A nodavirus was isolated from diseased yellow grouper, Epinephelus awoara, larvae cultured in southern Taiwan. The histopathology and RT-PCR results confirmed that it was a fish nodavirus; its coat protein gene sequence was similar to that of red spotted grouper nervous necrosis virus (RGNNV) and it is named yellow grouper nervous necrosis virus (YGNNV). A new nodavirus-susceptible cell line, grouper brain (GB) was established and characterized from the brain tissue of yellow grouper. The GB cells multiplied well in Leibovitz's L-15 medium supplemented with 10% foetal bovine serum at temperatures between 24 and 32 °C, and have been subcultured more than 80 times, becoming a continuous cell line. The GB cell line consists of fibroblast-like cells and some epithelioid cells. The cell line yielded titres of YGNNV up to 108.5 TCID50 mL-1. The GB cells effectively replicated the virus at 28 °C, which could be purified to homogeneity by caesium chloride gradient centrifugation. Electron microscopy studies showed that purified virus particles were 25-30 nm in diameter. The cytoplasm of infected cells was filled with aggregates of virus particles. These results indicate that the GB cell line is a significant tool for the study of fish nodaviruses.
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