A pathogenic bacilliform virus 130–180 nm in length and 31–47 nm in diameter was isolated from moribund fathead minnows ( Pimephales promelas ) exhibiting hemorrhages in their eyes and skin. A cytopathic effect of multifocal syncytia was observed in the epithelioma papulosum cyprini cell line after a 48 h incubation at 20 °C. A similar cytopathic effect was also observed in other cell lines tested, but not in bluegill fry, koi fin, or Chinook salmon embryo cells. The filterable agent was inactivated by exposure to 50 °C for 10 min, 20% ether, 2 and 50% chloroform, pH 3, and pH 10, was unaffected by 5′-iodo-2 deoxyuridine, and appeared bacilliform and occasionally bullet-shaped by electron microscopy. These results are consistent with those of rhabdoviruses. Immunodot blots performed with antisera against selected fish rhabdoviruses, an aquareovirus, and a birnavirus were all negative. River’s postulates were fulfilled in fathead minnows, but the agent did not replicate or cause disease in other cyprinids or salmonids during challenge experiments. Hepatic, splenic, and renal lesions were observed during histological analysis of diseased fish from viral challenges and from the original case. Structural proteins resolved via SDS-PAGE had molecular weights similar to those reported in lyssaviruses of the family Rhabdoviridae ; however, syncytia formation is not a typical cytopathic effect of rhabdoviruses. This virus, has tentatively been named the fathead minnow rhabdovirus (FHMRV) and is most similar to the members of the family Rhabdoviridae , but atypical properties like syncytia formation may justify the assignment to a novel taxon.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2002
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