DAO 39:79-88 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao039079

Characterisation of the capsid protein gene from a nodavirus strain affecting the Atlantic halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus and design of an optimal reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection assay

Sindre Grotmol1,*, Audun H. Nerland1, Eirik Biering2, Geir K. Totland3, Toyohiko Nishizawa4

1Institute of Marine Research, Department of Aquaculture, PO Box 1870, 5024 Bergen-Nordnes, Norway
2Intervet Norbio AS, Thormøhlensgt. 55, 5008 Bergen, Norway
3University of Bergen, Institute of Zoology, Allégt. 41 Bergen, Norway
4Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Kagamiyama 1-4-4, Higashihiroshima, 739, Japan

ABSTRACT: A 1349 nucleotide fragment of the RNA2 from a nodavirus affecting Atlantic halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus was characterised and the nuclotide sequence (accession no. AJ245641) was employed to develop an optimal reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection assay. The sequenced part of the RNA2 of Atlantic halibut nodavirus (strain AH95NorA) was highly similar in organisation to that of the RNA2 of striped jack nervous necrosis virus (SJNNV), and comprised features common to all nodaviruses. These characteristics confirmed that the virus that causes viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) in Atlantic halibut is a nodavirus. The nucleotide sequence of the 1349 nucleotide fragment of Atlantic halibut nodavirus RNA2 was 80% identical to the RNA2 of SJNNV. The T2 region (830 nucleotides) of the RNA2 of Atlantic halibut nodavirus shared 98% of the nucleotide sequence when compared with the homologous region of barfin flounder nervous necrosis virus (BFNNV), while the nucleotide sequence identity to SJNNV in this region was 76%. Phylogenetic analysis based on the nucleotide sequences of the T4 region (421 nucleotides) of Atlantic halibut nodavirus and of other fish nodaviruses revealed a close relationship to the nodaviruses of the barfin flounder clad that have been found in other cold-water species (Pacific cod Gadus macrocephalus and barfin flounder Verasper moseri). The nucleotide sequence of the RNA2 of Atlantic halibut nodavirus included some features that differ from that of SJNNV. The ORF of the RNA2 of Atlantic halibut nodavirus lacked 6 nucleotides through a single deletion and a 5-nucleotide deletion, separated by 4 nucleotides. The 3¹-non-encoding region contained a 21 nucleotide insert and a 3 nucleotide deletion when compared with SJNNV. In comparison with the RNA2 of SJNNV, the 3¹-non-encoding region showed a nucleotide sequence identity of 84.5%. A primer set based on the Atlantic halibut nodavirus nucleotide sequence was employed in order to design an optimal RT-PCR. The detection limit of the PCR was 10 to 100 copies of plasmid, while the detection limit of the RT-PCR assay was 100 to 1000 copies of in vitro transcribed viral RNA.

KEY WORDS: Fish nodavirus · Atlantic halibut · RNA2 · Capsid protein gene · RT-PCR

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