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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 46:83-92 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/dao046083

Characteristics of a new reovirus isolated from epizootic ulcerative syndrome infected snakehead fish

K. Riji John*,**, M. Rosalind George*, R. H. Richards, G. N. Frerichs

Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland, UK
*Present address: Fisheries College & Research Institute, Tuticorin 628008, India **E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS) has been infecting a wide range of fishes in the South and Southeast Asia for the last 2 decades. One reovirus-like agent (snakehead reovirus, SKRV), isolated from an EUS-infected snakehead fish and investigated in the present study, is the only reovirus so far isolated from an EUS-infected fish. SKRV was characterised by the presence of a double-stranded RNA genome with icosahedral symmetry and double capsid. The virus had an average size of 71 nm, a buoyant density of 1.36 g ml-1 in CsCl and lacked a lipid-containing envelope. Apart from the above, the presence of a segmented genome and structural proteins falling into 3 specific size classes confirmed that the virus belongs to the family Reoviridae. SKRV differed from aquareoviruses by the lack of a cytopathic effect (CPE) with syncitium formation and in the segmentation pattern of RNA genome. The resistance to pH (3.0 to 9.0) and heat treatment and inability to multiply in mammalian cell lines and haemagglutinate human ŒO¹ red blood cells (RBCs) differentiated SKRV from the rest of the similar genera in the family Reoviridae. Serological comparison indicated the antigenic distinctness of the isolate from selected American and European aquareoviruses. SKRV grew well in SSN-1 and SSN-3 cells at 25 to 30°C but not in the most common Aquareovirus susceptible coldwater fish cell line‹CHSE-214.

KEY WORDS: EUS · Reovirus · Snakehead fish · Characterization

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