Characterization of a novel alloherpesvirus from Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)

Mar Marcos-Lopez, Thomas B. Waltzek, Ronald Hedrick, Dolores Baxa, Amber F. Garber, Rebecca Liston, Eric Johnsen, Benjamin S. Forward, Steven Backman, Hugh W. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Alloherpesviruses affect freshwater and marine fish species. The aim of the current study was to characterize a novel alloherpesvirus in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Samples were processed for histopathology, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), virus isolation, molecular characterization, and in situ hybridization (ISH). Histopathology revealed that the infection was restricted to the gills and that it induced cytomegaly in infected cells. By TEM, numerous viral particles with morphology compatible with a herpesvirus were observed inside the cytomegalic cells. To characterize this new agent, polymerase chain reaction amplified regions of the ATPase subunit of the terminase, and DNA polymerase genes were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis revealed strongest similarity with alloherpesviruses belonging to the genus Ictalurivirus and Salmonivirus. The ISH showed specific labeling of nuclear inclusions in the cytomegalic cells. While virus isolation was unsuccessful, the results obtained through different diagnostic tests in the present study confirm the discovery of a new alloherpesvirus affecting Atlantic cod. The authors propose the formal species designation Gadid herpesvirus 1 (GaHV-1) to be considered for approval by the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Alloherpesvirus
  • Atlantic cod
  • in situ hybridization
  • polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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