Infectious hypodermal and haematopoietic necrosis (IHHN) is one of the most important viral diseases of cultured penaeid shrimps and is potentially a limiting factor in the development of farming projects for some species of these shrimps. Although the IHHN agent was recognized early as being viral in origin, attempts to characterize it were inconclusive because of difficulties in obtaining sufficient amounts of purified virions to permit its characterization. Recent improvements of purification procedures have allowed the physicochemical characterization of this virus. Purified IHHNV is a non-enveloped icosahedral particle averaging 22 nm in diameter, exhibiting a mean buoyant density of 1.40 g/ml in CsCl. The genome is a single molecule of ssDNA with an estimated size of 4.1 kb by molecule length measurement in transmission electron microscopy. As determined by SDS-PAGE, the particle contains four polypeptides with M(r)s of 74K, 47K, 39K and 37.5K, respectively. From its characteristics, this virus could be a member of the Parvoviridae family.
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