Transient expression of specific Cotesia plutellae bracoviral segments induces prolonged larval development of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.J Insect Physiol. 2010 Jun; 56(6):650-8.JI
A polydnavirus, Cotesia plutellae bracovirus (CpBV), possesses a segmented and dispersed genome that is located on chromosome(s) of its symbiotic endoparasitic wasp, C. plutellae. When the host wasp parasitizes larvae of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, at least 27 viral genome segments are delivered to the parasitized host along with the wasp egg. The parasitized P. xylostella exhibits significant immunosuppression and a prolonged larval development. Parasitized larvae take about 2 days longer than nonparasitized larvae to develop until the wandering stage of the final larval instar, and die after egress of the full grown wasp larvae. Developmental analysis using juvenile hormone and ecdysteroid analogs suggests that altering endocrine signals could induce the retardation of larval developmental rate in P. xylostella. In this study we used a transient expression technique to micro-inject individual CpBV genome segments, and tested their ability to induce delayed larval development of P. xylostella. We demonstrated that a CpBV segment was able to express its own encoded genes when it was injected into nonparasitized larvae, in which the expression patterns of the segment genes were similar to those in the larvae parasitized by C. plutellae. Twenty three CpBV genome segments were individually cloned and injected into the second instar larvae of P. xylostella and their effects assessed by measuring the time taken for host development to the cocooning stage. Three CpBV genome segments markedly interfered with the host larval development. When the putative genes of these segments were analyzed, it was found that they did not share any common genes. Among these segments able to delay host development, segment S27 was predicted to encode seven protein tyrosine phosphatases (CpBV-PTPs), some of which were mutated by insertional inactivation with transposons, while other encoded gene expressions were unaffected. The mutant segments were unable to induce prolonged larval development of P. xylostella. These results suggest that CpBV can induce prolonged larval development of P. xylostella, and that at least some CpBV-PTPs may contribute to the parasitic role probably by altering titers of developmental hormones.