Journal of virology

Role of early and late replication events in induction of apoptosis by baculoviruses.

PMID 8995679


Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcMNPV) mutants that lack the apoptotic suppressor gene p35 cause apoptosis in Spodoptera frugiperda SF21 cells. To identify a viral signal(s) that induces programmed cell death, we first defined the timing of apoptotic events during infection. Activation of a P35-inhibitable caspase, intracellular fragmentation of host and AcMNPV DNA, and cell membrane blebbing coincided with the initiation of viral DNA synthesis between 9 and 12 h after infection and thus suggested that apoptotic signaling begins at or before this time. Virus entry was required since binding of budded virus to host cell receptors alone was insufficient to induce apoptosis. To therefore determine the contribution of early and late replication events to apoptotic signaling, we used the AcMNPV mutant ts8 with a temperature-sensitive lesion in the putative helicase gene p143. At the nonpermissive temperature at which viral DNA synthesis was conditionally blocked, ts8 caused extensive apoptosis of the SF21 cell line p3576D, which dominantly interferes with anti-apoptotic function of viral P35. Confirming that apoptosis can be induced in the absence of normal viral DNA synthesis, parental SF21 cells also underwent apoptosis when infected with a ts8 p35 deletion mutant at the nonpermissive temperature. However, maximum levels of ts8 p35 deletion mutant-induced apoptosis required a temperature-sensitive event(s) that included the initiation of viral DNA synthesis. Collectively, these data suggested that baculovirus-induced apoptosis can be triggered by distinct early (pre-DNA synthesis) and late replicative events, including viral DNA synthesis or late gene expression.

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