Striped jack nervous necrosis virus (SJNNV), a nodavirus, is the causative agent of viral nervous necrosis (VNN) in larval striped jack fish. In the present study, the SJNNV coat protein gene was sequenced and compared with that of four known insect nodaviruses and with four other fish nodaviruses causing VNN. The SJNNV coat protein gene was 1410 bases in length and contained a single ORF of 1023 bases encoding a protein of 340 amino acids. The sequence similarities between the coat protein gene of SJNNV and four insect nodaviruses were 28.6% or less at the nucleotide level and 10.6% or less at the amino acid level. A portion of the coat protein gene from four additional fish VNN viruses was amplified by PCR using primers designed for SJNNV and the amplified fragments (870–876 bases) were sequenced. The sequence similarities among SJNNV and the four VNN viruses were 75.8% or greater at the nucleotide level and 80.9% or greater at the amino acid level. In the fish nodaviruses a highly conserved region of 134 amino acids with sequence similarity of 92.5% or greater was detected. This conserved sequence was not found in the coat protein of insect nodaviruses. These results indicate that the fish nodaviruses that cause VNN are closely related to each other but are quite different from insect nodaviruses.


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