Gill-associated virus (GAV) and Mourilyan virus (MoV) can occur at very high prevalence in healthy black tiger shrimp () in eastern Australia, and both have been detected in moribund shrimp collected from mid-crop mortality syndrome (MCMS) outbreaks. Experimental evidence presented here indicates that GAV, but not MoV, is the cause of MCMS. Firstly, in healthy used for experimental infections, pre-existing MoV genetic loads were very high (mean >10 viral RNA copies μg total RNA) and did not increase significantly following lethal challenge with an inoculum containing both GAV and MoV. In contrast, GAV genetic loads prior to challenge were low (mean ∼10 RNA copies μg total RNA) and increased >10-fold in moribund shrimp. Secondly, dsRNAs targeted to the GAV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) or helicase gene regions reduced GAV genetic loads, delayed the onset of mortalities and improved survival following challenge. In contrast, dsRNA targeted to the MoV RdRp gene (L RNA) was highly effective in reducing MoV genetic loads, but mortality rates were unaffected. Targeting of the MoV S2 RNA, encoding a small non-structural protein (NSs2), a putative supressor of RNA interference, did not reduce the MoV genetic loads or enhance knockdown of GAV when administered simultaneously with dsRNA targeted to the GAV helicase gene. Overall, the data show that can tolerate a high-level MoV infection and that mortalities are associated with GAV infection.


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vol. , part 4, pp. 893 - 901

PCR primers for amplification of templates for dsRNA synthesis [PDF](35 KB)

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