Among the nucleopolyhedroviruses (Baculoviridae), the occlusion-derived virus (ODV), which initiates infection in host insects, may contain only a single nucleocapsid per virion (the SNPVs) or one to many nucleocapsids per virion (the MNPVs), but the significance of this difference is unclear. To gain insight into the biological relevance of these different packaging strategies, we compared pathogenesis induced by ODV fractions enriched for multiple nucleocapsids (ODV-M) or single nucleocapsids (ODV-S) of Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) containing a β- galactosidase reporter gene. In time course experiments wherein newly molted fourth-instar Trichoplusia ni were challenged with doses of ODV-S or ODV-M that yielded the same final mortality (~70%), we characterized viral foci as either being restricted to the midgut or involving tracheal cells (the secondary target tissue, indicative of systemic infection). We found that while the timing of primary infection by ODV-S and ODV-M was similar, ODV-S established significantly more primary midgut cell loci than ODV-M, but ODV- M infected tracheal cells at twice the rate of ODV-S. The more efficient establishment of tracheal infections by ODV-M decreased the probability that infections were lost by midgut cell sloughing, explaining why higher numbers of primary infections established by ODV-S within larvae were needed to achieve the same final mortality. These results showed that the multiple nucleocapsid packaging strategy of AcMNPV accelerates the onset of irreversible systemic infections and may indicate why MNPVs have wider individual host ranges than SNPVs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science