Viral erythrocytic necrosis (VEN) is a condition affecting the red blood cells of more than 20 species of marine and anadromous fishes in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. Among populations of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) on the west coast of North America the disease causes anemia and elevated mortality in periodic epizootics. Presently, VEN is diagnosed by observation of typical cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in stained blood smears from infected fish. The causative agent, erythrocytic necrosis virus (ENV), is unculturable and a presumed iridovirus by electron microscopy. In vivo amplification of the virus in pathogen-free laboratory stocks of Pacific herring with subsequent virus concentration, purification, DNA extraction, and high-throughput sequencing were used to obtain genomic ENV sequences. Fragments with the highest sequence identity to the family Iridoviridae were used to design four sets of ENV-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers. Testing of blood and tissue samples from experimentally and wild infected Pacific herring as well as DNA extracted from other amphibian and piscine iridoviruses verified the assays were specific to ENV with a limit of detection of 0.0003ng. Preliminary phylogenetic analyses of a 1448bp fragment of the putative DNA polymerase gene supported inclusion of ENV in a proposed sixth genus of the family Iridoviridae that contains other erythrocytic viruses from ectothermic hosts. This study provides the first molecular evidence of ENV's inclusion within the Iridoviridae family and offers conventional PCR assays as a means of rapidly surveying the ENV-status of wild and propagated Pacific herring stocks.
During both regulatory and routine surveillance sampling of baitfish from the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin, USA, isolates (n = 20) of a previously unknown picornavirus were obtained from kidney/spleen or entire viscera of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) and brassy minnows (Hybognathus hankinsoni). Following the appearance of a diffuse cytopathic effect, examination of cell culture supernatant by negative contrast electron microscopy revealed the presence of small, round virus particles (? 30-32 nm), with picornavirus-like morphology. Amplification and sequence analysis of viral RNA identified the agent as a novel member of the Picornaviridae family, tentatively named fathead minnow picornavirus (FHMPV). The full FHMPV genome consisted of 7834 nucleotides. Phylogenetic analysis based on 491 amino acid residues of the 3D gene showed 98.6% to 100% identity among the 20 isolates of FHMPV compared in this study while only 49.5% identity with its nearest neighbor, the bluegill picornavirus (BGPV) isolated from bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). Based on complete polyprotein analysis, the FHMPV shared 58% (P1), 33% (P2) and 43% (P3) amino acid identities with BGPV and shared less than 40% amino acid identity with all other picornaviruses. Hence, we propose the creation of a new genus (Piscevirus) within the Picornaviridae family. The impact of FHMPV on the health of fish populations is unknown at present.
Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is an acute pathogen of salmonid fishes in North America, Europe and Asia and is reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Phylogenetic analysis has identified 5 major virus genogroups of IHNV worldwide, designated U, M, L, E and J; multiple subtypes also exist within those genogroups. Here, we report the development and validation of a universal IHNV reverse-transcriptase real-time PCR (RT-rPCR) assay targeting the IHNV nucleocapsid (N) gene. Properties of diagnostic sensitivity (DSe) and specificity (DSp) were defined using laboratory-challenged steelhead trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, and the new assay was compared to the OIE-accepted conventional PCR test and virus isolation in cell culture. The IHNV N gene RT-rPCR had 100% DSp and DSe and a higher estimated diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) than virus culture or conventional PCR. The RT-rPCR assay was highly repeatable within a laboratory and highly reproducible between laboratories. Field testing of the assay was conducted on a random sample of juvenile steelhead collected from a hatchery raceway experiencing an IHN epizootic. The RT-rPCR detected a greater number of positive samples than cell culture and there was 40% agreement between the 2 tests. Overall, the RT-rPCR assay was highly sensitive, specific, repeatable and reproducible and is suitable for use in a diagnostic setting.
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) was first detected in the Laurentian Great Lakes in 2005 during a mortality event in the Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario. Subsequent analysis of archived samples determined that the first known isolation of VHSV in the Laurentian Great Lakes was from a muskellunge Esox masquinongy collected in Lake St. Clair in 2003. By the end of 2008, mortality events and viral isolations had occurred in all of the Laurentian Great Lakes except Lake Superior. In 2009, a focused disease surveillance program was designed to determine whether VHSV was also present in Lake Superior. In this survey, 874 fish from 7 sites along the U.S. shoreline of Lake Superior were collected during June 2009. Collections were focused on nearshore species known to be susceptible to VHSV. All fish were dissected individually by using aseptic techniques and were tested for the presence of VHSV genetic material by use of a quantitative reverse transcription (qRT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the viral nucleoprotein gene. Seventeen fish from two host species at two different sites tested positive at low levels for VHSV. All attempts to isolate virus in cell culture were unsuccessful. However, the presence of viral RNA was confirmed independently in five fish by using a nested PCR that targeted the glycoprotein (G) gene. Partial G gene sequences obtained from three fish were identical to the corresponding sequence from the original 2003 VHSV isolate (MI03) from muskellunge. These detections represent the earliest evidence for the presence of VHSV in Lake Superior and illustrate the utility of the highly sensitive qRT-PCR assay for disease surveillance in aquatic animals.
