Strand-specific, real-time RT-PCR assays for quantification of genomic and positive-sense RNAs of the fish rhabdovirus, Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus
The fish rhabdovirus, Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), is an important pathogen of salmonids. Cell culture assays have traditionally been used to quantify levels of IHNV in samples; however, real-time or quantitative RT-PCR assays have been proposed as a rapid alternative. For viruses having a single-stranded, negative-sense RNA genome, standard qRT-PCR assays do not distinguish between the negative-sense genome and positive-sense RNA species including mRNA and anti-genome. Thus, these methods do not determine viral genome copy number. This study reports development of strand-specific, qRT-PCR assays that use tagged primers for enhancing strand specificity during cDNA synthesis and quantitative PCR. Protocols were developed for positive-strand specific (pss-qRT-PCR) and negative-strand specific (nss-qRT-PCR) assays for IHNV glycoprotein (G) gene sequences. Validation with synthetic RNA transcripts demonstrated the assays could discriminate the correct strand with greater than 1000-fold fidelity. The number of genome copies in livers of IHNV-infected fish determined by nss-qRT-PCR was, on average, 8000-fold greater than the number of infectious units as determined by plaque assay. We also compared the number of genome copies with the quantity of positive-sense RNA and determined that the ratio of positive-sense molecules to negative-sense genome copies was, on average, 2.7:1. Potential future applications of these IHNV strand-specific qRT-PCR assays are discussed.
|Strand-specific, real-time RT-PCR assays for quantification of genomic and positive-sense RNAs of the fish rhabdovirus, Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus
|Maureen K. Purcell, S. Alexandra Hart, Gael Kurath, James R. Winton
|Journal of Virological Methods
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Western Fisheries Research Center