DAO 61:1-10 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao061001

Molecular characterization of birnaviruses isolated from wild marine fishes at the Flemish Cap (Newfoundland)

I. Romero-Brey1, W.N. Batts2, I. Bandín1, J.R. Winton2, C.P. Dopazo1,*

1 Unidade de Ictiopatoloxía, Departamento de Microbioloxía e Parasitoloxía, Instituto de Acuicultura, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
2 Western Fisheries Research Center, United States Geological Survey, 6505 NE 65th St., Seattle, Washington 98115, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Several isolates of aquatic birnaviruses were recovered from different species of wild fish caught in the Flemish Cap, a Newfoundland fishery close to the Atlantic coast of Canada. The nucleotide sequence of a region of the NS gene was identical among the isolates and was most similar to the Dry Mills and West Buxton reference strains of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV). Phylogenetic analysis of the sequence of a region of the VP2 gene demonstrated that the isolates were most closely aligned with the American strains of IPNV serotype A1. Electron microscopy of virus structures clarified and concentrated from cultures of infected chinook salmon embryo (CHSE-214) cells revealed a majority of typical IPNV-like icosahedral particles, as well as a low proportion of type I tubules having a diameter of approximately 55 nm and a variable length of up to 2 µm. The tubules could be propagated in cell cultures, but always in the presence of low proportions of icosahedral particles. Cloning of selected isolates by serial dilution yielded preparations with a high proportion of the tubular structures with a density in CsCl gradients of approximately 1.30 g cm-3. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed the material in the band was composed of the IPNV pVP2 and VP2 proteins.

KEY WORDS: Wild fishes · Birnavirus · Aquabirnavirus · IPNV

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