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) is a fish rhabdovirus that causes disease in a broad range of marine and freshwater hosts. The known geographic range includes the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and recently it has invaded the Great Lakes region of North America. The goal of this work was to characterize genetic diversity of Great Lakes VHSV isolates at the early stage of this viral emergence by comparing a partial glycoprotein (G) gene sequence (669 nt) of 108 isolates collected from 2003 to 2009 from 31 species and at 37 sites. Phylogenetic analysis showed that all isolates fell into sub-lineage IVb within the major VHSV genetic group IV. Among these 108 isolates, genetic diversity was low, with a maximum of 1.05% within the 669 nt region. There were 11 unique sequences, designated vcG001 to vcG011. Two dominant sequence types, vcG001 and vcG002, accounted for 90% (97 of 108) of the isolates. The vcG001 isolates were most widespread. We saw no apparent association of sequence type with host or year of isolation, but we did note a spatial pattern, in which vcG002 isolates were more prevalent in the easternmost sub-regions, including inland New York state and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Different sequence types were found among isolates from single disease outbreaks, and mixtures of types were evident within 2 isolates from individual fish. Overall, the genetic diversity of VHSV in the Great Lakes region was found to be extremely low, consistent with an introduction of a new virus into a geographic region with previously naive host populations.
Beginning in 1988, the Chinook salmon embryo (CHSE-214) cell line was used to isolate a novel virus from spawning adult trout in the state of California, USA. Termed the cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) virus (CTV), the small, round virus was not associated with disease, but was subsequently found to be present in an increasing number of trout populations in the western USA, likely by a combination of improved surveillance activities and the shipment of infected eggs to new locations. Here, we report that the full length genome of the 1988 Heenan Lake isolate of CTV consisted of 7269 nucleotides of positive-sense, single-stranded RNA beginning with a 5 untranslated region (UTR), followed by three open reading frames (ORFs), a 3 UTR and ending in a polyA tail. The genome of CTV was similar in size and organization to that of Hepatitis E virus (HEV) with which it shared the highest nucleotide and amino acid sequence identities. Similar to the genomes of human, rodent or avian hepeviruses, ORF 1 encoded a large, non-structural polyprotein that included conserved methyltransferase, protease, helicase and polymerase domains, while ORF 2 encoded the structural capsid protein and ORF 3 the phosphoprotein. Together, our data indicated that CTV was clearly a member of the family Hepeviridae, although the level of amino acid sequence identity with the ORFs of mammalian or avian hepeviruses (13-27%) may be sufficiently low to warrant the creation of a novel genus. We also performed a phylogenetic analysis using a 262nt region within ORF 1 for 63 isolates of CTV obtained from seven species of trout reared in various geographic locations in the western USA. While the sequences fell into two genetic clades, the overall nucleotide diversity was low (less than 8.4%) and many isolates differed by only 1-2 nucleotides, suggesting an epidemiological link. Finally, we showed that CTV was able to form persistently infected cultures of the CHSE-214 cell line that may have use in research on the biology or treatment of hepevirus infections of humans or other animals.
This study describes the development and partial characterization of a continuous fibroblastic-like cell line (BEF-1) developed from late stage embryos of North American burbot Lota lota maculosa. This cell line has been maintained for over 5 yr and 100 passages in vitro. Cells were cultured using Eagles minimum essential medium with Earles salts (MEM) supplemented with GlutaMAX, and 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS), pH 7.4. The addition of penicillin-streptomycin-neomycin (PSN) antibiotic mixture (0.05, 0.05, 0.1 mg m(-1), respectively) did not negatively influence cell replication; however, the antimycotic FungizoneTM (2.5 microg m(-1), amphotericin B) caused cell rounding and resulted in a severe decrease in cell proliferation. Optimal incubation temperature has been observed between 15 and 23 degrees C, and at these temperatures cultures are routinely passed using standard trypsinization methods every 5 to 7 d at a split ratio of 1:3 or 1:4. The cell line was susceptible to isolates of the M and U North American genotypes of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), and to isolates of genotypes I, IVa, and IVb of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). In contrast, the cell line was refractory to infection by 2 North American isolates of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) from serotypes A1 and A9. This cell line provides a new laboratory tool, will allow further investigation into viral diseases of burbot and possibly other species, and is the first immortalized cell line reported from a species in the Gadidae (cod) family.
