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J Invertebr Pathol. 2003 Jan;82(1):34-40.

Disintegration of the peritrophic membrane of silkworm larvae due to spindles of an entomopoxvirus.

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National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Tsukuba, 305-8634, Ibaraki, Japan.


Mode of action by which entomopoxvirus (EPV) spindles enhance nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV) infection remains unclear. Spindles of Anomala cuprea entomopoxvirus (AcEPV), a coleoptran EPV, are known to enhance Bombyx mori NPV (BmNPV) infection in silkworm larvae. AcEPV spindles were orally administered to silkworm larvae with or without BmNPV polyhedra, and the peritrophic membranes (PMs) were observed using a binocular microscope. Soon after the larvae's access to spindles with or without the polyhedra had been terminated, some PMs disappeared wholly and some were observed in partial form. Some of the partial PMs observed were very fragile. The disintegration of the PM due to spindles also was observed by the histological sectioning of the midgut. However, a day after the larvae had terminated their access to the spindles, the PM regenerated partially or wholly. In contrast, the administration of AcEPV spheroids caused neither the disintegration of PMs nor the enhancement of BmNPV infection in silkworm larvae. These findings strongly suggest that the enhancement of NPV infection occurs due to that a greater number of NPV virions reaching the microvilli of midgut susceptible to NPV, since spindles lead to the disintegration of the PM as a barrier against NPV virions.

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