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Isolation, characterization and molecular identification of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola

September 10, 2018

The fountain darter Etheostoma fonticola (FOD) is a federally endangered fish listed under the US Endangered Species Act. Here, we identified and characterized a novel aquareovirus isolated from wild fountain darters inhabiting the San Marcos River. This virus was propagated in Chinook salmon embryo (CHSE)-214, rainbow trout gonad-2 and fathead minnow cells at 15°C. The epithelioma papulosum cyprini cell line was refractory at all temperatures evaluated. High throughput sequencing technologies facilitated the complete genome sequencing of this virus utilizing ribosomal RNA-depleted RNA extracted from infected CHSE-214 cells. Conventional PCR primer sets were developed for the detection and confirmation of this virus to assist diagnostic screening methods. Phylogenetic analysis suggests this virus belongs to the Aquareovirus A genus. This research provides requisite initial data critical to support hatchery and refugia biosecurity measures for this endangered species.