DAO 39:37-47 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/dao039037

High permissivity of the fish cell line SSN-1 for piscine nodaviruses

T. Iwamoto1, K. Mori2, M. Arimoto2, T. Nakai1,*

1Fish Pathology Laboratory, Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Higashihiroshima 739-8528, Japan
2Kamiura Station, Japan Sea-Farming Association, Oita 879-2602, Japan
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Seventeen isolates of piscine nodavirus from larvae or juveniles of 13 marine fish species affected with viral nervous necrosis (VNN) were examined for their infectivity to a fish cell line SSN-1. Based on cytopathic effects (CPE) and virus antigen detection by fluorescent antibody technique (FAT) after incubation at 25°C, the infectivity of these virus isolates was divided into 4 groups. Group 1, including 9 virus isolates from 4 species of grouper, 2 species of sea bass, barramundi, rock porgy, and Japanese flounder showed CPE characterized by rounded, granular cells with heavy cytoplasmic vacuoles within 3 d post-incubation (p.i.), and the monolayer partially or completely disintegrated over 3 to 6 d p.i. Scattered FAT-positive cells appeared at 3 h p.i. and spread through the cell sheet with an increasing fluorescence signal over 24 h p.i. Group 2, consisting of 3 virus isolates from striped jack, induced CPE with thin or rounded, granular, refractile cells without conspicuous vacuole formation, and extensive FAT-positive reaction was observed in a time course similar to that of Group 1. Cells inoculated with Group 3 (1 isolate from tiger puffer) developed no distinct CPE but viral infection was evidenced by localized FAT-positive cells. There were no FAT-positive cells in Group 4, which included 4 isolates from Japanese flounder, Pacific cod and Atlantic halibut. However, when incubation was performed at 20°C, the SSN-1 cells inoculated with the Group 3 isolate showed CPE similar to that of Group 1 and extensive FAT-positive reaction. Evidence of virus proliferation at 20°C was also obtained in Group 4 isolates. The virus titers in the infected fish varied from 1011 to 1016 tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) g-1 of fish. There is a good correlation between these infectivities to the SSN-1 cells and the coat protein gene genotypes of the isolates. The present results indicate that SSN-1 cells are useful for propagating and differentiating genotypic variants of piscine nodavirus.

KEY WORDS: Nodavirus · Viral nervous necrosis · Viral encephalopathy and retinopathy · SSN-1 cell line · FAT · RFLP · RT-PCR

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