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Arch Virol. 2006 May;151(5):861-74. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Genetic stability within the Norwegian subtype of salmonid alphavirus (family Togaviridae).

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.


Salmonid alphavirus (SAV) (family Togaviridae) causes mortality in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss W.) in Norway, France, UK, and Ireland. At least three subtypes of SAV exist: SPDV in UK/Ireland, SDV in France/UK, and the recently reported Norwegian salmonid alphavirus (NSAV) in western Norway. During 2003 and 2004, disease caused by NSAV was reported for the first time in northern Norway, more than 800 km away from the enzootic area in western Norway. The present study has investigated the phylogenetic relationships among 20 NSAV isolates, based on a 1221-nt-long segment covering part of the capsid gene, E3, and part of the E2 gene, collected over a period of eight years. The results revealed genetic homogeneity among NSAV isolates, including those from northern Norway. The SDV or SPDV subtypes were not found in diseased Norwegian fish. A substitution rate of 1.70 (+/-1.03) x 10(-4) nt subst/site/year was obtained for the NSAV subtype by maximum likelihood analysis. The second aim of this study was to clarify whether NSAV changes genotypically in cell culture by culturing a NSAV isolate through 20 passages in CHSE-214 cells. Sequencing of almost the entire genome (11530 nt) after 20 passages revealed four nucleotide substitutions, all resulting in amino acid substitutions. One of these substitutions, serine to proline in E2 position 206, was also found to have occurred in field isolates.

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