A novel Enterocytozoon infection was identified in the intestines of sexually mature Chinook salmon. While microsporidian parasites are common across a diverse range of animal hosts, this novel species is remarkable because it demonstrates biological, pathological, and genetic similarity with Enterocytozoon bieneusi, the most common causative agent of microsporidiosis in AIDS patients. There are similarities in the immune and endocrine processes of sexually mature Pacific salmon and immunocompromised humans, suggesting possible common mechanisms of susceptibility in these two highly divergent host species. The discovery of Enterocytozoon schreckii n. sp. contributes to clarifying the phylogenetic relationships within family Enterocytozoonidae. The phylogenetic and morphological features of this species support the redescription of Enterocytozoon to include Enterospora as a junior synonym. Furthermore, the discovery of this novel parasite may have important implications for conservation, as it could be a sentinel of immune suppression, disease, and prespawning mortality in threatened populations of salmonids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology