Steps of the Replication Cycle of the Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia Virus (VHSV) Affecting Its Virulence on Fish

Carmen López-Vázquez, Isabel Bandín, Valentina Panzarin, Anna Toffan, Argelia Cuenca, Niels Jørgen Olesen, Carlos P. Dopazo*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV), a single-stranded negative-sense RNA novirhabdovirus affecting a wide range of marine and freshwater fish species, is a main concern for European rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) fish farmers. Its genome is constituted by six genes, codifying five structural and one nonstructural proteins. Many studies have been carried out to determine the participation of each gene in the VHSV virulence, most of them based on genome sequence analysis and/or reverse genetics to construct specific mutants and to evaluate their virulence phenotype. In the present study, we have used a different approach with a similar aim: hypothesizing that a failure in any step of the replication cycle can reduce the virulence in vivo, we studied in depth the in vitro replication of VHSV in different cell lines, using sets of strains from different origins, with high, low and moderate levels of virulence for fish. The results demonstrated that several steps in the viral replication cycle could affect VHSV virulence in fish, including adsorption, RNA synthesis and morphogenesis (including viral release). Notably, differences among strains in any step of the replication cycle were mostly strain-specific and reflected only in part the in vivo phenotype (high and low virulent). Our data, therefore, support the need for further studies aimed to construct completely avirulent VHSV recombinants targeting a combination of genes rather than a single one in order to study the mechanisms of genes interplay and their effect on viral phenotype in vitro and in vivo.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2264
Issue number12
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Novirhabdovirus
  • Viral cycle
  • Viral production
  • RNA synthesis
  • Trout


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