Protection of Penaeus monodon against white spot syndrome virus using a WSSV subunit vaccine

Jeroen Witteveldt, Just M Vlak, Mariëlle C W van Hulten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although invertebrates lack a true adaptive immune response, the potential to vaccinate Penaeus monodon shrimp against white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) using the WSSV envelope proteins VP19 and VP28 was evaluated. Both structural WSSV proteins were N-terminally fused to the maltose binding protein (MBP) and purified after expression in bacteria. Shrimp were vaccinated by intramuscular injection of the purified WSSV proteins and challenged 2 and 25 days after vaccination to assess the onset and duration of protection. As controls, purified MBP- and mock-vaccinated shrimp were included. VP19-vaccinated shrimp showed a significantly better survival (p<0.05) as compared to the MBP-vaccinated control shrimp with a relative percent survival (RPS) of 33% and 57% at 2 and 25 days after vaccination, respectively. Also, the groups vaccinated with VP28 and a mixture of VP19 and VP28 showed a significantly better survival when challenged two days after vaccination (RPS of 44% and 33%, respectively), but not after 25 days. These results show that protection can be generated in shrimp against WSSV using its structural proteins as a subunit vaccine. This suggests that the shrimp immune system is able to specifically recognize and react to proteins. This study further shows that vaccination of shrimp may be possible despite the absence of a true adaptive immune system, opening the way to new strategies to control viral diseases in shrimp and other crustaceans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-9
Number of pages9
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carrier Proteins/metabolism
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Viruses/immunology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Electroporation
  • Escherichia coli
  • Maltose-Binding Proteins
  • Penaeidae/immunology
  • Penaeidae/virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Recombinant Proteins/genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins/metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Viral Envelope Proteins/immunology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism
  • Viral Vaccines/genetics
  • Viral Vaccines/immunology


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