Submitted to: Insect Pathology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 4, 2011
Publication Date: February 16, 2012
Citation: Harrison, R.L., Hoover, K. 2012. Chapter 4: Baculoviruses and other occluded insect viruses. In: Vega, F. E., Kaya, H. K, editors. Insect Pathology. 2nd edition. London, England: Academic Press. p. 73-131.
Baculoviruses are among the most thoroughly studied insect pathogens. Members of Baculoviridae possess a large, circular double-stranded DNA genome contained within the enveloped nucleoprotein core of a rod-shaped virion. Baculovirus replication is distinguished by the production of two different virion phenotypes: the occlusion-derived virions (ODV), which occur within proteinaceous viral occlusions and initiate infection of the host; and budded virions (BV), which spread infection to other cells and tissues within the host. Baculoviruses have been isolated exclusively from insects, and much of the initial interest in them stemmed from their potential role in insect pest management. The development of cell culture systems for growing baculoviruses and the application of molecular biology methodology to their study led to their development as popular expression vectors and research tools and a profound expansion in knowledge and understanding of these viruses. This chapter summarizes the current state of baculovirology, and covers baculovirus classification, taxonomy, and phylogeny; features of related groups of viruses; basic characteristics of baculovirus virions and viral occlusions; mechanisms of infection, gene expression, and replication; their pathology, ecology, and use as pesticides; and potential new frontiers for study of this fascinating group of viruses.