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J Gen Virol. 2011 May;92(Pt 5):1051-60. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.028118-0. Epub 2011 Jan 12.

A peptide with similarity to baculovirus ODV-E66 binds the gut epithelium of Heliothis virescens and impedes infection with Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


Baculoviruses infect their lepidopteran hosts via the midgut epithelium through binding of occlusion-derived virus (ODV) and fusion between the virus envelope and microvillar membranes. To identify genes and sequences that are involved in this process, a random phage display library was screened for peptides that bound to brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) derived from the midgut epithelium of Heliothis virescens. Seventeen peptides that bound to BBMV were recovered. Two of these, HV1 and HV2, had sequence similarity to the ODV envelope protein ODV-E66 that is found in five species of alphabaculoviruses. Chemically synthesized versions of HV1 and HV2, and two peptides (AcE66A and AcE66B) derived from similar sequences of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) ODV-E66, bound to unfixed cryosections of whole midgut tissues. AcE66A, but not HV1, bound to H. virescens gut BBMV proteins on a far-Western blot. Competition assays with HV1 and purified AcMNPV ODV resulted in decreased mortality of H. virescens larvae at a dose of 1 LD(50), and a significant increase in survival time at higher virus concentrations. These results suggest a role for ODV-E66 in baculovirus infection of lepidopteran larval midgut epithelium.

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