, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 356-362
Date: 11 Mar 2012

Iron Levels Change in Larval Heliothis virescens Tissues Following Baculovirus Infection

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Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and 59Fe radiotracers were used to investigate changes in levels of Fe in the tissues of 4th instar Heliothis virescens larvae following infection with Helicoverpa zea single nucleopolyhedrovirus (HzSNPV) or with Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus. Baculovirus infection led to significant changes in hemolymph Fe levels late in infection. 24Na radiotracer ingested by 4th instar larvae was rapidly cleared to nearly undetectable levels 6 h post-ingestion. In contrast, 59Fe radiotracer fed to 4th instar larvae declined within the first few hours of ingestion and then remained constant at approximately 60% of the initial tracer activity. While Fe radiotracer levels among larval tissues changed, whole insect tracer levels did not decline from 6 to 60 h post-ingestion. Tissues from HzSNPV larvae had higher radiotracer levels in the hemolymph and midgut 36 and 60 h post-infection. The protein-bound/free ratio of 59Fe was significantly higher in baculovirus infected hemolymph than in uninfected hemolymph at 60 h post-infection, indicating that Fe released from damaged cells is protein-bound. In both studies, hemolymph Fe levels were higher in HzSNPV infected larvae. This first study of tissue Fe levels during viral infection of an insect clearly demonstrates that Fe homeostasis is substantially disrupted.