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Detection of betanodavirus in juvenile barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch), by antigen capture ELISA

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Betanodavirus infection of fish has been responsible for mass mortalities in aquaculture hatcheries worldwide. Betanodaviruses possess a bipartite single-stranded RNA genome consisting of the 3.1 kb RNA1 encoding an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and the B2 protein, while the 1.4 kb RNA2 encodes the viral nucleocapsid protein, alpha. A panel of six monoclonal antibodies against the alpha protein of greasy grouper nervous necrosis virus (GGNNV) was developed for use in diagnostics. All antibodies reacted with native and recombinant alpha in immunoblot and indirect immunofluorescence assays. Each of the monoclonal antibodies reacted against discrete regions of the alpha protein, though none reacted with the extreme C-terminal region of the protein. One of the monoclonal antibodies, specific for the K151–T246 region of alpha, was used for the development of an antigen capture ELISA. In this assay we could detect 103–104 TCID50 units of virus derived from infected tissue culture supernatants. Head tissue extracts prepared from experimentally infected barramundi, Lates calcarifer, juveniles were assayed for GGNNV using the antigen capture assay and a clear increase in alpha antigen was detected from 5 to 15 days post-challenge. The assay thus represents a useful method for field-based detection of betanodavirus in fish hatcheries.
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Keywords: antigen capture; barramundi; betanodavirus; epitope mapping; monoclonal antibody; nervous necrosis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2006

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