The chitinase gene of baculoviruses is expressed in the late phase of virus replication in insects and possesses high exo- and endochitinase activity, which can hydrolyze chitin in the body of the insect, thus promoting terminal host liquefaction. Alphabaculovirus viral chitinases ( vChitA ) have been well analyzed, but information regarding viral chitinases from betabaculoviruses is limited. Whole-genome sequencing of a Korean isolate of Pieris rapae GV (PiraGV-K) predicted a putative chitinase gene corresponding to ORF10. The PiraGV-K chitinase gene had a coding sequence of 1,761 bp, encoding a protein of 586 amino acid (aa) residues, including an 18-aa putative signal peptide. Time course induction pattern observed by SDS-PAGE and subsequent Western blot with anti-PiraGV-K chitinase antibody revealed the cleavage of the signal peptide from the intact chitinase. Edman sequencing analysis was further conducted to confirm the exact nature of the mature chitinase, and the N-terminal amino acid sequence (KPGAP) exactly matched the sequence following the signal peptide sequence. The transcriptomics of PiraGV-K chitinase in infected P. rapae larvae, examined by real-time PCR, revealed a significant 75-fold increase after four days of feeding with PiraGV-K-treated leaves, with a subsequent decline at the later stages of infection. Confocal microscopic analysis showed that PiraGV-K chitinase possibly exists as a secreted protein, with strong chitinase-specific signals in fat body cells and integument at four days postinfection. Furthermore, immunogold labeling and electron microscopy studies localized the PiraGV-K chitinase in the cytoplasm and sparsely within vacuolar structures in the fat body apart from the extensive aggregation in the cuticular lining of the integument.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2013
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