Infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV) is an aquatic orthomyxovirus and the causative agent of infectious salmon anemia (ISA), a disease of great importance in the Atlantic salmon farming industry. In vitro, ISAV infection causes cytophatic effect (CPE) in cell lines from Atlantic salmon, leading to rounding and finally detachment of the cells from the substratum. In this study, we investigated the mode of cell death during in vitro ISAV infection in different Atlantic salmon cell lines, using four ISAV strains causing different mortality in vivo.
The results show that caspase 3/7 activity increased during the course of infection in ASK and SHK-1 cells, infected cells showed increased surface expression of phosphatidylserine and increased PI uptake, compared to mock infected cells; and morphological alterations of the mitochondria were observed. Expression analysis of immune relevant genes revealed no correlation between in vivo mortality and expression, but good correlation in expression of interferon genes.
Results from this study indicate that there is both strain and cell type dependent differences in the virus-host interaction during ISAV infection. This is important to bear in mind when extrapolating in vitro findings to the in vivo situation.