Fitness and virulence of an ancestral White Spot Syndrome Virus isolate from shrimp

H. Marks, J.J.A. Duijse, D. Zuidema, M.C.W. van Hulten, J.M. Vlak

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59 Citations (Scopus)


White Spot Syndrome Virus, the type species of the virus family Nimaviridae, is a large dsDNA virus infecting shrimp and other crustaceans. Genomic analysis of three completely sequenced WSSV isolates identified two major polymorphic loci, ¿variable region ORF14/15¿ and ¿variable region ORF23/24¿. Here, we characterize a WSSV isolate originating from shrimp collected in Thailand in 1996 (TH-96-II). This isolate contains the largest WSSV genome (312 kb) identified so far, mainly because of its sequences in both major polymorphic loci. Analysis of ¿variable region ORF14/15¿ suggests that TH-96-II may be ancestral to the WSSV isolates described to date. A comparison for virulence was made between TH-96-II and WSSV-TH, a well characterized isolate containing the smallest genome (293 kb) identified at present. After injection of the isolates into Penaeus monodon the mortality rates showed that the median lethal time (LT50) of TH-96-II was approximately 14 days, compared to 3.5 days for WSSV-TH. When both isolates were mixed in equal amounts and serially passaged in shrimp, WSSV-TH outcompeted TH-96-II within four passages. These data suggest a higher virulence of WSSV-TH compared to TH-96-II. The molecular basis for the difference in virulence remains unclear, but a replication advantage of the 19 kb smaller WSSV-TH genome could play a role
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • experimental-infection
  • genome sequence
  • baculovirus
  • wssv
  • thailand
  • wsbv

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