostic tool to detect and quantify P. marinus, to complement and serve as an alternate to the RFTM method. Using a dual-labeled probe approach, a sensitive assay was designed to accurately detect a range of one to several thousand P. marinus organisms present in oyster tissues. A simple extraction method was used to increase throughput of the assay. Cultured P. marinus cells were quantified prior to DNA extraction, generating a standard curve and allowing cell counts to be derived from PCR cycle threshold values. Direct comparison of the RFTM and real-time PCR methods was accomplished by using tissue samples from the same oyster for both tests. Plotting cycle threshold values against the known Mackin index value generated a standard curve with a coefficient of regression of 0.9. Our results indicate that correlations could be made between this molecular based approach and traditional methods, allowing results generated from the PCR assay to be easily translated into the understood Mackin scale.
  • Article
    Differential DNA methylation in Pacific oyster reproductive tissue in response to ocean acidification
    (BioMed Central, 2022-08-04) Venkataraman, Yaamini R. ; White, Samuel J. ; Roberts, Steven B.
    Background There is a need to investigate mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity in marine invertebrates as negative effects of climate change, like ocean acidification, are experienced by coastal ecosystems. Environmentally-induced changes to the methylome may regulate gene expression, but methylome responses can be species- and tissue-specific. Tissue-specificity has implications for gonad tissue, as gonad-specific methylation patterns may be inherited by offspring. We used the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) — a model for understanding pH impacts on bivalve molecular physiology due to its genomic resources and importance in global aquaculture— to assess how low pH could impact the gonad methylome. Oysters were exposed to either low pH (7.31 ± 0.02) or ambient pH (7.82 ± 0.02) conditions for 7 weeks. Whole genome bisulfite sequencing was used to identify methylated regions in female oyster gonad samples. C- > T single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified and removed to ensure accurate methylation characterization. Results Analysis of gonad methylomes revealed a total of 1284 differentially methylated loci (DML) found primarily in genes, with several genes containing multiple DML. Gene ontologies for genes containing DML were involved in development and stress response, suggesting methylation may promote gonad growth homeostasis in low pH conditions. Additionally, several of these genes were associated with cytoskeletal structure regulation, metabolism, and protein ubiquitination — commonly-observed responses to ocean acidification. Comparison of these DML with other Crassostrea spp. exposed to ocean acidification demonstrates that similar pathways, but not identical genes, are impacted by methylation. Conclusions Our work suggests DNA methylation may have a regulatory role in gonad and larval development, which would shape adult and offspring responses to low pH stress. Combined with existing molluscan methylome research, our work further supports the need for tissue- and species-specific studies to understand the potential regulatory role of DNA methylation.