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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 147:25-31 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03634

Electron microscopy reveals viral-like particles and mitochondrial degradation in scombrid puffy snout syndrome

Emily A. Miller1,2,*, Savanah Leidholt3, Tatiana Galvin3, Alexander Norton1, Kyle S. Van Houtan1,4,5, Rebecca Vega Thurber3, Andre Boustany1,4

1Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
2Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA
3Oregon State University, Department of Microbiology, 220 Nash Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
4Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Box 90328, Durham, NC 27708, USA
5Loggerhead Marinelife Center, 14200 Hwy 1, Juno Beach, FL 33408, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Aquaculture is an increasingly important food resource, but its sustainability is often limited by disease. In Scombridae fishes, puffy snout syndrome (PSS) is a debilitating condition where tumor-like collagenous growths form around the eyes, nares, and mandibles which impair vision and feeding and frequently lead to mortality. While PSS is considered an infectious or metabolic disease, no disease agents or promoters have been identified. Here, we used electron microscopy (EM) to describe the cellular pathology and search for etiological agents of PSS in Pacific mackerel Scomber japonicus, the first use of this approach for PSS. We examined aquaculture specimens across a range of apparent PSS severity, comparing the results to both wild and aquaculture asymptomatic mackerel. EM imagery consistently revealed viral-like particles in PSS samples, as well as the uniform absence of bacteria, protists, fungi, and other multicellular parasites. In addition to viral-like particles, symptomatic fish had a higher mean percentage of swollen and disintegrating mitochondria than both asymptomatic aquaculture and wild mackerel. This suggests that degraded mitochondria may be related to PSS and could be important to further understanding the origin, promoters, and prevention of PSS. This study serves as a first step in identifying the etiological agents of PSS.


KEY WORDS: Disease · Aquaculture · Scombridae · Mackerel · Electron microscopy · Viral infection · Mitochondria


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Cite this article as: Miller EA, Leidholt S, Galvin T, Norton A, Van Houtan KS, Vega Thurber R, Boustany A (2021) Electron microscopy reveals viral-like particles and mitochondrial degradation in scombrid puffy snout syndrome. Dis Aquat Org 147:25-31. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03634

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