Budded baculovirus particle structure revisited

Qiushi Wang, Berend Jan Bosch, J.M. Vlak, M.M. van Oers, P.J. Rottier, J.W.M. van Lent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Baculoviruses are a group of enveloped, double-stranded DNA insect viruses with budded (BV) and occlusion-derived (ODV) virions produced during their infection cycle. BVs are commonly described as rod shaped particles with a high apical density of protein extensions (spikes) on the lipid envelope surface. However, due to the fragility of BVs the conventional purification and electron microscopy (EM) staining methods considerably distort the native viral structure. Here, we use cryo-EM analysis to reveal the near-native morphology of two intensively studied baculoviruses, Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) and Spodoptera exigua MNPV (SeMNPV), as models for BVs carrying GP64 and F as envelope fusion protein on the surface. The now well-preserved AcMNPV and SeMNPV BV particles have a remarkable elongated, ovoid shape leaving a large, lateral space between nucleocapsid (NC) and envelope. Consistent with previous findings the NC has a distinctive cap and base structure interacting tightly with the envelope. This tight interaction may explain the partial retaining of the envelope on both ends of the NC and the disappearance of the remainder of the BV envelope in the negative-staining EM images. Cryo-EM also reveals that the viral envelope contains two layers with a total thickness of ≈6-7 nm, which is significantly thicker than a usual biological membrane (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Baculovirus
  • Budded virus
  • Cryo-EM
  • Spike structure
  • Ultrastructure


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