Iflavirus increases its infectivity and physical stability in association with baculovirus

Agata K. Jakubowska, Rosa Murillo, Arkaitz Carballo, Trevor Williams, Jan W.M. Van Lent, Primitivo Caballero, Salvador Herrero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Virus transmission and the prevalence of infection depend on multiple factors, including the interaction with other viral pathogens infecting the same host. In this study, active replication of an iflavirus, Spodoptera exigua iflavirus 1 (order Picornavirales) was observed in the offspring of insects that survived following inoculation with a pathogenic baculovirus, Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus. Tracking the origin of the iflavirus suggested the association of this virus with the occlusion bodies of the baculovirus. Here we investigated the effect of this association on the stability and infectivity of both viruses. A reduction in baculovirus pathogenicity, without affecting its infectivity and productivity, was observed when associated with the iflavirus. In contrast, viral association increased the infectivity of the iflavirus and its resistance to ultraviolet radiation and high temperature, two of the main factors affecting virus stability in the field. In addition, electron microscopy analysis revealed the presence of particles resembling iflavirus virions inside the occlusion bodies of the baculovirus, suggesting the possible co-occlusion of both viruses. Results reported here are indicative of facultative phoresis of a virus and suggest that virus-virus interactions may be more common than currently recognized, and may be influential in the ecology of baculovirus and host populations and in consequence in the use of baculoviruses as biological insecticides.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1687
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Baculovirus
  • Co-infection
  • Iflavirus
  • Insect virus
  • Virus parasitism
  • Virus-virus interaction


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