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Virology. 2000 Jan 20;266(2):227-36.

Identification of two major virion protein genes of white spot syndrome virus of shrimp.

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Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen Agricultural University, Binnenhaven 11, Wageningen, 6709 PD, The Netherlands.


White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) is an invertebrate virus, causing considerable mortality in shrimp. Two structural proteins of WSSV were identified. WSSV virions are enveloped nucleocapsids with a bacilliform morphology with an approximate size of 275 x 120 nm, and a tail-like extension at one end. The double-stranded viral DNA has an approximate size 290 kb. WSSV virions, isolated from infected shrimps, contained four major proteins: 28 kDa (VP28), 26 kDa (VP26), 24 kDa (VP24), and 19 kDa (VP19) in size, respectively. VP26 and VP24 were found associated with nucleocapsids; the others were associated with the envelope. N-terminal amino acid sequences of nucleocapsid protein VP26 and the envelope protein VP28 were obtained by protein sequencing and used to identify the respective genes (vp26 and vp28) in the WSSV genome. To confirm that the open reading frames of WSSV vp26 (612) and vp28 (612) are coding for the putative major virion proteins, they were expressed in insect cells using baculovirus vectors and analyzed by Western analysis. A polyclonal antiserum against total WSSV virions confirmed the virion origin of VP26 and VP28. Both proteins contained a putative transmembrane domain at their N terminus and many putative N- and O-glycosylation sites. These major viral proteins showed no homology to baculovirus structural proteins, suggesting, together with the lack of DNA sequence homology to other viruses, that WSSV may be a representative of a new virus family, Whispoviridae.

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