Parasitic manipulation of host behaviour: Baculovirus SeMNPV EGT facilitates tree-top disease in spodoptera exigua larvae by extending the time to death

Yue Han, Stineke van Houte, G.F. Drees, M.M. van Oers*, V.I.D. Ros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many parasites enhance their dispersal and transmission by manipulating host behaviour. One intriguing example concerns baculoviruses that induce hyperactivity and tree-top disease (i.e., climbing to elevated positions prior to death) in their caterpillar hosts. Little is known about the underlying mechanisms of such parasite-induced behavioural changes. Here, we studied the role of the ecdysteroid UDP-glucosyltransferase (egt) gene of Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) in tree-top disease in S. exigua larvae. Larvae infected with a mutant virus lacking the egt gene exhibited a shorter time to death and died before the induction of tree-top disease. Moreover, deletion of either the open reading frame or the ATG start codon of the egt gene prevented tree-top disease, indicating that the EGT protein is involved in this process. We hypothesize that SeMNPV EGT facilitates tree-top disease in S. exigua larvae by prolonging the larval time to death. Additionally, we discuss the role of egt in baculovirus-induced tree-top disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-731
JournalInsects
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Baculovirus
  • Behavioural manipulation
  • egt gene
  • SeMNPV
  • Spodoptera exigua
  • Tree-top disease

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