In most breeding schemes, fish are cultured in enclosed spaces, which greatly increases the risk of outbreaks where the onset of infectious diseases can cause massive mortality and enormous economic losses. Vaccination is the most effective and long-term measure for improving the basic make-up of a fish farm. As the relationship between antibody and antigen is similar to that between screw and nut, similarity in the shape or nature of the vaccine antigen to the original pathogen is important for achieving a satisfactory/good/excellent antibody response with a vaccine. Virus-like particles (VLPs) best fulfil this requirement as their tertiary structure mimics that of the native virus. For this reason, VLPs have been attracting attention as next-generation vaccines for humans and animals, and the effects of various types of VLP vaccines on humans and livestock have been examined. Recent studies of VLP-based fish vaccines indicate that these vaccines are promising, and raise hopes of extending their use in the near future. In this review, the structural properties and immunogenicity of VLP-based vaccines against fish viruses such as infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), salmonid alphavirus (SAV), nervous necrosis virus (NNV) and iridovirus are introduced/summarized. The NNV VLP vaccine is the most-studied VLP-based vaccine against fish viruses. Therefore, the current status of NNV VLP research is highlighted in this review, which deals with the advantages of using VLPs as vaccines, and the expression systems for producing them. Moreover, the need for lyophilized VLPs and oral VLP delivery is discussed. Finally, future directions for the development of VLP vaccines in the fish vaccine field are considered.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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