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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 73:1-11 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao073001

Rana catesbeiana virus Z (RCV-Z): a novel pathogenic ranavirus

Sai Majji1, Scott LaPatra3, Scott M. Long1, Robert Sample1, Locke Bryan1, Allan Sinning2, V. Gregory Chinchar1,*

1Department of Microbiology, and 2Department of Anatomy, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississipi 39216, USA
3Research Division, Clear Springs Foods, Buhl, Idaho 83316, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: A virus, designated Rana catesbeiana virus Z (RCV-Z), was isolated from the visceral tissue of moribund tadpoles of the North American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana. SDS-PAGE (sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) analysis of viral proteins and sequence analysis of the amino terminal end of the major capsid protein showed that RCV-Z was similar to frog virus 3 (FV3) and other ranaviruses isolated from anurans and fish. However, analysis of restriction fragment profiles following digestion of viral genomic DNA with XbaI and BamHI indicated that RCV-Z was markedly different from FV3. Moreover, in contrast to FV3, RCV-Z contained a full-length copy of the viral homolog of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF-2a). Experimental infection of bullfrog tadpoles with FV3 and RCV-Z demonstrated that RCV-Z was much more pathogenic than FV3, and that prior infection with FV3 protected them from subsequent RCV-Z induced mortality. Collectively, these results suggest that RCV-Z may represent a novel species of ranavirus capable of infecting frogs and that possession of a viral eIF-2a homolog (vIF-2a) correlates with enhanced virulence.

KEY WORDS: Iridovirus · Ranavirus · Frog virus 3 · Rana catesbeiana virus Z · eIF-2a homolog · Virulence

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