Natural infection of covert mortality nodavirus affects Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Chong Wang, Shuang Liu, Kathy F.J. Tang, Qingli Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Covert mortality nodavirus (CMNV), a novel aquatic pathogen, causes viral covert mortality disease (VCMD) in shrimps and also known to infect farmed marine fish. To date, there has no report regarding the ability of this virus to infect freshwater fish. In this study, we screened and discovered CMNV-positive freshwater zebrafish individuals by reverse transcription-nested PCR (RT-nPCR). The sequence of CMNV amplicons from zebrafish was found to share 99% identity with RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene of the original CMNV isolate. Histopathological examination of the CMNV-positive zebrafish samples revealed extensive vacuolation and karyopyknosis lesions in the retina of the eye and the midbrain mesencephalon. CMNV-like virus particles were visualized in these tissues under transmission electron microscope. Different degrees of pathological damages were also found in muscle, gills, thymus and ovarian tissues. Strong positive signals of CMNV probe were observed in these infected tissues by in situ hybridization. Overall, all results indicated that zebrafish, an acknowledged model organism, could be infected naturally by CMNV. Thus, it is needed to pay close attention to the possible interference of CMNV whether in assessment of toxic substances, or in studying the developmental characterization and the nerval function, when zebrafish was used as model animal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1315-1324
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • covert mortality nodavirus (CMNV)
  • model organism
  • natural infection
  • zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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