Viperin is an anti-viral protein, induced by viral infection. In this study, we examined whether over-expression of viperin in fish muscle could inhibit bacterial growth. We first obtained the cDNA sequence of tilapia viperin, through RT-PCR-mediated cloning and sequencing. The cDNA sequence was similar to those of several fish viperins in GenBank, and it was predicted to encode the conserved domain of radical S-adenosylmethionine superfamily proteins. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that tilapia viperin was most closely related to viperin of Sciaenops ocellatus, Coreoperca kawamebari, and C. whiteheadi. Expression of tilapia viperin was significantly up-regulated in the kidney, liver, spleen, and gills upon challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and poly(I:C) in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Injection of Vibrio vulnificus (204) and Streptococcus agalactiae (SA47) bacteria into tilapia resulted in significant induction of viperin expression in the whole body, kidney, liver, and spleen. Electrotransfer of a viperin-expressing plasmid into zebrafish muscles decreased bacterial numbers and altered expression of immune-related genes. These data indicate that such altered expression may account for the improvement in bacterial clearance following electroporation of viperin, suggesting that fish viperin has antiviral and antibacterial activities.