Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV) orf81 ( ha81 ) is a core gene that is highly conserved in all lepidopteran baculoviruses. Its homolog in the group I baculoviruses, ac93 , has been shown to be essential for the nuclear egress of nucleocapsids, but its role in the group II HearNPV life cycle remains unknown. In this study, an ha81 mutant bacmid was constructed by homologous recombination to investigate the role of HA81 in the viral life cycle. Quantitative PCR analysis showed that viral DNA replication was unaffected in the absence of ha81 . However, the budded virus production of the ha81 -null virus was completely blocked. Transmission electron microscopic analysis showed that ha81 is required for the egress of nucleocapsids from the nucleus. Analysis of the time course of transcription and expression revealed that ha81 is a late gene. An immunofluorescence analysis showed that the protein mainly localizes in the cytoplasm. To understand whether the transcription of other genes is affected by the deletion of ha81 , the transcription of several well-characterized viral genes was investigated in the ha81 -knockout HearNPV mutant. No obvious changes were observed at the transcription level, except for the odv-e25 gene downstream from ha81 . In conclusion, these data indicate that ha81 is a late gene that is critical for budded virus production but is involved in neither viral DNA replication nor gene transcription.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2014
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