, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 19-39

Investigations on the ORF 167L of Lymphocystis Disease Virus (Iridoviridae)

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Abstract

The predicted open reading frame 167L (ORF 167L) of lymphocystis disease virus (LCDV, Iridoviridae) isolated from plaice, dab and flounder was investigated. The ORF 167L corresponding genes of the three LCDV isolates were amplified, cloned and sequenced. A comparison of the LCDV strains showed that the nucleotide sequence of ORF 167L and its deduced amino acid sequence were highly conserved in the genus lymphocystivirus (a homology of 80% in dab and flounder/plaice, 97% in plaice and flounder). The N-terminus protein predicted from the ORF 167L suggests similarities to the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-family, and to TNFR-like proteins, which play an important role in various poxvirus species. Further, homology to the CUB-domain was shown at the C-terminus of the LCDV protein. Phylogenetic analyses of partial LCDV protein sequences identified two clusters: one cluster containing the flounder and plaice LCDV isolate (LCDV-1), and another cluster, containing the dab LCDV isolate (LCDV-2). The ORF 167L of plaice LCDV was expressed in Escherichia coli, and in fish cells. The expressed ORF resulted in a 30-kDa cytoplasmic protein lacking a signal peptide. An established monoclonal antibody (mAb 18) was used to detect LCDV proteins in skin explants of flounders and cryosections of dab skin. Specific fluorescence was found in the cytoplasm of intact epitheloid cells of the lymphocystis capsule and in the epidermis skin covering the lymphocystic nodules. LCDV-specific labelling of mAb 18 was also shown in spleen and liver tissue of LCDV-positive flounders. The ORF 167L protein seemed not to have the extracellular receptor function predicted from the usual cellular TNFR. The myxomavirus M-T2 protein, a poxviral TNFR homologue, was also shown not to have TNFR-like functions but to be involved in the apoptosis signal cascade.