Nudiviruses and other large, double-stranded circular DNA viruses of invertebrates: new insights on an old topic

J Invertebr Pathol. 2009 Jul;101(3):187-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2009.03.013. Epub 2009 May 19.


Nudiviruses (NVs) are a highly diverse group of large, circular dsDNA viruses pathogenic for invertebrates. They have rod-shaped and enveloped nucleocapsids, replicate in the nucleus of infected host cells, and possess interesting biological and molecular properties. The unassigned viral genus Nudivirus has been proposed for classification of nudiviruses. Currently, the nudiviruses comprise five different viruses: the palm rhinoceros beetle virus (Oryctes rhinoceros NV, OrNV), the Hz-1 virus (Heliothis zea NV-1, HzNV-1), the cricket virus (Gryllus bimaculatus NV, GbNV), the corn earworm moth Hz-2 virus (HzNV-2), and the occluded shrimp Monodon Baculovirus reassigned as Penaeus monodon NV (PmNV). Thus far, the genomes of OrNV, GbNV, HzNV-1 and HzNV-2 have been completely sequenced. They vary between 97 and 230kbp in size and encode between 98 and 160 open reading frames (ORFs). All sequenced nudiviruses have 33 ORFs in common. Strikingly, 20 of them are homologous to baculovirus core genes involved in RNA transcription, DNA replication, virion structural components and other functions. Another nine conserved ORFs are likely associated with DNA replication, repair and recombination, and nucleotide metabolism; one is homologous to baculovirus iap-3 gene; two are nudivirus-specific ORFs of unknown function. Interestingly, one nudivirus ORF is similar to polh/gran gene, encoding occlusion body protein matrix and being conserved in Alpha- Beta- and Gammabaculoviruses. Members of nudiviruses are closely related and form a monophyletic group consisting of two sister clades of OrNV/GbNV and HzNVs/PmNV. It is proposed that nudiviruses and baculoviruses derived from a common ancestor and are evolutionarily related to other large DNA viruses such as the insect-specific salivary gland hypertrophy virus (SGHV) and the marine white spot syndrome virus (WSSV).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA Viruses / genetics*
  • DNA Viruses / physiology
  • DNA Viruses / ultrastructure
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry
  • Genes, Viral
  • Genome, Viral
  • Insecta / growth & development
  • Insecta / virology
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Phylogeny


  • DNA, Viral