Viral nervous necrosis caused by nervous necrosis virus (NNV) is one of the most severe diseases resulting in high fish mortality rates and high economic losses in the giant grouper industry. Various NNV vaccines have been evaluated, such as inactivated viruses, virus-like particles (VLPs), recombinant coat proteins, synthetic peptides of coat proteins, and DNA vaccines. However, a cheaper manufacturing process and effective protection of NNV vaccines for commercial application are yet to be established. Hence, the present study developed a novel subunit vaccine composed of a carrier protein, receptor-binding domain of Pseudomonas exotoxin A, and tandem-repeated NNV coat protein epitopes by using the structural basis of epitope prediction and the linear array epitope (LAE) technique. On the basis of the crystal structure of the NNV coat protein, the epitope was predicted from the putative target cell receptor-binding region to elicit neutralizing immune responses. The safety of the LAE vaccine was evaluated, and all vaccinated fish survived without any physiological changes. The coat protein-specific antibody titers in the vaccinated fish increased after vaccine administration and exerted NNV-neutralizing effects. The efficacy tests revealed that the relative percent survival (RPS) of LAE antigen formulated with adjuvant was above 72% and LAE vaccine was effective for preventing NNV infection in giant grouper. This study is the first to develop an NNV vaccine by using epitope repeats, which provided effective protection to giant grouper against virus infection. The LAE construct can be used as a vaccine design platform against various pathogenic diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Aquatic Science