Background: Penaeus monodon nudivirus (PmNV) is the causative agent of spherical baculovirosis in shrimp (Penaeus monodon). This disease causes significant mortalities at the larval stage and early postlarval (PL) stage and may suppress growth and reduce survival and production in aquaculture. The nomenclature and classification status of PmNV has been changed several times due to morphological observation and phylogenetic analysis of its partial genome sequence. In this study, we therefore completed the genome sequence and constructed phylogenetic trees to clarify PmNV's taxonomic position. To better understand the characteristics of the occlusion bodies formed by this marine occluded virus, we also compared the chemical properties of the polyhedrin produced by PmNV and the baculovirus AcMNPV (Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus).Results: We used next generation sequencing and traditional PCR methods to obtain the complete PmNV genome sequence of 119,638 bp encoding 115 putative ORFs. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that several PmNV genes and sequences clustered with the non-occluded nudiviruses and not with the baculoviruses. We also investigated the characteristics of PmNV polyhedrin, which is a functionally important protein and the major component of the viral OBs (occlusion bodies). We found that both recombinant PmNV polyhedrin and wild-type PmNV OBs were sensitive to acid conditions, but unlike the baculoviral OBs, they were not susceptible to alkali treatment.Conclusions: From the viral genome features and phylogenetic analysis we conclude that PmNV is not a baculovirus, and that it should be assigned to the proposed Nudiviridae family with the other nudiviruses, but into a distinct new genus (Gammanudivirus).
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