Virion transmembrane proteins (VTPs) mediate key functions in the herpesvirus infectious cycle. Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) is the archetype of fish alloherpesviruses. The present study was devoted to CyHV-3 VTPs. Using mass spectrometry approaches, we identified 16 VTPs of the CyHV-3 FL strain. Mutagenesis experiments demonstrated that eight of these proteins are essential for viral growth in vitro (open reading frame 32 [ORF32], ORF59, ORF81, ORF83, ORF99, ORF106, ORF115, and ORF131), and eight are nonessential (ORF25, ORF64, ORF65, ORF108, ORF132, ORF136, ORF148, and ORF149). Among the nonessential proteins, deletion of ORF25, ORF132, ORF136, ORF148, or ORF149 affects viral replication in vitro, and deletion of ORF25, ORF64, ORF108, ORF132, or ORF149 impacts plaque size. Lack of ORF148 or ORF25 causes attenuation in vivo to a minor or major extent, respectively. The safety and efficacy of a virus lacking ORF25 were compared to those of a previously described vaccine candidate deleted for ORF56 and ORF57 (Δ56-57). Using quantitative PCR, we demonstrated that the ORF25 deleted virus infects fish through skin infection and then spreads to internal organs as reported previously for the wild-type parental virus and the Δ56-57 virus. However, compared to the parental wild-type virus, the replication of the ORF25-deleted virus was reduced in intensity and duration to levels similar to those observed for the Δ56-57 virus. Vaccination of fish with a virus lacking ORF25 was safe but had low efficacy at the doses tested. This characterization of the virion transmembrane proteome of CyHV-3 provides a firm basis for further research on alloherpesvirus VTPs.IMPORTANCE Virion transmembrane proteins play key roles in the biology of herpesviruses. Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) is the archetype of fish alloherpesviruses and the causative agent of major economic losses in common and koi carp worldwide. In this study of the virion transmembrane proteome of CyHV-3, the major findings were: (i) the FL strain encodes 16 virion transmembrane proteins; (ii) eight of these proteins are essential for viral growth in vitro; (iii) seven of the nonessential proteins affect viral growth in vitro, and two affect virulence in vivo; and (iv) a mutant lacking ORF25 is highly attenuated but induces moderate immune protection. This study represents a major breakthrough in understanding the biology of CyHV-3 and will contribute to the development of prophylactic methods. It also provides a firm basis for the further research on alloherpesvirus virion transmembrane proteins.
Keywords: alloherpesvirus; cyprinid herpesvirus 3; herpesvirus; proteome.
Copyright © 2017 Vancsok et al.