DAO 38:87-91 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/dao038087

Isolation of different types of birnavirus from ayu Plecoglossus altivelis and amago salmon Oncorhynchus rhodurus cultured in the same geographic area

Sung-Ju Jung*, Shin-Ichi Kitamura, Kenji Kawai, Satoru Suzuki**

Department of Aquaculture, Kochi University, Nankoku, Kochi 783-8502, Japan
*Present address: Department of Fish Pathology, Yosu University, Yosu 550-743, Korea.
**Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: A birnavirus was recently isolated from cultured ayu Plecoglossus altivelis on Shikoku island, Japan. The diseased fish displayed vertebral or vertical curvature and mild haemorrhage around the brain. Cytopathic effects (CPE) of the virus, including cell roundness, filamentous change and cell lysis, were observed in CHSE-214, RTG-2 and RSBK-2 cells. The virus isolated from ayu, designated the AY-98 strain, was found to be antigenically related to the marine birnavirus (MABV) Y-6 strain that originated from yellowtail Seriola quinqueradiata. AY-98 had a bi-segmented RNA genome and the same nucleotide sequence in the 310 bp VP2/NS junction as MABV Y-6. At the same time that the ayu epizootics occurred, another birnavirus (AM-98) was isolated from amago salmon Oncorhynchus rhodurus which were cultured 66 km away from the ayu farm. AM-98 showed a similar CPE and had the same host cell ranges as AY-98. However, AM-98 was serologically similar to the VR-299 strain of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) and their nucleotide sequences in the VP2/ NS junction region showed 98% homology without changes at the amino acid level. In this study, the ayu strain AY-98 was grouped into MABV, whereas the amago salmon strain AM-98 was grouped into IPNV. This indicates that the 2 birnaviruses originated from different sources in spite of the fact that the places where they were isolated are close to one another. The results in this paper show a new aspect of the traditional consensus that the same serogroup of birnavirus distribute in close geographic areas.

KEY WORDS: Ayu · MABV · Amago salmon · IPNV · Geographic area

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