DAO 64:91-98 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao064091

Taura syndrome virus from Belize represents a unique variant

Heidi S. Erickson1,2, Bonnie T. Poulos1,*, Kathy F. J. Tang1, Deborah Bradley-Dunlop1, Donald V. Lightner1

1Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory, Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, The University of Arizona, 1117 East Lowell Street, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
2Present address: Pathogenetics Unit, Laboratory of Pathology and Urologic Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4605, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: A Taura syndrome virus (TSV) isolate from cultured Penaeus vannamei grown in Belize, Central America was characterized and shown to be a unique isolate. Mortality rates in laboratory infections of specific pathogen-free (SPF) P. vannamei, reactivity of the virus with monoclonal antibody (MAb) 1A1 and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the Belize isolate (BLZ02TSV) is a new variant of TSV. The Hawaiian 1994 TSV isolate (HI94TSV, GenBank AF277675) was used as the reference isolate for these studies. Laboratory infections of SPF P. vannamei with BLZ02TSV demonstrated higher mortalities and earlier onset of mortalities compared to infections with HI94TSV. Shrimp tissues infected with BLZ02TSV reacted with a TSV-specific gene probe by in situ hybridization and were positive by RT-PCR using TSV diagnostic primers, thus indicating that the isolate was TSV. However, Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry using MAb 1A1 demonstrated that BLZ02TSV did not react with the antibody, suggestive of changes in the VP1 region of the genome that codes for the polypeptide to which MAb 1A1 binds. Phylogenetic analysis of a 1.3 kbp fragment of the TSV VP1 capsid region revealed that BLZ02TSV represents a distinct group among more than 29 isolates of TSV studied thus far. This research demonstrates that BLZ02TSV is a unique isolate of TSV and reiterates a problem related to the use of MAb 1A1 for detection of TSV in clinical specimens.


KEY WORDS: Taura syndrome virus · Belize · Monoclonal antibody 1A1


Full article in pdf format