Evolutionary origin of Venturia canescens virus-like particles

Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2006 Mar;61(3):123-33. doi: 10.1002/arch.20113.


Insect host-parasitoid interactions provide fascinating examples of evolutionary adaptations in which the parasitoid employs a variety of measures and countermeasures to overcome the immune responses of its host. Maternal factors introduced by the female wasps during egg deposition play an important role in interfering with cellular and humoral components of the host's immune defence. Some of these components actively suppress host immune components and some are believed to confer protection for the developing endoparasitoid by rather passive means. The Venturia canescens/Ephestia kuehniella parasitoid-host system is unique among other systems in that the cellular defence capacity of the host remains virtually intact after parasitization. This system raises some important questions that are discussed in this mini-review: If immune protection of the egg and the emerging larva is achieved by surface properties comprising glycoproteins and virus-like particles (VLPs) produced by the female wasp, why is the prophenoloxidase activating cascade blocked in parasitized caterpillars? Another question is the evolutionary origin of these particles, given that the functional role and structural features of V. canescens VLP proteins are more related to cellular proteins than to viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology
  • Insect Proteins / physiology
  • Insect Viruses / physiology*
  • Lepidoptera / immunology
  • Lepidoptera / parasitology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Oviposition / physiology
  • Wasps / genetics
  • Wasps / immunology
  • Wasps / physiology*


  • Insect Proteins