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J Virol. 2011 Oct;85(19):10222-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00691-11. Epub 2011 Aug 3.

Functional interactions between polydnavirus and host cellular innexins.

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  • 1School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK.


Polydnaviruses are double-stranded DNA viruses associated with some subfamilies of ichneumonoid parasitoid wasps. Polydnavirus virions are delivered during wasp parasitization of a host, and virus gene expression in the host induces alterations of host physiology. Infection of susceptible host caterpillars by the polydnavirus Campoletis sonorensis ichnovirus (CsIV) leads to expression of virus genes, resulting in immune and developmental disruptions. CsIV carries four homologues of insect gap junction genes (innexins) termed vinnexins, which are expressed in multiple tissues of infected caterpillars. Previously, we demonstrated that two of these, VinnexinD and VinnexinG, form functional gap junctions in paired Xenopus oocytes. Here we show that VinnexinQ1 and VinnexinQ2, likewise, form junctions in this heterologous system. Moreover, we demonstrate that the vinnexins interact differentially with the Innexin2 orthologue of an ichnovirus host, Spodoptera frugiperda. Cell pairs coexpressing a vinnexin and Innexin2 or pairs in which one cell expresses a vinnexin and the neighboring cell Innexin2 assemble functional junctions with properties that differ from those of junctions composed of Innexin2 alone. These data suggest that altered gap junctional intercellular communication may underlie certain cellular pathologies associated with ichnovirus infection of caterpillar hosts.

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