Here, we investigate the roles of copepods and bivalve mollusks in the transmission of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV), which is the causative pathogen of an acute, contagious disease that causes severe mortalities in cultured shrimp. Copepods are common components in seawater ponds and are often eaten as live food by shrimp post-larvae. WSSV has been detected in these animals, but it is unknown whether this was due to contamination or infection. Meanwhile, the bivalve mollusk Meretrix lusoria is often used as live food for brooders, and in Taiwan, this hard clam is sometimes co-cultured with shrimp in farming ponds. However, mollusks' ability to accumulate, or allow the replication of, shrimp viruses has not previously been studied. In this study, WSSV, the copepod Apocyclops royi and bivalve mollusk M. lusoria were experimentally challenged with WSSV and then assayed for both the presence of the virus and for viral gene expression. Results showed that the WSSV genome could be detected and that the viral loads were increased in a time-dependent manner after challenge both in A. royi and M. lusoria. Reverse transcriptase PCR monitoring of WSSV gene expression showed that WSSV could replicate in A. royi but not in M. lusoria, which suggested that WSSV, while could infect A. royi, was only accumulated in M. lusoria. A bioassay further showed that the WSSV accumulated in M. lusoria could be transmitted to Litopenaeus vannamei and cause severe infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science