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J Insect Physiol. 2005 Feb;51(2):137-48.

Commensal and mutualistic relationships of reoviruses with their parasitoid wasp hosts.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Etude des Parasites Génétiques, Université François Rabelais, UFR Sciences et Techniques, Parc Grandmont, 37200 Tours, France.


During evolution, certain endoparasitoid wasps have developed mechanisms to suppress the defence systems of their hosts. For this purpose, these species, all of which belong to the families Ichneumonidae and Braconidae, inject various kinds of virus-like particles. The most studied of these particles are classified as polydnaviruses (family Polydnaviridae) which are symbiotic viruses. Over the past decade, it has also been shown that several wasp species harbour reoviruses (family Reoviridae), and that two of these suppress host defence, allowing the development of the parasitoid eggs. In this paper, we summarize the key features of these viruses and their relationships with their wasp hosts. Five reoviruses are known that appear to be non-pathogenic for the wasps. Three of these, McRVLP, HeRV, OpRVLP, use their wasp hosts as vectors, and do not appear to be involved in host defence suppression. The fourth, DpRV-1, is a commensal reovirus detected in most field populations of the wasp, Diadromus pulchellus. This reovirus is always found associated with an ascovirus, DpAV-4a, which is indispensable for host immune suppression. Although DpRV-1 has not been shown to directly increase D. pulchellus parasitic success, it may contribute to this success by retarding DpAV-4a replication in the wasp. The fifth reovirus, DpRV-2, occurs in a specific population of D. pulchellus in which DpRV-1 and DpAV-4 are absent. This virus has a mutualistic relationship with its wasp host, as its injection by females during oviposition is essential for host immunosuppression. Interestingly, these viruses belong to several different reovirus genera.

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