Insecticidal activity of the chitinase from the Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedrovirus



Yeon Ho Je, Mailing address: Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea. Email:


Baculovirus chitinase gene (chiA) is a late gene essential for liquefying the host insect at a late stage of infection for its hydrolyzing chitin function. In a previous report, baculovirus ChiA has been shown to offer many interesting new opportunities for pest control. Recently, a putative chiA gene was identified in the Korean isolate of the Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedorvirus (SpliMNPV-K1) genome. The open reading frame (ORF) contains 1692 nucelotides and encodes a protein of 563 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of about 62.6 kDa. To study the insecticidal activity of ChiA from SpliMNPV-K1, we constructed a recombinant AcMNPV, Ap-SlChiA, which is designed to express the ChiA under the control of a polyhedrin promoter. Western blot analysis indicated that ChiA was successfully expressed by this recombinant virus. Chitinase assay revealed that the chitobiosidase and endochitinase activity of the recombinant virus was 2.5- and 3.9-flods higher than those of wild-type AcMNPV, respectively. In addition, the recombinant virus showed higher evident insecticidal activity against 3rd instar larvae of Spodotera exigua than that of the AcMNPV. These results suggest that the chiA gene from SpliMNPV-K1 could be successfully applied to improve pathogenicity of baculoviruses.