ABSTRACT: Pancreas disease (PD) and sleeping disease (SD) are important viral scourges in aquaculture of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. The etiological agent of PD and SD is salmonid alphavirus (SAV), an unusual member of the Togaviridae (genus Alphavirus). SAV replicates at lower temperatures in fish. Outbreaks of SAV are associated with large economic losses of ~17 to 50 million $/year. Current control strategies rely on vaccination with inactivated virus formulations that are cumbersome to obtain and have intrinsic safety risks. In this research we were able to obtain non-infectious virus-like particles (VLPs) of SAV via expression of recombinant baculoviruses encoding SAV capsid protein and two major immunodominant viral glycoproteins, E1 and E2 in Spodoptera frugiperda Sf9 insect cells. However, this was only achieved when a temperature shift from 27°C to lower temperatures was applied. At 27°C, precursor E2 (PE2) was misfolded and not processed by host furin into mature E2. Hence, E2 was detected neither on the surface of infected cells nor as VLPs in the culture fluid. However, when temperatures during protein expression were lowered, PE2 was processed into mature E2 in a temperature-dependent manner and VLPs were abundantly produced. So, temperature shift-down during synthesis is a prerequisite for correct SAV glycoprotein processing and recombinant VLP production.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Pancreas disease (PD) is a viral fish disease which in recent years has significantly affected Norwegian salmonid aquaculture. In Norway, the aetiological agent salmonid alphavirus (SAV) has been found to be represented by the subtype 3 only. SAV subtype 3 has in previous analyses been found to show a lower genetic divergence than the subtypes found to cause PD in Ireland and Scotland. The aim of this study was to evaluate the nucleotide (nt) and amino acid divergence and the phylogenetic relationship of 33 recent SAV subtype 3 sequences. The samples from which the sequences were obtained originated from both PD endemic and non-endemic regions in an attempt to investigate agent origin/spread. Multiple samples throughout the seawater production phase from several salmonid populations were included to investigate genetic variation during an outbreak. The analyses were mainly based on partial sequences from the E2 gene. For some samples, additional partial 6 K and nsP3 gene sequences were available. RESULTS: The nucleotide divergence for all gene fragments ranged from total identity (0.0% divergence) to 0.45% (1103 nt fragment of E2), 1.11% (451 nt fragment of E2), 0.94% (6 K) and 0.28% (nsP3). This low nucleotide divergence corresponded well to previous reports on SAV 3 sequences; however the observed divergence for the short E2 fragment was higher than that previously reported. When compared to SAVH20/03 (AY604235), amino acid substitutions were detected in all assessed gene fragments however the in vivo significance of these on for example disease outbreak mortality could not be concluded on. The phylogenetic tree based on the 451 nt E2 fragment showed that the sequences divided into two clusters with low genetic divergence, representing only a single SAV subtype. CONCLUSIONS: The analysed sequences represented two clusters of a single SAV subtype; however some of the observed sequence divergence was higher than that previously reported by other researchers. Larger scale, full length sequence analyses should be instigated to allow further phylogenetic and molecular epidemiology investigations of SAV subtype 3.
Project description:Pancreas disease (PD) of Atlantic salmon is an emerging disease caused by Salmonid alphavirus (SAV) which mainly affects salmonid aquaculture in Western Europe. Although genome structure of SAV has been characterized and each individual viral protein has been identified, the role of 6K protein in viral replication and infectivity remains undefined. The 6K protein of alphaviruses is a small and hydrophobic protein which is involved in membrane permeabilization, protein processing and virus budding. Because these common features are shared across many viral species, they have been named viroporins. In the present study, we applied reverse genetics to generate SAV3 6K-deleted (Δ6K) variant and investigate the role of 6K protein. Our findings show that the 6K-deletion variant of salmonid alphavirus is non-viable. Despite viral proteins of Δ6K variant are detected in the cytoplasm by immunostaining, they are not found on the cell surface. Further, analysis of viral proteins produced in Δ6K cDNA clone transfected cells using radioimmunoprecipitation (RIPA) and western blot showed a protein band of larger size than E2 of wild-type SAV3. When Δ6K cDNA was co-transfected with SAV3 helper cDNA encoding the whole structural genes including 6K, the infectivity was rescued. The development of CPE after co-transfection and resolved genome sequence of rescued virus confirmed full-length viral genome being generated through RNA recombination. The discovery of the important role of the 6K protein in virus production provides a new possibility for the development of antiviral intervention which is highly needed to control SAV infection in salmonids.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Salmonid alphavirus (SAV) is a widespread pathogen in European aquaculture of salmonid fish. Distinct viral subtypes have been suggested based on sequence comparisons and some of these have different geographical distributions. In Norway, only SAV subtype 3 have so far been identified. Little is known about viral mechanisms important for pathogenesis and transmission. Tools for detailed exploration of SAV genomes are therefore needed. RESULTS: Infectious cDNA clones in which a genome of subtype 3 SAV is under the control of a CMV promoter were constructed. The clones were designed to express proteins that are putatively identical to those previously reported for the SAVH20/03 strain. A polyclonal antiserum was raised against a part of the E2 glycoprotein in order to detect expression of the subgenomic open reading frame (ORF) encoding structural viral proteins. Transfection of the cDNA clone revealed the expression of the E2 protein by IFAT, and in serial passages of the supernatant the presence of infectious recombinant virus was confirmed through RT-PCR, IFAT and the development of a cytopathic effect similar to that seen during infection with wild type SAV. Confirmation that the recovered virus originated from the infectious plasmid was done by sequence identification of an introduced genetic tag. The recombinant virus was infectious also when an additional ORF encoding an EGFP reporter gene under the control of a second subgenomic alphavirus promoter was added. Finally, we used the system to study the effect of selected point mutations on infectivity in Chinook salmon embryo cells. While introduced mutations in nsP2197, nsP3263 and nsP3323 severely reduced infectivity, a serine to proline mutation in E2206 appeared to enhance the virus titer production. CONCLUSION: We have constructed infectious clones for SAV based on a subtype 3 genome. The clones may serve as a platform for further functional studies.
