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Analysis of gene transcription and relative abundance of the cys-motif gene family from Campoletis sonorensis ichnovirus (CsIV) and further characterization of the most abundant cys-motif protein, WHv1.6


Correspondence: Bruce A. Webb, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40503, USA. Tel.: 859 257 7415; fax: 859 323 1120; e-mail:


The cys-motif gene family associated with Campoletis sonorensis ichnovirus contains 10 members, WHv1.6, WHv1.0, VHv1.1, VHv1.4, AHv1.0, A'Hv0.8, FHv1.4, LHv2.8, UHv0.8, and UHv0.8a. The results of this study indicated that, within the encapsidated virion, WHv1.6 is the most abundant cys-motif gene, while the combined AHv genes are the least abundant. During parasitization of Heliothis virescens by Campoletis sonorenis, WHv1.6 transcripts were the mostly highly expressed, while the combined UHv genes had the lowest expression. Further proteomic analysis of WHv1.6 showed that it accumulates at high levels in parasitized plasma by 6 h, and is detectable in the haemocytes, fat body, malpighian tubules, nerve cord and epidermis by 2 days after parasitization. Localization experiments led us to conclude that WHv1.6 interacts with the cell membrane along with other organelles within a virus-infected cell and prevents immunocytes from spreading or adhering to a foreign surface. Similarly to VHv1.4 and VHv1.1, WHv1.6 is able to inhibit the translation of haemocyte and Malpighian tubule RNAs. Our results showed that the expression of cys-motif genes during parasitization is related to the gene copy number of each gene within the encapsidated virion and may also be dependent upon cis-regulatory element activity in different target tissues. In addition, WHv1.6 plays a major role in inhibiting the cellular encapsulation response by H. virescens.