Asian seabass is an important food fish in Southeast Asia. Viral nervous necrosis (VNN) disease, triggered by nervous necrosis virus (NNV) infection, has caused mass mortality of Asian seabass larvae, resulting in enormous economic losses in the Asian seabass industry. In order to better understand the complex molecular interaction between Asian seabass and NNV, we investigated the transcriptome profiles of Asian seabass epithelial cells, which play an essential role in immune regulation, after NNV infection. Using the next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, we sequenced mRNA from eight samples (6, 12, 24, 48 h post-inoculation) of mock and NNV-infected Asian seabass epithelial cell line, respectively. Clean reads were de novo assembled into a transcriptome consisting of 89026 transcripts with a N50 of 2617 bp. Furthermore, 251 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to NNV infection were identified. Top DEGs include protein asteroid homolog 1-like (ASTE1), receptor-transporting protein 3 (RTP3), heat shock proteins 30 (HSP30) and 70 (HSP70), Viperin, interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and other genes related to innate immunity. Our data suggest that abundant and diverse genes corresponding to NNV infection. The results of this study could also offer vital information not only for identification of novel genes involved in Asian seabass-NNV interaction, but also for our understanding of the molecular mechanism of Asian seabass' response to viral infection. In addition, 24807 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were detected in the assembled transcriptome, providing valuable resources for studying genetic variations and accelerating quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping for disease resistance in Asian seabass in the future.