Susceptibility of pearl oysters to OsHV-1

To support pearl aquaculture in the Pacific region we investigated whether black lip pearl oysters Pinctada margaritifera, were susceptible to infection with OsHV-1. P. margaritifera was not sensitive to OsHV-1 mvar and was not an effective host/carrier.

Tan TLS, Paul-Pont I, Evans OM, Watterson D, Young P, Whittington RJ, Fougerouse A, Bichet H, Barnes AC and Dang C (2015). Resistance of black-lip pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, to infection by Ostreid herpes virus 1 uvar under experimental challenge may be mediated by humoral immunity. Fish and Shellfish Immunology 44: 232-240.

Summary: Ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) has induced mass mortalities of the larvae and spat of Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas, in Europe and, more recently, in Oceania. The production of pearls from the Black-lip pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, represents the second largest source of income to the economies of French Polynesia and many Pacific Island nations that could be severely compromised in the event of a disease outbreak. Coincidentally with the occurrence of OsHV-1 in the southern hemisphere, C. gigas imported from New Zealand and France into French Polynesia tested positive for OsHV-1. Although interspecies viral transmission has been demonstrated, the transmissibility of OsHV-1 to P. margaritifera is unknown. We investigated the susceptibility of juvenile P. margaritifera to OsHV-1 mvar that were injected with tissue homogenates sourced from either naturally infected or healthy C. gigas. The infection challenge lasted 14 days post-injection (dpi) with sampling at 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 14 days. Mortality rate, viral prevalence, and cellular immune responses in experimental animals were determined. Tissues were screened by light microscopy and TEM. Pacific oysters were also challenged and used as a positive control to validate the efficiency of OsHV-1 mvar infection. Viral particles and features such as marginated chromatin and highly electron dense nuclei were observed in C. gigas but not in P. margaritifera. Mortality rates and hemocyte immune parameters, including phagocytosis and respiratory burst, were similar between challenged and control P. margaritifera. Herpesvirus-inhibiting activity was demonstrated in the acellular fraction of the hemolymph from P. margaritifera, suggesting that the humoral immunity is critical in the defence against herpesvirus in pearl oysters. Overall, these results suggest that under the conditions of the experimental challenge, P. margaritifera was not sensitive to OsHV-1 mvar and was not an effective host/carrier. The nature and spectrum of activity of the humoral antiviral activity is worthy of further investigation.

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