Chinese Acad Sci, State Key Lab Freshwater Ecol & Biotechnol, Inst Hydrobiol, Wuhan 430072, Peoples R China; Univ Mississippi, Med Ctr, Dept Microbiol, Jackson, MS 39216 USA
Three virus isolates, RGV-9506, RGV-9807 and RGV-9808, were obtained from cultured pig frogs Rana grylio undergoing lethal infections. Previously, the first isolate, RGV-9506, was shown to be an iridovirus based on ultrastructural and morphological studies. In the present study, the original isolate, along with 2 recent ones, were more extensively characterized by experimental infection studies, histopathology, electron microscopy, serological reactivity, gel electrophoresis of viral polypeptides and DNA restriction fragments, PCR amplification, and nucleic acid sequence analysis of the major capsid protein (MCP) gene. The 3 isolates were shown to be identical to each other, and very similar to FV3, the type species of the genus Ranavirus (family Iridoviridae). These results suggest that RGV should be considered a strain of FV3, and indicate that FV3-like iridoviruses are capable of causing widespread, severe disease among cultured frogs.