DAO 65:91-98 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao065091

Persistent infection of betanodavirus in a novel cell line derived from the brain tissue of barramundi Lates calcarifer

S. C. Chi*, Y. C. Wu, T. M. Cheng

Department of Life Science and Institute of Zoology, National Taiwan University, 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 10617, Taiwan

ABSTRACT: In order to obtain an in vitro system for studying the mechanism of persistent infection of fish nodavirus, a novel cell line (BB) was established from the brain tissue of a barramundi, Lates calcarifer, which had survived viral nervous necrosis disease. The cell line has been subcultured >100 times. The persistence of fish nodavirus designated as barramundi brain nervous necrosis virus (BBNNV) in the BB cells was demonstrated by: (1) the detection of the infectious virus in the culture supernatants, (2) the detection of NNV nucleic acids extracted from the BB cells, (3) the positive result of immunochemical staining using an NNV-specific monoclonal antibody and (4) their resistance to infection by another fish nodavirus grouper NNV (GNNV). No temperature-sensitive mutants were detected in the culture supernatant of the BB cells. Neither truncated genome (RNA1 or RNA2) nor smaller coat protein was found in the purified BBNNV particles, suggesting that defective interfering particles were unlikely to be important in the NNV-persistent infection in the BB cells. The result of the neutralization test indicated that the 5 antigenic determinants, recognized by GNNV-specific neutralizing antibodies, also existed on the coat protein of BBNNV. The BB cell line is the first cell line reported to be persistently infected with NNV, and would be a useful model for understanding the mechanisms of NNV-persistent infection in vitro and in vivo.

KEY WORDS: Fish cell line · Persistent infection · Betanodavirus · Viral nervous necrosis

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