White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is currently the most important viral pathogen infecting penaeid shrimp worldwide. Although considerable progress has been made in characterizing the WSSV genome and developing detection methods, information pertaining to host genes involved in WSSV pathogenesis is limited. We examined the potential of cDNA microarray analysis to study gene expression in WSSV-infected shrimp. Shrimp cDNAs were printed as low-density arrays on glass slides and were hybridized with Cy3/Cy5 labeled probes derived from RNA isolated from healthy and WSSV-infected shrimp. Genes that code for proteins that are relevant to crustacean immunity, structural proteins, as well as proteins of unknown function were among those whose mRNA expression was altered upon WSSV infection. To validate the microarray data, the temporal expression of three differentially expressed genes, an immune gene (C-type lectin-1), a structural gene (40S ribosomal protein), and a gene involved in lipid metabolism (fatty acid binding protein) was measured in healthy and WSSV-infected shrimp by real-time RT-PCR. The data suggest that WSSV infection alters the expression of a wide array of cellular genes, and provides a framework for further studies aimed at identifying genes whose function may provide insight into the mechanism of WSSV infection in shrimp.
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