High temperature (32 to 33°C) has been shown to reduce mortality in white spot syndrome virus (WSSV)-infected shrimps, but the mechanism still remains unclear. Here we show that in WSSV-infected shrimps cultured at 32°C, transcriptional levels of representative immediate-early, early, and late genes were initially higher than those at 25°C. However, neither the IE1 nor VP28 protein was detected at 32°C, suggesting that high temperature might inhibit WSSV protein synthesis. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis analysis revealed two proteins, NAD-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) and the proteasome alpha 4 subunit (proteasome α4), that were markedly upregulated in WSSV-infected shrimps at 32°C. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) analysis of members of the heat shock protein family also showed that hsp70 was upregulated at 32°C. When aldh, proteasome α4, and hsp70 were knocked down by double-stranded RNA interference and shrimps were challenged with WSSV, the aldh and hsp70 knockdown shrimps became severely infected at 32°C, while the proteasome α4 knockdown shrimps remained uninfected. Our results therefore suggest that ALDH and Hsp70 both play an important role in the inhibition of WSSV replication at high temperature.
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