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Virology. 2014 Jul;460-461:66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.04.026. Epub 2014 May 29.

Solenopsis invicta virus 3: pathogenesis and stage specificity in red imported fire ants.

Author information

1
Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, 1600 SW 23rd Drive, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA. Electronic address: steven.valles@ars.usda.gov.
2
Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, 1600 SW 23rd Drive, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA.
3
Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QP, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Solenopsis invicta colonies were exposed to purified preparations of Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) to investigate virus pathogenesis at the colony level. Time course experiments revealed an infection exhibiting specificity for the adult stage (workers). SINV-3 genome and a capsid protein were increasingly present in worker ants with time. Northern blot analysis revealed two bands in RNA preparations from worker ants infected with SINV-3 corresponding to the genomic and sub-genomic species. Conversely, larval RNA preparations from SINV-3-infected colonies showed a near-complete absence of SINV-3 genome or sub-genome. The data confirm that SINV-3 is the etiological agent causing mortality among S. invicta colonies in the laboratory. We propose that SINV-3 infection somehow alters worker ant behavior, which may prevent them from acquiring and/or distributing solid food to the larvae. Consequently, larval mortality and impaired queen health occur as a result of starvation or neglect by the worker caste.

KEYWORDS:

Caste; Formicidae; RNA virus; Social insect; Tropism

PMID:
25010271
DOI:
10.1016/j.virol.2014.04.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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