There are three main genetic lineages or genogroups of Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) in N. America. Strains representing the M genogroup are more virulent in rainbow trout relative to the U genogroup. In this study, we used microarray analysis to evaluate potential mechanisms responsible for host-specific virulence in rainbow trout that were given intraperitoneal injections of buffer or a representative M or U type virus strain. Reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to assess viral load and gene expression of select immune genes. Viral load was significantly higher in trout infected with the M virus starting at 24h post-infection (p.i.) and continuing until 72 h p.i. Microarray analysis of the 48 h time point revealed 153 up-regulated and 248 down-regulated features in response to M virus infection but only 62 up-regulated and 49 down-regulated features following U virus infection. Translation and transcription features were among the most frequent down-regulated features in response to M virus infection and may be associated with the host cell shutoff phenomenon. A greater host cell shutoff response by the M virus may facilitate subversion of the host cell transcriptional machinery and enhance viral replication, suggesting the M virus may be better optimized to manipulate the rainbow trout transcriptional and translational machinery. Anti-viral associated features were the most commonly up-regulated features. A common set of features were up-regulated in both the M and U infection groups, but were induced to a higher magnitude in the M infection group. Gene expression of the anti-viral genes Mx-1 and Vig-1 was correlated but not entirely dependent on viral load in the anterior kidney. Slower replication of the U virus may allow the host more time to induce protective anti-viral immune mechanisms.
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) is a rhabdovirus found in fish from oceans of the northern hemisphere and freshwaters of Europe. It has caused extensive losses of cultured and wild fish and has become established in the North American Great Lakes. Large die-offs of wild fish in the Great Lakes due to VHSV have alarmed the public and provoked government attention on the introduction and spread of aquatic animal pathogens in freshwaters. We investigated the relations between VHSV dispersion and shipping and boating activity in the Great Lakes by sampling fish and water at sites that were commercial shipping harbors, recreational boating centers, and open shorelines. Fish and water samples were individually analyzed for VHSV using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and cell culture assays. Of 1,221 fish of 17 species, 55 were VHSV positive with highly varied qRT-PCR titers (1 to 5,950,000 N gene copies). The detections of VHSV in fish and water samples were closely associated and the virus was detected in 21 of 30 sites sampled. The occurrence of VHSV was not related to type of site or shipping related invasion hotspots. Our results indicate that VHSV is widely dispersed in the Great Lakes and is both an enzootic and epizootic pathogen. We demonstrate that pathogen distribution information could be developed quickly and is clearly needed for aquatic ecosystem conservation, management of affected populations, and informed regulation of the worldwide trade of aquatic organisms.
Infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) causes the lethal disease infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) in juvenile salmon and trout. The nucleocapsid (N) protein gene and partial glycoprotein (G) gene (nucleotides 457 to 1061) of the European isolates IT-217A, FR-32/87, DE-DF 13/98 11621, DE-DF 4/99-8/99, AU-9695338 and RU-FR1 were sequenced and compared with IHNV isolates from the North American genogroups U, M and L. In phylogenetic studies the N gene of the Italian, French, German and Austrian isolates clustered in the M genogroup, though in a different subgroup than the isolates from the USA. Analyses of the partial G gene of these European isolates clustered them in the M genogroup close to the root while the Russian isolate clustered in the U genogroup. The European isolates together with US-WRAC and US-Col-80 were also tested in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the N protein. MAbs 136-1 and 136-3 reacted equally at all concentrations with the isolates tested, indicating that these antibodies identify a common epitope. MAb 34D3 separated the M and L genogroup isolates from the U genogroup isolate. MAb 1DW14D divided the European isolates into 2 groups. MAb 1DW14D reacted more strongly with DE-DF 13/98 11621 and RU-FR1 than with IT-217A, FR-32/87, DE-DF 4/99-8/99 and AU-9695338. In the phylogenetic studies, the Italian, French, German and Austrian isolates clustered in the M genogroup, whereas in the serological studies using MAbs, the European M genogroup isolates could not be placed in the same specific group. These results indicate that genotypic and serotypic classification do not correlate.
A bacilliform virus was isolated from diseased fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Analysis of the complete genome coding for the polyprotein (pp1ab), spike (S), membrane (M) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins revealed that the virus was most like white bream virus (WBV), another bacilliform virus isolated from white bream (Blicca bjoerkna L.) and the type species of the genus Bafinivirus within the order Nidovirales. In addition to similar gene order and size, alignment of deduced amino acid sequences of the pp1ab, M, N and S proteins of the fathead minnow nidovirus (FHMNV) with those of WBV showed 46, 44, 39 and 15?% identities, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis using the conserved helicase domain of the replicase showed FHMNV was distinct from WBV, yet the closest relative identified to date. Thus, FHMNV appears to represent a second species in the genus Bafinivirus. A PCR assay was developed for the identification of future FHMNV-like isolates.
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