Analysis of the genome of the sexually transmitted insect virus Helicoverpa zea nudivirus 2

Viruses. 2012 Jan;4(1):28-61. doi: 10.3390/v4010028. Epub 2012 Jan 6.


The sexually transmitted insect virus Helicoverpa zea nudivirus 2 (HzNV-2) was determined to have a circular double-stranded DNA genome of 231,621 bp coding for an estimated 113 open reading frames (ORFs). HzNV-2 is most closely related to the nudiviruses, a sister group of the insect baculoviruses. Several putative ORFs that share homology with the baculovirus core genes were identified in the viral genome. However, HzNV-2 lacks several key genetic features of baculoviruses including the late transcriptional regulation factor, LEF-1 and the palindromic hrs, which serve as origins of replication. The HzNV-2 genome was found to code for three ORFs that had significant sequence homology to cellular genes which are not generally found in viral genomes. These included a presumed juvenile hormone esterase gene, a gene coding for a putative zinc-dependent matrix metalloprotease, and a major facilitator superfamily protein gene; all of which are believed to play a role in the cellular proliferation and the tissue hypertrophy observed in the malformation of reproductive organs observed in HzNV-2 infected corn earworm moths, Helicoverpa zea.

Keywords: Helicoverpa zea; HzNV-1; HzNV-2; baculovirus; corn earworm; juvenile hormone esterase; nudivirus; sexually transmitted virus; sterile insects; virus genome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Baculoviridae / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Consensus Sequence
  • DNA Viruses / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Insect Viruses / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Moths / virology
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology
  • Species Specificity
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • Viral Proteins