Project description:Viral diseases are among the main challenges in farming of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). The most prevalent viral diseases in Norwegian salmon aquaculture are heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) caused by Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV), and pancreas disease (PD) caused by Salmonid alphavirus (SAV). Both PRV and SAV target heart and skeletal muscles, but SAV additionally targets exocrine pancreas. PRV and SAV are often present in the same locations and co-infections occur, but the effect of this crosstalk on disease development has not been investigated. In the present experiment, the effect of a primary PRV infection on subsequent SAV infection was studied. Atlantic salmon were infected with PRV by cohabitation, followed by addition of SAV shedder fish 4 or 10 weeks after the initial PRV infection. Histopathological evaluation, monitoring of viral RNA levels and host gene expression analysis were used to assess disease development. Significant reduction of SAV RNA levels and of PD specific histopathological changes were observed in the co-infected groups compared to fish infected by SAV only. A strong correlation was found between histopathological development and expression of disease related genes in heart. In conclusion, experimentally PRV infected salmon are less susceptible to secondary SAV infection and development of PD.
Project description:Sapovirus (SaV) is a causative agent of gastroenteritis. On the basis of capsid protein (VP1) nucleotide sequences, SaV can be divided into 5 genogroups (GI-GV), of which the GI, GII, GIV, and GV strains infect humans. SaV is uncultivable, but expression of recombinant VP1 in insect cells results in formation of viruslike particles (VLPs) that are antigenically similar to native SaV. In this study, we newly expressed SaV GII and GIV VLPs to compare genetic and antigenic relationships among all human SaV genogroups. Hyperimmune antiserum samples against VLPs reacted strongly with homologous VLPs. However, several antiserum samples weakly cross-reacted against heterologous VLPs in an antibody ELISA. Conversely, an antigen ELISA showed that VLPs of SaV in all human genogroups were antigenically distinct. These findings indicate a likely correspondence between SaV antigenicity and VP1 genogrouping and genotyping.
Project description:While investigating biomarkers for infection with salmonid alphavirus (SAV), the cause of pancreas disease (PD), a selective precipitation reaction (SPR) has been discovered in serum which could be an on-farm qualitative test and an in-laboratory quantitative assay for health assessments in aquaculture. Mixing serum from Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, with SAV infection with a sodium acetate buffer caused a visible precipitation which does not occur with serum from healthy salmon. Proteomic examination of the precipitate has revealed that the components are a mix of muscle proteins, for example enolase and aldolase, along with serum protein such as serotransferrin and complement C9. The assay has been optimized for molarity, pH, temperature and wavelength so that the precipitation can be measured as the change in optical density at 340 nm (?340 ). Application of the SPR assay to serum samples from a cohabitation trial of SAV infection in salmon showed that the ?340 in infected fish rose from undetectable to a maximum at 6 weeks post-infection correlating with histopathological score of pancreas, heart and muscle damage. This test may have a valuable role to play in the diagnostic evaluation of stock health in salmon.
