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Virus Res. 2004 Mar 15;100(2):179-89.

Characterization and phylogenetic analysis of the chitinase gene from the Helicoverpa armigera single nucleocapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus.

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  • 1Joint-Laboratory of Invertebrate Virology and Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, PR China.


A putative chitinase gene was identified within the fragment EcoRI-K of the Helicoverpa armigera single-nucleocapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV, also called HaSNPV) genome. The open reading frame (ORF) contains 1713 nucleotides (nt) and encodes a protein of 570 amino acids (aa) with a predicted molecular weight of 63.6 kDa. Transcription started at about 18 h post infection (p.i.) and the protein was first detected at 20 h p.i. The times of transcription and expression are characteristic of a late baculovirus gene. 5' and 3' RACE indicated that transcription was initiated from the adenine residue located at -246 nt upstream from the ATG start site and the poly (A) tail was added at 267 nt downstream from the stop codon. This is the first report on the molecular characterization of a chitinase from a single nucleocapsid NPV. The phylogeny of baculoviral chitinase genes were extensively examined in comparison with chitinases derived from bacteria, fungi, nematode, actinomycetes, viruses, insects and mammals. Neighbor-joining and most parsimony analyses showed that the baculoviral chitinases were clustered exclusively within gamma-proteobacteria. Our results strongly suggest that baculoviruses acquired their chitinase genes from bacteria.

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