Salmonid alphavirus replication in mosquito cells: towards a novel vaccine production system

M.C. Hikke, M. Verest, J.M. Vlak, G.P. Pijlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Salmonid alphavirus (SAV) causes pancreas disease and sleeping disease in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and confers a major burden to the aquaculture industry. A commercial inactivated whole virus vaccine propagated in a salmon cell line at low temperature provides effective protection against SAV infections. Alphaviruses (family Togaviridae) are generally transmitted between vertebrate hosts via blood-sucking arthropod vectors, typically mosquitoes. SAV is unique in this respect because it can be transmitted directly from fish to fish and has no known invertebrate vector. Here, we show for the first time that SAV is able to complete a full infectious cycle within arthropod cells derived from the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus. Progeny virus is produced in C6/36 and U4.4. cells in a temperature-dependent manner (at 15°C but not at 18°C), can be serially passaged and remains infectious to salmonid Chinook salmon embryo cells. This suggests that SAV is not a vertebrate-restricted alphavirus after all and may have the potential to replicate in invertebrates. The current study also shows the ability of SAV to be propagated in mosquito cells, thereby possibly providing an alternative SAV production system for vaccine applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-484
Number of pages5
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • farmed atlantic salmon
  • salar l.
  • pancreas disease
  • rna interference
  • virus
  • line
  • sav
  • togaviridae
  • subtypes
  • ireland


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