Characterization of an alloherpesvirus from wild lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens in Wisconsin (USA)

Logan Walker, Kuttichantran Subramaniam, Pedro H.O. Viadanna, Jordan A. Vann, Susan Marcquenski, Danielle Godard, Elizabeth Kieran, Salvatore Frasca, Vsevolod L. Popov, Karen Kerr, Andrew J. Davison, Thomas B. Waltzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the spring of 2017, 2 adult lake sturgeon (LS) Acipenser fulvescens captured from the Wolf River, Wisconsin (USA), presented with multiple cutaneous plaques that, upon microscopic examination, indicated proliferative epidermitis. Ultrastructural examination of affected keratinocytes revealed particles in the nucleus having a morphology typical of herpesviruses. A degenerate PCR assay targeting the DNA polymerase catalytic subunit (pol) gene of large double-stranded DNA viruses generated amplicons of the anticipated size from skin samples, and sequences of amplicons confirmed the presence of a novel alloherpesvirus (lake sturgeon herpesvirus, LSHV) related to acipenserid herpesvirus 1 (AciHV1). The complete genome (202 660 bp) of this virus was sequenced using a MiSeq System, and phylogenetic analyses substantiated the close relationship to AciHV1. A PCR assay targeting the LSHV DNA packaging terminase subunit 1 (ter1) gene demonstrated the presence of the virus in 39/42 skin lesion samples collected from wild LS captured in 2017−2019 and 2021 in 4/4 rivers in Wisconsin. Future efforts to isolate LSHV in cell culture would facilitate challenge studies to determine the disease potential of the virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-96
Number of pages14
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
StatePublished - Jun 2 2022


  • Acipenserid herpesvirus 1
  • Alloherpesviridae
  • Hyperplastic dermatitis
  • Lake sturgeon
  • Lake sturgeon herpesvirus
  • Phylogenetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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