Fig.1 The WSSV particle. (Sánchez-Paz, 2010)
White spot syndrome virus (WSSV), also known as white spot baculovirus (WSBV), is one of the most dangerous pathogens affecting shrimp farming, with a high and rapid mortality rate. It causes a highly contagious disease that can result in total shrimp mortality in aquaculture within one week. White calcium spots embedded in the carapace are the most noticeable symptoms of the disease, but other symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, and dying prawns floating at the water's surface. The virus does not endanger food safety or human health.
WSS in penaeids was first reported in mainland China and Taiwan in 1992. However, the virus has spread rapidly in recent years to Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia. The virus has been found in fresh, brackish, and salt water. WSSV has a diverse host range that includes prawns, crabs, yabbies, and lobsters, and it is frequently found in wild decapod crustaceans.
WSSV is the sole member of the genus Whispovirus and the Nimaviridae family. WSSV virions are large and rod-shaped, with dimensions ranging from 80-120 250-380 nm. The function of each viral particle's long tail-like envelope extension at one extremist is unknown. The viral envelope is a lipidic, trilaminar membranous structure with a tight-fitting capsid layer, an intermediate tegument layer, and an outer lipid-containing trilaminar envelope with a thickness of 6-7 nm.
WSSV is a 300 kb circular double-stranded DNA virus with nine tandem repeat conserved regions and 180 putative open reading frames (ORFs) that encode functional proteins. It has one of the largest genomes among animal-infecting viruses. Proteomic analysis reveals that the virions contain more than 59 structural proteins, 10 of which are nucleocapsid proteins. The viral envelope is made up of at least 35 different proteins, the most abundant of which are VP28, VP26, VP24, and VP19.
Fig.2 Schematic of WSSV particle and genome. Left: (Chang, et al., 2010); Right: (Wang, et al., 2019)
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