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Virology. 2002 Jun 5;297(2):226-44.

Identification and genomic analysis of a second species of nucleopolyhedrovirus isolated from Mamestra configurata.

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  • 1Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, AAFC, Summerland, British Columbia, Canada.


MacoNPV-96B is a nucleopolyhedrovirus isolated from naturally infected Mamestra configurata (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae. It was initially identified due to its completely different restriction endonuclease profile relative to the previously sequenced Mamestra configurata virus MacoNPV-90/2 (Q. Li, C. Donly, L. Li, L. G. Willis, D. A. Theilmann, and M. Erlandson, 2002, Virology 294, 106-121). The MacoNPV-96B host range and virulence were also found to differ significantly from those of the previous isolate. To further understand the complex of viruses infecting M. configurata, the genome of MacoNPV-96B was completely sequenced and analyzed in comparison with the genome of MacoNPV-90/2 and other sequenced baculoviruses. MacoNPV-96B consists of 158,482 bp, and 168 open reading frames (ORFs) of 150 nucleotides or longer with minimal overlap have been identified. The genome of MacoNPV-96B is 3422 bp larger than MacoNPV-90/2 and although gene arrangement is virtually identical, there are 9 ORFs unique to MacoNPV-96B and 10 unique to MacoNPV-90/2. bro genes were found to be associated with nonhomologous regions, suggesting that bro genes may facilitate recombination between genomes. A major difference in the gene content between the two viruses is a 5.4-kb insert in MacoNPV-96B, which is highly homologous to a cluster of Xestia c-nigrum granulovirus (XecnGV) ORFs, suggesting recent recombination events between these two viruses. Nucleotide sequence and amino acid sequence identity between the common ORFs of MacoNPV-96B and MacoNPV-90/2 average 87 and 90%, respectively. The sequence data suggest that MacoNPV-96B and MacoNPV-90/2 are closely related but have diverged and evolved into two separate species. This is the first study to identify highly related but separately evolving viruses in the same insect host and geographic location. A new Identity-GeneParityPlot analysis was developed to perform a comparison of two viral genomes in gene content and arrangement as well as homology level of individual ORFs.

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