Establishment of a piscine myocarditis virus (PMCV) challenge model and testing of a plant-produced subunit vaccine candidate against cardiomyopathy syndrome (CMS) in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonAquaculture. 2021, 541 . 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2021.736806
Cardiomyopathy syndrome (CMS) is a severe cardiac disease occurring in the grow-out sea phase of farmed Atlantic salmon with approximately 100 outbreaks annually in Norway. Piscine myocarditis virus (PMCV) is believed to be the causative agent of CMS. There is no vaccine available to control CMS, partially because PMCV withstands propagation in known cell cultures. In the present study, we selected the putative capsid protein of PMCV as the candidate antigen for immunization experiments and produced it in the plant Nicotiana benthamiana by transient expression. The recombinant PMCV antigen formed virus-like particles (VLPs). To evaluate the efficacy of the plant made VLP vaccine, a PMCV infection model was established. In an experimental salmon vaccination trial, the VLP vaccine triggered innate immunity, and indicative but not significant inhibition of viral replication in heart, spleen and kidney tissues was observed. Similarly, a reduction of inflammatory lesions in cardiomyocytes and subendocardial infiltration by mononuclear leukocytes were observed. Therefore, there was no difference in efficacy or immune response observed post the plant made PMCV VLP antigen vaccination. Taken together, this study has demonstrated that plant made VLP antigens should be investigated further as a possible platform for the development of PMCV antigens for a CMS vaccine.