Characterization of the viral fibroblast growth factor homolog of Helicoverpa armigera single nucleopolyhedrovirus
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- Yin, F., Du, R., Kuang, W. et al. Virol. Sin. (2016) 31: 240. doi:10.1007/s12250-016-3710-z
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Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) is found throughout multicellular organisms; however, fgf homologs (vfgf) have only been identified among viruses in lepidopteran baculoviruses. The function of vFGFs from Group I alphabaculoviruses, including Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) and Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV), involves accelerated killing of infected larvae by both viruses. The vFGF of Group II alphabaculovirus is structurally different from that of Group I alphabaculovirus, with a larger C-terminal region and additional N-linked glycosylation sites. In this study, we characterized the Group II alphabaculovirus vFGF of Helicoverpa armigera single nucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV). The transcription and expression of vfgf was detected at 3 h and 16 h post-infection in HearNPV-infected cells. To further study vFGF function, we constructed vfgf-knockout and -repaired HearNPV bacmids and investigated their affect in both cultured cells and insects. Deletion of vfgf had no effect on budded-virus production or viral DNA replication in cultured HzAM1 cells. However, bioassays showed that HearNPV vfgf deletion significantly increased the median lethal dose and delayed the median lethal time by ∼12 h in the host insect when the virus was delivered orally. These results suggested that vFGF is an important virulent factor for HearNPV infection and propagation in vivo.