In aquaculture, shrimp farming is a popular field. The benefits of shrimp farming include a relatively short grow-out time, high sale price, and good cost recovery. However, outbreaks of serious diseases inflict serious losses, and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) is an emerging challenge to this industry. In South American white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) and grass shrimp (Penaeus monodon), this disease has a 70–100% mortality. The pathogenic agent of AHPND is a specific strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus which contains PirAvp and PirBvp toxins encoded in the pVA1 plasmid. PirAvp and PirBvp have been shown to cause the typical histological symptoms of AHPND in infected shrimps, and in this review, we will focus on our structural understanding of these toxins. By analyzing their structures, a possible cytotoxic mechanism, as well as strategies for anti-AHPND drug design, is proposed.
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