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J Gen Virol. 2008 May;89(Pt 5):1220-4. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.83645-0.

Low multiplicity of infection in vivo results in purifying selection against baculovirus deletion mutants.

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  • 1Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.


The in vivo fate of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus deletion mutants originating from serial passage in cell culture was investigated by passaging a population enriched in these mutants in insect larvae. The infectivity of polyhedra and occlusion-derived virion content per polyhedron were restored within two passages in vivo. The frequency of occurrence of deletion mutants was determined by real-time PCR. The frequency of the non-homologous region origin (non-HR ori) of DNA replication was reduced to wild-type levels within two passages. The frequency of the polyhedrin gene did not increase and remained below wild-type levels. A low m.o.i. during the initial infection in insect larvae, causing strong purifying selection for autonomously replicating viruses, could explain these observations. The same virus population used in vivo was also passaged once at a different m.o.i. in cell culture. A similar effect (i.e. lower non-HR ori frequency) was observed at low m.o.i. only, indicating that m.o.i. was the key selective condition.

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