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Host mediated selection of pathogen genotypes as a mechanism for the maintenance of baculovirus diversity in the field

Host mediated selection of pathogen genotypes as a mechanism for the maintenance of baculovirus diversity in the field

Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 94(3): 153-162

ISSN/ISBN: 0022-2011

PMID: 17125790

DOI: 10.1016/j.jip.2006.10.002

The genetic diversity of many DNA virus populations in nature is unknown, but for those that have been studied it has been found to be relatively high. This is particularly true for baculoviruses, a family of large double-stranded DNA viruses that infect the larval stages of insects. Why there should be such heterogeneity within these virus populations is puzzling and what sustains it is still unknown. It has long been recognized that some baculoviruses have a relatively wide host range, but the effect of different host species on the genotypic structure of a baculovirus population has received little attention. We provide evidence that infection of different insect species can influence the genetic diversity of a Panolis flammea nucleopolyhedrovirus (PaflNPV) population, isolated from the pine beauty moth. Variable regions of the PaflNPV genome were sequenced and novel ORFs were identified on each of the enlarged fragments. The roles of these orfs and the implications of their presence or absence within different genotypes are discussed. The variable fragments were also labelled with 32P and used as polymorphic genetic markers of genotype abundance. The proportion of polymorphic loci changed after passage in different insect species and this varied among species, suggesting a role for host selection of pathogen genotypes in the field as a mechanism for maintaining genetic diversity. These results have wide-ranging implications for understanding the ecology of insect-virus interactions in the natural environment and the evolution of baculovirus life history strategies.

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