Epithelial Cadherin Determines Resistance to Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus in Atlantic Salmon.

PMID 26041276


Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) is the cause of one of the most prevalent diseases in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). A quantitative trait locus (QTL) has been found to be responsible for most of the genetic variation in resistance to the virus. Here we describe how a linkage disequilibrium-based test for deducing the QTL allele was developed, and how it was used to produce IPN-resistant salmon, leading to a 75% decrease in the number of IPN outbreaks in the salmon farming industry. Furthermore, we describe how whole-genome sequencing of individuals with deduced QTL genotypes was used to map the QTL down to a region containing an epithelial cadherin (cdh1) gene. In a coimmunoprecipitation assay, the Cdh1 protein was found to bind to IPNV virions, strongly indicating that the protein is part of the machinery used by the virus for internalization. Immunofluorescence revealed that the virus colocalizes with IPNV in the endosomes of homozygous susceptible individuals but not in the endosomes of homozygous resistant individuals. A putative causal single nucleotide polymorphism was found within the full-length cdh1 gene, in phase with the QTL in all observed haplotypes except one; the absence of a single, all-explaining DNA polymorphism indicates that an additional causative polymorphism may contribute to the observed QTL genotype patterns. Cdh1 has earlier been shown to be necessary for the internalization of certain bacteria and fungi, but this is the first time the protein is implicated in internalization of a virus.