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Rainbow Trout Sleeping Disease Virus Is an Atypical Alphavirus

By Stéphane Villoing, Monique Béarzotti, Stefan Chilmonczyk, Jeannette Castric and Michel Brémont


Sleeping disease (SD) is currently a matter of concern for salmonid fish farmers in most parts of the world. A viral etiology of SD has recently been suspected, since virus-like particles have been observed in infected rainbow trout cells. In salmonid-derived cell lines, the maximal rate of virus production was observed at 10°C, while little virus was produced at 14°C. Through biochemical, physicochemical, and morphological studies, SD virus (SDV) was shown to be an enveloped virus of roughly 60 nm in diameter. The genome consists of 12 kb of RNA, with the appearance of a 26S subgenomic RNA during the time course of SDV replication. The screening of a random-primed cDNA library constructed from the genomic RNA of semipurified virions facilitated the identification of a specific SDV cDNA clone having an open reading frame related to the alphavirus E2 glycoproteins. To extend the comparison between SDV structural proteins and the alphavirus protein counterparts, the nucleotide sequence of the total 4.1-kb subgenomic RNA has been determined. The 26S RNA encodes a 1,324-amino-acid polyprotein exhibiting typical alphavirus structural protein organization. SDV structural proteins showed several remarkable features compared to other alphaviruses: (i) unusually large individual proteins, (ii) very low homology (ranging from 30 to 34%) (iii) an unglycosylated E3 protein, and (iv) and E1 fusion domain sharing mutations implicated in the pH threshold. Although phylogenetically related to the Semliki Forest virus group of alphaviruses, SDV should be considered an atypical member, able to naturally replicate in lower vertebrates

Topics: Recombination and Evolution
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:111526
Provided by: PubMed Central
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