Phylogenomic characterization of two novel members of the genus Megalocytivirus from archived ornamental fish samples

Samantha A. Koda, Kuttichantran Subramaniam, Ruth Francis-Floyd, Roy P. Yanong, Salvatore Frasca, Joseph M. Groff, Vsevolod L. Popov, William A. Fraser, Annie Yan, Shipra Mohan, Thomas B. Waltzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The genus Megalocytivirus is the most recently described member of the family Irido - viridae; as such, little is known about the genetic diversity of this genus of globally emerging viral fish pathogens. We sequenced the genomes of 2 megalocytiviruses (MCVs) isolated from epizootics involving South American cichlids (oscar Astronotus ocellatus and keyhole cichlid Cleithracara maronii) and three spot gourami Trichopodus trichopterus sourced through the ornamental fish trade during the early 1990s. Phylogenomic analyses revealed the South American cichlid iridovirus (SACIV) and three spot gourami iridovirus (TSGIV) possess 116 open reading frames each, and form a novel clade within the turbot reddish body iridovirus genotype (TRBIV Clade 2). Both genomes displayed a unique truncated paralog of the major capsid protein gene located immediately up stream of the full-length parent gene. Histopathological examination of archived oscar tissue sections that were PCR-positive for SACIV revealed numerous cytomegalic cells characterized by basophilic intracytoplasmic inclusions within various organs, particularly the anterior kidney, spleen, intestinal lamina propria and submucosa. TSGIV-infected grunt fin (GF) cells grown in vitro displayed cytopathic effects (e.g. cytomegaly, rounding, and refractility) as early as 96 h post-infection. Ultrastructural examination of infected GF cells revealed unenveloped viral particles possessing hexagonal nucleocapsids (120 to 144 nm in diameter) and electron-dense cores within the cytoplasm, consistent with the ultrastructural morphology of a MCV. Sequencing of SACIV and TSGIV provides the first complete TRBIV Clade 2 genome sequences and expands the known host and geographic range of the TRBIV genotype to include freshwater ornamental fishes traded in North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 28 2018


  • Genome
  • Infectious spleen and kidney necrosis virus
  • Iridoviridae
  • Keyhole cichlid
  • Megalocytivirus
  • Oscar
  • Phylogenomics
  • Red seabream iridovirus
  • Three spot gourami
  • Turbot reddish body iridovirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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