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J Virol. 1994 Oct;68(10):6759-62.

Influence of infection route on the infectivity of baculovirus mutants lacking the apoptosis-inhibiting gene p35 and the adjacent gene p94.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


The infectivity of Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus mutants lacking the apoptosis-inhibiting gene p35 is decreased 1,000-fold or more in larvae of the insect Spodoptera frugiperda if the budded form of the virus is administered by hemocoelic injection; this decrease is correlated with the antiviral effects of apoptosis (R. J. Clem and L. K. Miller, J. Virol. 67:3730-3738, 1993). We have extended this correlation by showing that the infectivity of p35 mutant budded virus is restored to wild-type levels by expression of an unrelated baculovirus apoptosis-inhibiting gene, Cp-iap. We have also examined the oral infectivity of the occluded form of mutants lacking p35, the neighboring p94 gene, or both genes by feeding insects occluded virus. The oral infectivity of the p35 mutant was significantly reduced in S. frugiperda larvae, but this reduction (25-fold) was less than that observed for the hemocoelic route of infection (1,000-fold). The disruption of p94 alone had no apparent effect on infectivity by either route. Unexpectedly, however, the disruption of both p35 and p94 restored oral infectivity to nearly wild-type levels but did not exert this compensatory effect on infectivity by hemocoelic injection. Thus, the infectivity of the double p35/p94 mutant is affected in a route-specific manner in S. frugiperda larvae, suggesting a tissue-specific response to p35 and/or p94. Infectivity in a different host, Trichoplusia ni, was unaffected by all the mutants tested, consistent with previous studies indicating a lack of sensitivity to apoptosis in this species. However, T. ni and S. frugiperda larvae infected with p35 mutants failed to exhibit the symptom of morphological disintegration ("melting") typical of a wild-type infection, suggesting that p35 is required for the infection of some tissues in both species.

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