1887

Abstract

, type species of the genus in the family , is a large, double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) virus that infects crustaceans. The genome of the completely sequenced isolate WSSV-TH encodes 184 putative open reading frames (ORFs), the functions of which are largely unknown. To study the transcription of these ORFs, a DNA microarray was constructed, containing probes corresponding to nearly all putative WSSV-TH ORFs. Transcripts of 79 % of these ORFs could be detected in the gills of WSSV-infected shrimp (). Clustering of the transcription profiles of the individual genes during infection showed two major classes of genes: the first class reached maximal expression at 20 h post-infection (p.i.) (putative early) and the other class at 2 days p.i. (putative late). Nearly all major and minor structural virion-protein genes clustered in the latter group. These data provide evidence that, similar to other large, dsDNA viruses, the WSSV genes at large are expressed in a coordinated and cascaded fashion. Furthermore, the transcriptomes of the WSSV isolates WSSV-TH and TH-96-II, which have differential virulence, were compared at 2 days p.i. The TH-96-II genome encodes 10 ORFs that are not present in WSSV-TH, of which at least seven were expressed in as well as in crayfish (), suggesting a functional but not essential role for these genes during infection. Expression levels of most other ORFs shared by both isolates were similar. Evaluation of transcription profiles by using a genome-wide approach provides a better understanding of WSSV transcription regulation and a new tool to study WSSV gene function.

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2005-07-01
2020-01-22
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