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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 95:19-30 (2011)  -  DOI:

Penaeus monodon is protected against gill- associated virus by muscle injection but not oral delivery of bacterially expressed dsRNAs

Melony J. Sellars1,*, Min Rao2, Stuart J. Arnold1, Nicholas M. Wade1, Jeff A. Cowley2

1CSIRO Food Futures National Research Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Cleveland, Queensland 4163, Australia
2CSIRO Food Futures National Research Flagship, CSIRO Livestock Industries, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, St Lucia, Queensland 4067, Australia

ABSTRACT: Gill-associated virus (GAV) is a nidovirus that commonly infects Penaeus monodon (black tiger shrimp) in eastern Australia, causing morbidity and mortalities in the acute stage of disease. Here we explored the possibility of inhibiting GAV replication and disease using double-stranded (ds)RNAs expressed in bacteria and delivered either orally or by muscle injection. To enhance potential RNA interference (RNAi) responses, 5 long dsRNAs were used that targeted open reading frame 1a/1b (ORF1a/b) gene regions and thus only the genomic length RNA. To examine oral delivery, P. monodon were fed pellets incorporating a pool of formalin-fixed bacteria containing the 5 GAV-specific dsRNAs before being injected with a minimal lethal GAV dose. Feeding with the pellets continued post-challenge but did not reduce mortality accumulation and elevation in GAV loads. In contrast, muscle injection of the dsRNAs purified from bacteria was highly effective at slowing GAV replication and protecting shrimp against acute disease and mortalities. In synergy with these data, dsRNA targeted to P. monodon β-actin mRNA caused 100% mortality following injection, whilst its oral delivery caused no mortality. Findings confirm that injected dsRNA can mount effective RNAi responses in P. monodon to endogenous shrimp mRNA and exogenous viral RNAs, but when delivered orally in bacteria as a feed component, the same dsRNAs are ineffective. The efficacy of the RNAi response against GAV provided by injection of dsRNAs targeted to multiple genome sites suggests that this strategy might have general applicability in enhancing protection against other shrimp single-stranded (ss)RNA viruses, particularly in hatcheries or breeding programs where injection-based delivery systems are practical.

KEY WORDS: Actin · Gill-associated virus · GAV · RNA interference · RNAi · Giant tiger shrimp

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Cite this article as: Sellars MJ, Rao M, Arnold SJ, Wade NM, Cowley JA (2011) Penaeus monodon is protected against gill- associated virus by muscle injection but not oral delivery of bacterially expressed dsRNAs. Dis Aquat Org 95:19-30.

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