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Genome architecture changes and major gene variations of Andrias davidianus ranavirus (ADRV)

Chen, Zhongyuan, Gui, Jianfang, Gao, Xiaochan, Pei, Chao, Hong, Yijiang, Zhang, Qiya
Veterinary research 2013 v.44 no.1 pp. 305
Ranavirus, cytopathogenicity, endangered species, fish, frogs, major genes, mortality, nuclear localization signals, pathogens, phylogeny, physiological transport, salamanders and newts, translation (genetics), virulence, China
Ranaviruses are emerging pathogens that have led to global impact and public concern. As a rarely endangered species and the largest amphibian in the world, the Chinese giant salamander, Andrias davidianus, has recently undergone outbreaks of epidemic diseases with high mortality. In this study, we isolated and identified a novel ranavirus from the Chinese giant salamanders that exhibited systemic hemorrhage and swelling syndrome with high death rate in China during May 2011 to August 2012. The isolate, designated Andrias davidianus ranavirus (ADRV), not only could induce cytopathic effects in different fish cell lines and yield high viral titers, but also caused severely hemorrhagic lesions and resulted in 100% mortality in experimental infections of salamanders. The complete genome of ADRV was sequenced and compared with other sequenced amphibian ranaviruses. Gene content and phylogenetic analyses revealed that ADRV should belong to an amphibian subgroup in genus Ranavirus, and is more closely related to frog ranaviruses than to other salamander ranaviruses. Homologous gene comparisons show that ADRV contains 99%, 97%, 94%, 93% and 85% homologues in RGV, FV3, CMTV, TFV and ATV genomes respectively. In addition, several variable major genes, such as duplicate US22 family-like genes, viral eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha gene and novel 75L gene with both motifs of nuclear localization signal (NLS) and nuclear export signal (NES), were predicted to contribute to pathogen virulence and host susceptibility. These findings confirm the etiologic role of ADRV in epidemic diseases of Chinese giant salamanders, and broaden our understanding of evolutionary emergence of ranaviruses.