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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 30;12(8):e0183940. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183940. eCollection 2017.

The activity of phenoloxidase in haemolymph plasma is not a predictor of Lymantria dispar resistance to its baculovirus.

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Laboratory of ecological parasitology, Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russia.
Department of Natural science, Novosibirsk National Research State University, Novosibirsk, Russia.
Institute of Biology, Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk, Russia.
Laboratory of Insect Pathology, Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animal SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russia.
Novosibirsk State Agrarian University, Novosibirsk, Russia.
Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Hamden, CT, United States of America.
Biological Institute, National Research Tomsk State University, Tomsk, Russia.


Host innate immunity is one of the factors that determines the resistance of insects to their entomopathogens. In the research reported here we studied whether or not phenoloxidase (PO), a key enzyme in the melanogenesis component of humoral immunity of insects, plays a role in the protection of Lymantria dispar larvae from infection by L. dispar multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus. We studied two types of viral infection: overt and covert. The following lines of investigation were tested: i) the intravital individual estimation of baseline PO activity in haemolymph plasma followed by virus challenging; ii) the specific inhibition of PO activity in vivo by peroral treatment of infected larvae with phenylthiourea (PTU), a competitive inhibitor of PO; iii) the evaluation of PO activity in the haemolymph plasma after larval starvation. Starvation is a stress that activates the covert infection to an overt form. All of these experiments did not show a relationship between PO activity in haemolymph plasma of L. dispar larvae and larval susceptibility to baculovirus. Moreover, starvation-induced activation of covert viral infection to an overt form occurred in 70 percent of virus-carrying larvae against the background of a dramatic increase of PO activity in haemolymph plasma in the insects studied. Our conclusion is that in L. dispar larvae PO activity is not a predictor of host resistance to baculovirus.

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