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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 157:45-59 (2024)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03768

Acipenserid herpesvirus 2 genome and partial validation of a qPCR for its detection in white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus

Eva Marie Quijano Cardé1, Kelsey Anenson1, Geoffrey Waldbieser2, C. Titus Brown1, Matt Griffin3, Eileen Henderson1, Susan Yun1, Esteban Soto1,*

1University of California-Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA
2United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776, USA
3Mississippi State University, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: White sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus is the primary species used for caviar and sturgeon meat production in the USA. An important pathogen of white sturgeon is acipenserid herpesvirus 2 (AciHV-2). In this study, 4 archived isolates from temporally discrete natural outbreaks spanning the past 30 yr were sequenced via Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technologies platforms. Assemblies of approximately 134 kb were obtained for each isolate, and the putative ATPase subunit of the terminase gene was selected as a potential quantitative PCR (qPCR) target based on sequence conservation among AciHV-2 isolates and low sequence homology with other important viral pathogens. The qPCR was repeatable and reproducible, with a linear dynamic range covering 5 orders of magnitude, an efficiency of approximately 96%, an R2 of 0.9872, and an analytical sensitivity of 103 copies per reaction after 35 cycles. There was no cross-reaction with other known viruses or closely related sturgeon species, and no inhibition by sturgeon DNA. Clinical accuracy was assessed from white sturgeon juveniles exposed to AciHV-2 by immersion. Viral culture (gold standard) and qPCR were in complete agreement for both cell culture negative and cell culture positive samples, indicating that this assay has 100% relative accuracy compared to cell culture during an active outbreak. The availability of a whole-genome sequence for AciHV-2 and a highly specific and sensitive qPCR assay for detection of AciHV-2 in white sturgeon lays a foundation for further studies on host-pathogen interactions while providing a specific and rapid test for AciHV-2 in captive and wild populations.


KEY WORDS: AciHV-2 · WSHV · Sensitivity and specificity · Aquaculture · Fish health · Caviar


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Cite this article as: Quijano Cardé EM, Anenson K, Waldbieser G, Brown CT and others (2024) Acipenserid herpesvirus 2 genome and partial validation of a qPCR for its detection in white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus. Dis Aquat Org 157:45-59. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03768

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