Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Douglas W. Leaman, Ph.D. (Advisor); Shulin Ju, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Abimbola O. Kolawole, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is a deadly fish pathogen that poses a global threat to aquatic ecosystems and the aquaculture industry. For decades, research has focused on developing vaccine therapeutics utilizing a variety of techniques and strategies. While these studies have met with some success in identifying potential vaccine targets that provided protective immunity, a commercially viable IHNV vaccine is currently unavailable. Here we explore the relationship between the structure and function of the IHNV matrix (M) protein through the introduction of mutations that reduce anti-host effects, with the goal of developing a novel recombinant IHNV with reduced pathogenicity that provides protective immunity. Our data suggest that the N- and C-termini of IHNV M contribute to its antitranscriptional effects and protein stability and are therefore functionally important. IHNV M mutants that exhibited reduced anti-host effects, but retained wild type protein expression levels, are prime candidates for additional study and incorporation into a novel recombinant IHNV system established in these studies. Overall, our studies highlight the feasibility of developing novel IHNV antiviral candidates through a mutational strategy that will yield additional information about viral protein function.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biological Sciences

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Biology Commons