Quantitative assessment of the proliferation of the protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus using a bioluminescence assay for ATP content

Surekha Shridhar, Kolaleh Hassan, David J. Sullivan, Gerardo R. Vasta, José A. Fernández Robledo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perkinsus marinus is a protozoan parasite that causes "Dermo" disease in the eastern oyster Crasssostrea virginica in coastal areas of the USA. Until now, intervention strategies against the parasite have found limited success, and Dermo still remains one of the main hurdles for the restoration of oyster populations. We adapted a commercial adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) content-based assay to assess the in vitro proliferation of P. marinus in a 96-well plate format, and validated the method by measuring the effects of potential anti-proliferative compounds. The sensitivity (1.5-3.1×104cells/well), linearity (R2=0.983), and signal stability (60min) support the reliability of the assay for assessing cell proliferation. Validation of the assay by culturing P. marinus in the presence of increasing concentrations of triclosan showed a dose-response profile. The IC50 value obtained was higher than that reported earlier, possibly due to the use of different viability assay methods and a different P. marinus strain. The antibiotics G418 and tetracycline and the herbicide fluridone were active against P. marinus proliferation; the IC50 of chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, and atrazine was relatively high suggesting either off-target effects or inability to reach the targets. The validation of the ATP-based assay, together with significant advantages of the Perkinsus culture methodology (homogeneity, reproducibility, and high cell densities), underscores the value of this assay for developing high-throughput screens for the identification of novel leader compounds against Perkinsus species, and most importantly, for the closely-related apicomplexan parasites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Antibiotics
  • Herbicides
  • Perkinsus
  • Plastid
  • Protozoan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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