DAO 74:95-105 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao074095

Isolation and characterization of Scophthalmus maximus rhabdovirus

Qi-Ya Zhang*, Jian-Jun Tao, Lang Gui, Guang-Zhou Zhou, Hong-Mei Ruan, Zhen-Qiu Li, Jian-Fang Gui

State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, China

ABSTRACT: A rhabdovirus associated with a lethal hemorrhagic disease in cultured turbot Scophthalmus maximus Linnaeus was isolated. The virus induced typical cytopathogenic effects (CPE) in 9 of 15 fish cell lines examined and was then propagated and isolated from infected carp leucocyte cells (CLC). Electron microscopy observations revealed that the negatively stained virions had a typical bullet-shaped morphology with one rounded end and one flat base end. The bullet-shaped morphology was more obvious and clear in ultrathin sections of infected cells. Experimental infections also indicated that the S. maximus rhabdovirus (SMRV) was not only a viral pathogen for cultured turbot, but also had the ability to infect other fish species, such as freshwater grass carp. A partial nucleotide sequence of the SMRV polymerase gene was determined by RT-PCR using 2 pairs of degenerate primers designed according to the conserved sequences of rhabdovirus polymerase genes. Homology analysis, amino acid sequence alignment, and phylogenetic relationship analysis of the partial SMRV polymerase sequence indicated that SMRV was genetically distinct from other rhabdoviruses. Sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) analysis of the purified SMRV revealed 5 major structural proteins, and their molecular masses were estimated to be about 250, 58, 47, 42, and 28 kDa. Significant serological reactivity differences were also observed between SMRV and its nearest neighbor, spring viremia of carp virus (SVCV). The data suggest that SMRV is likely a novel fish rhabdovirus, although it is closely related to rhabdoviruses in the genus Vesiculovirus.

KEY WORDS: Rhabdovirus · Scophthalmus maximus · Fish viral disease · Rhabdovirus polymerase

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