Salmonid alphavirus glycoprotein E2 requires low temperature and E1 for virion formation and induction of protective immunity

M.C. Hikke, S. Braaen, S. Villoing, K. Hodneland, C. Geertsema, L. Verhagen, P. Frost, J.M. Vlak, E. Rimstad, G.P. Pijlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Salmonid alphavirus (SAV; also known as Salmon pancreas disease virus; family Togaviridae) causes pancreas disease and sleeping disease in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout, respectively, and poses a major burden to the aquaculture industry. SAV infection in vivo is temperature-restricted and progeny virus is only produced at low temperatures (10–15 °C). Using engineered SAV replicons we show that viral RNA replication is not temperature-restricted suggesting that the viral structural proteins determine low-temperature dependency. The processing/trafficking of SAV glycoproteins E1 and E2 as a function of temperature was investigated via baculovirus vectors in Sf9 insect cells and by transfection of CHSE-214 fish cells with DNA constructs expressing E1 and E2. We identified SAV E2 as the temperature determinant by demonstrating that membrane trafficking and surface expression of E2 occurs only at low temperature and only in the presence of E1. Finally, a vaccination-challenge model in Atlantic salmon demonstrates the biological significance of our findings and shows that SAV replicon DNA vaccines encoding E2 elicit protective immunity only when E1 is co-expressed. This is the first study that identifies E2 as the critical determinant of SAV low-temperature dependent virion formation and defines the prerequisites for induction of a potent immune response in Atlantic salmon by DNA vaccination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6206-6212
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • pancreas disease virus
  • atlantic salmon
  • monoclonal-antibodies
  • insect cells
  • salar l
  • replicon
  • line


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