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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 112:37-44 (2014)  -  DOI:

Detection and application of circular (concatemeric) DNA as an indicator of koi herpesvirus infection

Yasuhiko Kawato*, Kei Yuasa, Yoshiko Shimahara, Norihisa Oseko 

National Research Institute of Aquaculture, Fisheries Research Agency, Minamiise, Mie 516-0193, Japan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Herpesviruses form a long continuous DNA molecule, or head-to-tail concatemer, as a replicating intermediate in the host. In this study, we developed a DNA-specific PCR assay for detecting the infection stage of koi herpesvirus (KHV) based on the presence of this ‘endless’ DNA. The 295 kbp double-stranded DNA KHV genome consists of a 251 kbp unique long region and two 22 kbp direct repeats (DRL and DRR) at each genome terminus. We designed a new primer set (DR primer set) based on the DR region spanning the presumed circular or concatemeric junction. Using the DR primer set, a PCR product was obtained from KHV-infected common carp brain (CCB) cells, but not from the virus-infected cell culture supernatant, implying that the PCR assay could detect intracellular virus in the host. The synthesis of a presumptive circular or concatemeric genome in virus-infected CCB cells was examined in a time-course experiment together with viral mRNA of the terminase gene, copy numbers of the viral genome, and infectious viral titer. The mRNA was first detected in the cells at 6 h post-inoculation (hpi), and the copy number of viral genome in the cells started to increase at 12 hpi. Subsequently, circular or concatemeric DNA was detected in the cells at 18 hpi, and progeny virus was detected in the cell culture supernatant at 24 hpi. These findings suggest that detection of the circular or concatemeric KHV genome with the developed PCR method can be used to determine the stage of KHV infection.

KEY WORDS: Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 · Koi herpesvirus · ‘Endless’ DNA · Concatemer · PCR assay

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Cite this article as: Kawato Y, Yuasa K, Shimahara Y, Oseko N (2014) Detection and application of circular (concatemeric) DNA as an indicator of koi herpesvirus infection. Dis Aquat Org 112:37-44.

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