Genomic diversity in European Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus isolates

J Gen Virol. 2014 Oct;95(Pt 10):2297-2309. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.064766-0. Epub 2014 May 21.


Key virus traits such as virulence and transmission strategies rely on genetic variation that results in functional changes in the interactions between hosts and viruses. Here, comparative genomic analyses of seven isolates of Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) with differing phenotypes were employed to pinpoint candidate genes that may be involved in host-virus interactions. These isolates obtained after vertical or horizontal transmission of infection in insects differed in virulence. Apart from one genome containing a piggyBac transposon, all European SeMNPV isolates had a similar genome size and content. Complete genome analyses of single nucleotide polymorphisms and insertions/deletions identified mutations in 48 ORFs that could result in functional changes. Among these, 13 ORFs could be correlated with particular phenotypic characteristics of SeMNPV isolates. Mutations were found in all gene functional classes and most of the changes we highlighted could potentially be associated with differences in transmission. The regulation of DNA replication (helicase, lef-7) and transcription (lef-9, p47) might be important for the establishment of sublethal infection prior to and following vertical transmission. Virus-host cell interactions also appear instrumental in the modulation of viral transmission as significant mutations were detected in virion proteins involved in primary (AC150) or secondary infections (ME35) and in apoptosis inhibition (IAP2, AC134). Baculovirus populations naturally harbour high genomic variation located in genes involved at different levels of the complex interactions between virus and host during the course of an infection. The comparative analyses performed here suggest that the differences in baculovirus virulence and transmission phenotypes involve multiple molecular pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleopolyhedroviruses / classification*
  • Nucleopolyhedroviruses / genetics
  • Nucleopolyhedroviruses / isolation & purification*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Spodoptera / virology*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • Virulence Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/HG425343
  • GENBANK/HG425344
  • GENBANK/HG425345
  • GENBANK/HG425346
  • GENBANK/HG425347
  • GENBANK/HG425348
  • GENBANK/HG425349