Betanodavirus infection in the freshwater model fish medaka (Oryzias latipes)
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Betanodaviruses, the causal agents of viral nervous necrosis in marine fish, have bipartite, positive-sense RNA genomes. As their genomes are the smallest and simplest among viruses, betanodaviruses have been studied in detail as model viruses by using a genetic-engineering system, as has occurred with the insect alphanodaviruses, the other members of the family Nodaviridae. However, studies of virus–host interactions have been limited, as betanodaviruses basically infect marine fish at early developmental stages (larval and juvenile). These fish are only available for a few months of the year and are not suitable for the construction of a reverse-genetics system. To overcome these problems, several freshwater fish species were tested for their susceptibility to betanodaviruses. It was found that adult medaka (Oryzias latipes), a well-known model fish, was susceptible to both Striped jack nervous necrosis virus (the type species of the genus Betanodavirus) and Redspotted grouper nervous necrosis virus (RGNNV), which have different host specificities in marine fish species. Infected medaka exhibited erratic swimming and the viruses were localized specifically in the brain, spinal cord and retina of the infected fish, similar to the pattern of infection in naturally infected marine fish. Moreover, medaka were susceptible to RGNNV at the larval stage. This is the first report of a model virus–model host infection system in fish. This system should facilitate elucidation of the mechanisms underlying RNA virus infections in fish.
Journal of General Virology
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Society for General Microbiology
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Graduate School of Biosphere Science