Molecular characterization of the Great Lakes viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) isolate from USA
Publication or External Link
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) is a highly contagious viral disease of fresh and saltwater fish worldwide. VHSV caused several large scale fish kills in the Great Lakes area and has been found in 28 different host species. The emergence of VHS in the Great Lakes began with the isolation of VHSV from a diseased muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) caught from Lake St. Clair in 2003. VHSV is a member of the genus Novirhabdovirus, within the family Rhabdoviridae. It has a linear single-stranded, negative-sense RNA genome of approximately 11 kbp, with six genes. VHSV replicates in the cytoplasm and produces six monocistronic mRNAs. The gene order of VHSV is 3'-N-P-M-G-NV-L-5'. This study describes molecular characterization of the Great Lakes VHSV strain (MI03GL), and its phylogenetic relationships with selected European and North American isolates. The complete genomic sequences of VHSV-MI03GL strain was determined from cloned cDNA of six overlapping fragments, obtained by RT-PCR amplification of genomic RNA. The complete genome sequence of MI03GL comprises 11,184 nucleotides (GenBank GQ385941) with the gene order of 3'-N-P-M-G-NV-L-5'. These genes are separated by conserved gene junctions, with di-nucleotide gene spacers. The first 4 nucleotides at the termini of the VHSV genome are complementary and identical to other novirhadoviruses genomic termini. Sequence homology and phylogenetic analysis show that the Great Lakes virus is closely related to the Japanese strains JF00Ehi1 (96%) and KRRV9822 (95%). Among other novirhabdoviruses, VHSV shares highest sequence homology (62%) with snakehead rhabdovirus. Phylogenetic tree obtained by comparing 48 glycoprotein gene sequences of different VHSV strains demonstrate that the Great Lakes VHSV is closely related to the North American and Japanese genotype IVa, but forms a distinct genotype IVb, which is clearly different from the three European genotypes. Molecular characterization of the Great Lakes isolate will be helpful in studying the pathogenesis of VHSV using a reverse genetics approach and developing efficient control strategies.