Horizontal and vertical transmission of wild-type and recombinant Helicoverpa armigera single-nucleocapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus

M. Zhou, X. Sun, X.C. Sun, J.M. Vlak, Z.H. Hu, W. van der Werf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Transmission plays a central role in the ecology of baculoviruses and the population dynamics of their hosts. Here, we report on the horizontal and vertical transmission dynamics of wild-type Helicoverpa armigera single-nucleocapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (HaSNPV-WT) and a genetically modified variant (HaSNPV-AaIT) with enhanced speed of action through the expression of an insect-selective scorpion toxin (AaIT). In caged field plots, horizontal transmission of both HaSNPV variants was greatest when inoculated 3rd instar larvae were used as infectors, transmission was intermediate with 2nd instar infectors and lowest with 1st instar infectors. Transmission was greater at a higher density of infectors (1 per plant) than at a lower density (1 per 4 plants); however, the transmission coefficient (number of new infections per initial infector) was lower at the higher density of infectors than at the lower density. HaSNPV-AaIT exhibited a significantly lower rate of transmission than HaSNPV-WT in the field cages. This was also the case in open field experiments. In the laboratory, the vertical transmission of HaSNPV-AaIT from infected females to offspring of 16.7 ± 2.1% was significantly lower than that of HaSNPV-WT (30.9 ± 2.9%). Likewise, in the field, vertical transmission of HaSNPV-AaIT (8.4 ± 1.1%) was significantly lower than that of HaSNPV-WT (12.6 ± 2.0%). The results indicate that the recombinant virus will be transmitted at lower rates in H. armigera populations than the wild-type virus. This may potentially affect negatively its long-term efficacy as compared to wild-type virus, but contributing positively to its biosafety
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • nuclear polyhedrosis-virus
  • baculovirus insecticide
  • trichoplusia-ni
  • cotton
  • larvae
  • field
  • lepidoptera
  • inactivation
  • evolution
  • ecology


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