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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Baculovirus Infection Influences Host Protein Expression in Two Established Insect Cell Lines

item Popham, Holly
item Grasela, James
item Goodman, Cynthia - Cindy
item Mcintosh, Arthur

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2010
Publication Date: 4/7/2010
Publication URL:
Citation: Popham, H.J., Grasela, J.J., Goodman, C.L., Mcintosh, A.H. 2010. Baculovirus Infection Influences Host Protein Expression in Two Established Insect Cell Lines. Journal of Insect Physiology. Available:

Interpretive Summary: How an insect responds to a microbial attack, such as a baculovirus, is important to understand so we can overcome those defense mechanism by developing novel ways to control pest insects. Studying cell lines established from the budworm and corn earworm, we found the quantity of twenty proteins produced by the cells changed when they were infected with a virus that easily infected the cells. Only five cell line proteins changed in response to a virus that infected cells relatively well. No proteins were found to change in a virus that was unable to infect cells. These findings will impact scientists working on how an insect resists infection by a virus. We have demonstrated that proteins can have a different response to a virus in cells based on how infective the virus is. This will allow us to understand how the number of different species of insects a control agent, such as a baculovirus, can be expanded to enable the virus to control a wider range of pest insects.

Technical Abstract: We identified host proteins that changed in response to host cell susceptibility to baculovirus infection. We used three baculovirus–host cell systems utilizing two cell lines derived from pupal ovaries, Hz-AM1 (from Helicoverpa zea) and Hv-AM1 (from Heliothis virescens). Hv-AM1 cells are permissive to Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) and semi-permissive to H. zea single nucleopolyhedrovirus (HzSNPV). Hz-AM1 cells are non-permissive to AcMNPV. We challenged each cell line with baculovirus infection and after 24 h determined protein identities by MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. For Hv-AM1 cells, 21 proteins were identified, and for Hz-AM1 cells, 19 proteins were newly identified (with 8 others having been previously identified). In the permissive relationship, 18 of the proteins changed in expression by 70% or more in AcMNPV infected Hv-AM1 cells as compared with non-infected controls; 12 were significantly decreased and 6 cellular proteins were significantly increased. We also identified 3 virus-specific proteins. In the semi-permissive infections, eight proteins decreased by 2-fold or more. Non-permissive interactions did not lead to substantial changes in host cell protein expression. We hypothesize that some of these proteins act in determining host cell specificity for baculoviruses.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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