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Virus Res. 2011 Jan;155(1):259-67. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2010.10.019. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

A silencing suppressor protein (NSs) of a tospovirus enhances baculovirus replication in permissive and semipermissive insect cell lines.

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Departamento de Biologia Celular, Universidade de Brasília, 70910-900 Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brazil.


The nonstructural protein (NSs) of the Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) has been identified as an RNAi suppressor in plant cells. A recombinant Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) designated vAcNSs, containing the NSs gene under the control of the viral polyhedrin (polh) gene promoter, was constructed and the effects of NSs in permissive, semipermissive and nonpermissive insect cells to vAcNSs infection were evaluated. vAcNSs produced more budded virus when compared to wild type in semipermissive cells. Co-infection of vAcNSs with wild type baculoviruses clearly enhanced polyhedra production in all host cells. Confocal microscopy analysis showed that NSs accumulated in abundance in the cytoplasm of permissive and semipermissive cells. In contrast, high amounts of NSs were detected in the nuclei of nonpermissive cells. Co-infection of vAcNSs with a recombinant AcMNPV containing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (egfp) gene, significantly increased EGFP expression in semipermissive cells and in Anticarsia gemmatalis-hemocytes. Absence of small RNA molecules of egfp transcripts in this cell line and in a permissive cell line indicates the suppression of gene silencing activity. On the other hand, vAcNSs was not able to suppress RNAi in a nonpermissive cell line. Our data showed that NSs protein of TSWV facilitates baculovirus replication in different lepidopteran cell lines, and these results indicate that NSs could play a similar role during TSWV-infection in its thrips vector.

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