Evaluating the pathogenicity and replication of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola

Science Center Objects

Evaluating the pathogenicity and replication of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola

The fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola, is a small benthic fish that exclusively inhabits the headwaters of two rivers in the United States (the San Marcos and Comal rivers). This fish is currently on the endangered species list and active restoration programs support the survival of this species. Since 2003, an uncharacterized virus has periodically been isolated in fountain darters collected from the San Marcos River (SMR), but not the Comal River. Upon initial isolation of this virus, it was strongly recommended that the SMR darters not be moved to the Uvalde National Fish Hatchery, a USFWS certified hatchery. Subsequently, a decision was made that until more was known about the virus, darters collected from the SMR would only be held in a refugium at the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center (SMARC). It is imperative to determine the identity and pathogenicity of this virus to inform management decisions regarding hatchery biosecurity, the fountain darter genetic management plan, and fountain dater restoration plan.  

Objectives:

The objectives of this work address critical, salient issues regarding management of fountain darter populations in captivity and in the wild.

  1. Identify this unknown virus using high throughput sequencing methods.
  2. Develop diagnostic markers to facilitate the specific detection of this virus to assist routine pathogen screening and quantitative approaches to determine viral loads.
  3. Determine if this novel virus is a pathogen under normal husbandry or stressful (elevated temperature) conditions.

References:

Iwanowicz, L.R., D.D. Iwanowicz, C.R. Adams, T.D. Lewis, T.M. Brandt, R.S. Cornman, L. Sanders. 2016. Complete genome sequence of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola. Genome Announcements. 4: e01405-16. [REF]

Iwanowicz, LR, D.D. Iwanowicz, C.R. Adams, T.D. Lewis, T.M. Brandt L.R. Sanders and R.S. Cornman. 2018. Isolation, characterization and molecular identification of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter Etheostoma fonticola. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 13: 95-108. [REF]

 

In vitro virus culture

Propagation of the fountain darter aquareovirus in the CHSE-214 cell line. 

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS Leetown Science Center. Public domain.)