Project description:Salmonid alphavirus (SAV) is an emerging virus in salmonid aquaculture, with SAV-3 being the only subtype found in Norway. Until now, there has been little focus on the alpha interferon (IFN-alpha)-induced antiviral responses during virus infection in vivo or in vitro in fish. The possible involvement of IFN-gamma in the response to SAV-3 is also not known. In this study, the two IFNs were cloned and expressed as recombinant proteins (recombinant IFN-alpha [rIFN-alpha] and rIFN-gamma) and used for in vitro studies. SAV-3 infection in a permissive salmon cell line (TO cells) results in IFN-alpha and IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) mRNA upregulation. Preinfection treatment (4 to 24 h prior to infection) with salmon rIFN-alpha induces an antiviral state that inhibits the replication of SAV-3 and protects the cells against virus-induced cytopathic effects (CPE). The antiviral state coincides with a strong expression of Mx and ISG15 mRNA and Mx protein expression. When rIFN-alpha is administered at the time of infection and up to 24 h postinfection, virus replication is not inhibited, and cells are not protected against virus-induced CPE. By 40 h postinfection, the alpha subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2alpha) is phosphorylated concomitant with the expression of the E2 protein as assessed by Western blotting. Postinfection treatment with rIFN-alpha results in a moderate reduction in E2 expression levels in accordance with a moderate downregulation of cellular protein synthesis, an approximately 65% reduction by 60 h postinfection. rIFN-gamma has only a minor inhibitory effect on SAV-3 replication in vitro. SAV-3 is sensitive to the preinfection antiviral state induced by rIFN-alpha, while postinfection antiviral responses or postinfection treatment with rIFN-alpha is not able to limit viral replication.
Project description:AIM:To cost-effectively express the 23-ku pE2, the most promising subunit vaccine encoded by the E2 fragment comprising of the 3'-portion of hepatitis E virus (HEV) open reading frame 2 (ORF2) in plastids of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. SR1), to investigate the transgene expression and pE2 accumulation in plastids, and to evaluate the antigenic effect of the plastid-derived pE2 in mice. METHODS:Plastid-targeting vector pRB94-E2 containing the E2 fragment driven by rice psbA promoter was constructed. Upon delivery into tobacco plastids, this construct could initiate homologous recombination in psaB-trnfM and trnG-psbC fragments in plastid genome, and result in transgene inserted between the two fragments. The pRB94-E2 was delivered with a biolistic particle bombardment method, and the plastid-transformed plants were obtained following the regeneration of the bombarded leaf tissues on a spectinomycin-supplemented medium. Transplastomic status of the regenerated plants was confirmed by PCR and Southern blot analysis, transgene expression was investigated by Northern blot analysis, and accumulation of pE2 was measured by ELISA. Furthermore, protein extracts were used to immunize mice, and the presence of the pE2-reactive antibodies in serum samples of the immunized mice was studied by ELISA. RESULTS:Transplastomic lines confirmed by PCR and Southern blot analysis could actively transcribe the E2 mRNA. The pE2 polypeptide was accumulated to a level as high as 13.27 microg/g fresh leaves. The pE2 could stimulate the immunized mice to generate pE2-specific antibodies. CONCLUSION:HEV-E2 fragment can be inserted into the plastid genome and the recombinant pE2 antigen derived is antigenic in mice. Hence, plastids may be a novel source for cost-effective production of HEV vaccines.
Project description:Pancreas disease (PD), caused by a salmonid alphavirus (SAV), has a large negative economic and animal welfare impact on Atlantic salmon aquaculture. Evidence for genetic variation in host resistance to this disease has been reported, suggesting that selective breeding may potentially form an important component of disease control. The aim of this study was to explore the genetic architecture of resistance to PD, using survival data collected from two unrelated populations of Atlantic salmon; one challenged with SAV as fry in freshwater (POP 1) and one challenged with SAV as post-smolts in sea water (POP 2). Analyses of the binary survival data revealed a moderate-to-high heritability for host resistance to PD in both populations (fry POP 1?h(2)~0.5; post-smolt POP 2?h(2)~0.4). Subsets of both populations were genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphism markers, and six putative resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified. One of these QTL was mapped to the same location on chromosome 3 in both populations, reaching chromosome-wide significance in both the sire- and dam-based analyses in POP 1, and genome-wide significance in a combined analysis in POP 2. This independently verified QTL explains a significant proportion of host genetic variation in resistance to PD in both populations, suggesting a common underlying mechanism for genetic resistance across lifecycle stages. Markers associated with this QTL are being incorporated into selective breeding programs to improve PD resistance.
Project description:Salmon pancreas disease, caused by salmonid alphavirus (SAV), is an economically important disease affecting farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in Europe, with outbreaks reported in Scotland, Norway, and Ireland. A microarray-based study was performed to evaluate the host transcriptomic response during the early stages of an experimentally induced salmonid alphavirus 1 (SAV 1) infection in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) Head kidney was sampled from five fish PD infected Atlantic salmon parr and uninfected controls on days 1, 3 and 5 post injection (d.p.i). RNA from tissue samples was amplified and interrogated using the 17k TRAITS / SGP cDNA microarray, with results validated by SYBR green real-time PCR. The greatest number of significantly differentially expressed genes was recorded on day 3 p.i. These were found to be mainly associated with immune and defence mechanisms including genes involved in interferon I & II pathways and major histocompatibility complex class I & II responses. The expression of genes associated with apoptosis (BcL2 and caspase 3/7) and cellular stress (heat shock protein) were also found to differ significantly between infected and uninfected individuals as were genes involved in inhibiting viral attachment and replication, such as ubiquitin, serum myeloid, and and viperin.