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J Fish Dis. 2010 Jul;33(7):583-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2761.2010.01153.x. Epub 2010 Mar 28.

Differential growth of U and M type infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus in a rainbow trout-derived cell line, RTG-2.

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US Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, WA 98115, USA.


Infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is one of the most important viral pathogens of salmonids. In rainbow trout, IHNV isolates in the M genogroup are highly pathogenic, while U genogroup isolates are significantly less pathogenic. We show here that, at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 1, a representative U type strain yielded 42-fold less infectious virus than an M type strain in the rainbow trout-derived RTG-2 cell line at 24 h post-infection (p.i.). However, at an MOI of 10, there was only fivefold difference in the yield of infectious virus between the U and M strains. Quantification of extracellular viral genomic RNA suggested that the number of virus particles released from cells infected with the U strain at a MOI of 1 was 47-fold lower than from M-infected cells, but U and M virions were equally infectious by particle to infectivity ratios. At an MOI of 1, U strain intracellular viral genome accumulation and transcription were 37- and 12-fold lower, respectively, than those of the M strain at 24 h p.i. Viral nucleocapsid (N) protein accumulation in U strain infections was fivefold lower than in M strain infections. These results suggest that the block in U type strain growth in RTG-2 cells was because of the effects of reduced genome replication and transcription. The reduced growth of the U strain does not seem to be caused by defective genes, because the U and M strains grew equally well in the permissive epithelioma papulosum cyprini cell line at an MOI of 1. This suggests that host-specific factors in RTG-2 cells control the growth of the IHNV U and M strains differently, leading to growth restriction of the U type virus during the RNA synthesis step.

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