, Volume 152, Issue 7, pp 1353-1364
Date: 09 Mar 2007

Induction of apoptosis by iridovirus virion protein extract

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Chilo iridescent virus (CIV; IIV-6) is the type member of the genus Iridovirus (family Iridoviridae, large icosahedral cytoplasmic DNA viruses). CIV induces death and deformity in the cotton boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis, replicates productively in larvae of the cotton boll weevil, and significantly reduces laboratory populations of the cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii. CIV virion protein extract (CVPE) shuts down host protein synthesis in several insect cell lines and induces mortality in neonate boll weevil larvae. We report here that CVPE induces apoptosis in spruce budworm and boll weevil cell lines, as detected by blebbing, DNA fragmentation, and TUNEL assay. Tissue culture toxicity dose assays (TCTD50) showed that spruce budworm cells were eight times more sensitive to CVPE than boll weevil cells. Pancaspase inhibitor suppressed apoptosis but had marginal effect on inhibition of host protein synthesis. Moreover, the CVPE dose for apoptosis was 1000-fold lower than the dose for shutdown of host synthesis. We also detected protein kinase activity in CVPE. Heating CVPE at 60 °C for 30 min destroyed all three activities. Our results suggest that one or more polypeptides in CIV induce apoptosis. This is the first study demonstrating apoptosis induction by a member of the genus Iridovirus and by virion extracts of a member of the family Iridoviridae.