Oral infection of caterpillars by baculoviruses is initiated by occlusion-derived virus particles (ODVs) that infect midgut epithelium cells. The ODV envelope therefore contains at least ten different proteins, which are called per os infectivity factors (PIFs). Nine of these PIFs form the so-called ODV entry complex that consists of a stable core formed by PIF1, 2, 3 and 4, to which the other PIFs [PIF0, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (ac108)] bind with lower affinity. PIF1 and 2 are not only essential for complex formation, but also mediate ODV-binding to the epithelial brush border, probably via the C-Termini. To study the involvement of these PIFs during midgut infection in greater detail, we assessed the oral infectivity and the ability to form the complex of a series of PIF1 and PIF2 C-Terminal truncation mutants of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV), which were constructed in this study. Limited truncation of either PIF1 or 2 already severely impaired the ODV oral infectivity, but did not affect the formation of the core complex. However, the entry complex as a whole was not assembled in these mutants as PIF0 and 8 failed to bind to the core. This suggests that the interactions between the core and the loosely associated PIFs are important for the ODV infectivity and that complex formation complicates the determination of the exact roles of PIF1 and 2 during midgut infection. We also showed that the presence of PIF0, 6 and the ZF-domain of PIF8 are crucial for complex formation.
- Oral Infectivity
- PIF complex