DAO 57:27-34 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao057027

Infection and propagation of lymphocystis virus isolated from the cultured flounder Paralichthys olivaceus in grass carp cell lines

Qi-Ya Zhang, Hong-Mei Ruan, Zhen-Qiu Li, Xiu-Ping Yuan, Jian-Fang Gui*

State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Wuhan Center for Developmental Biology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, PR China
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The causative agent of lymphocystis disease that frequently occurs in cultured flounder Paralichthys olivaceus in China is lymphocystis virus (LV). In this study, 13 fish cell lines were tested for their susceptibility to LV. Of these, 2 cell lines derived from the freshwater grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idellus proved susceptible to the LV, and 1 cell line, GCO (grass carp ovary), was therefore used to replicate and propagate the virus. An obvious cytopathic effect (CPE) was first observed in cell monolayers at 1 d post-inoculation, and at 3 d this had extended to about 75% of the cell monolayer. However, no further CPE extension was observed after 4 d. Cytopathic characteristics induced by the LV were detected by Giemsa staining and fluorescence microscopic observation with Hoechst 33258 staining. The propagated virus particles were also observed by electron microscopy. Ultrastructure analysis revealed several distinct cellular changes, such as chromatin compaction and margination, vesicle formation, cell-surface convolution, nuclear fragmentation and the occurrence of characteristic Œblebs¹ and cell fusion. This study provides a detailed report of LV infection and propagation in a freshwater fish cell line, and presents direct electron microscopy evidence for propagation of the virus in infected cells. A possible process by which the CPEs are controlled is suggested.


KEY WORDS: Lymphocystis virus · LV · Iridovirus · Viral disease · Freshwater fish · Cell line · Apoptosis


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