A new continuous cell line (GF-1) was established and characterized. The GF-1 cell line, derived from the fin tissue of a grouper, Epinephelus coioides (Hamilton), was maintained in L15 medium containing 5% foetal bovine serum (FBS) at 28 °C, and has been subcultured more than 160 times since 1995. The majority of GF-1 cells are fibroblast-like, together with some epithelioid cells. Spontaneous transformation of GF-1 cells occurred during subculture 50 to subculture 80, and led to an increase of plating efficiency, less requirement of FBS and de novo susceptibility to grouper nervous necrosis virus (GNNV). Cytopathic effects (CPEs) could be observed in GF-1 cells 3-5 days postinfection with pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), hard clam reovirus (HCRV), eel herpes virus Formosa (EHVF) and GNNV. In addition, abundant GNNV particles were found in the cytoplasm of GNNV-infected GF-1 cells using electron microscopy and nucleic acids of GNNV virus were detected by polymerase chain reaction in the culture medium of GNNV-infected cells after CPE appeared. The experimental results indicated that GF-1 can effectively proliferate fish nodavirus and is a promising tool for studying fish nodavirus.