DAO 58:89-97 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao058089

Pathology and ultrastructure of an intranuclear bacilliform virus (IBV) infecting brown shrimp Crangon crangon (Decapoda: Crangonidae)

G. D. Stentiford*, K. Bateman, S. W. Feist

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK

ABSTRACT: The brown shrimp Crangon crangon supports an important fishery in Europe (over 25000 t, valued at 80 million euros in 2000). Through the course of histopathological screening of crustaceans from the Clyde estuary, western Scotland, for the biological effect of contaminants, we have discovered a highly prevalent (up to 100%) non-occluded intranuclear bacilliform virus (IBV) infection in the hepatopancreatic tubule epithelia and midgut epithelia of wild C. crangon. This is the first report of an IBV in this family. We have termed this virus Crangon crangon bacilliform virus (CcBV). Histological and ultrastructural observations suggest that this virus is similar to other IBVs previously described from crabs and penaeid shrimps. The nuclei of virus-infected epithelial cells contained an eosinophilic, hypertrophied viroplasm that marginalised the chromatin of the host nucleus. Infected cells were often separated from their neighbouring cells and their nuclei appeared apoptotic. In heavily infected shrimp, apoptotic cells were expelled into the lumen of the hepatopancreatic tubule or the midgut. Following this stage, some hepatopancreatic tubules became degenerate, with remnants of the basement membrane and myoepithelial lining remaining. Transmission electron microscopy of hypertrophic nuclei revealed the presence of rod-shaped and cylindrical, envelope-bound virions. These virions did not form arrays and were not embedded within occlusion bodies, but did appear to be partially occluded in an amorphous matrix that corresponded to a granular viroplasm. The ultrastructure, morphology and size of the nucleocapsid and the complete virion aligns the virus most closely to the IBVs previously reported from other decapod crustaceans. Due to the pathological manifestation of IBV infection in C. crangon, it appears likely that it can act as a population modulator, particularly at sites where infection prevalence is high, such as that observed in the Clyde estuary.

KEY WORDS: Bacilliform virus · Crangon crangon · Estuary · Hepatopancreas · Histopathology · IBV · Prevalence · Ultrastructure

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