Archives of Virology

, Volume 151, Issue 4, pp 635–649 | Cite as

Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of persistent baculovirus infections in populations of the cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae) within the British Isles

  • J. P. Burden
  • R. D. Possee
  • S. M. Sait
  • L. A. King
  • R. S. Hails


The genotypic relatedness of persistent baculovirus infections within UK populations of Mamestra brassicae was assessed by sequencing amplified regions from polyhedrin and ie1. Most populations harboured Mamestra brassicae (Mb) nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV) which showed very little genotypic variation between populations. However, one population harboured a virus that closely resembled a baculovirus found previously only in Pine Beauty Moth (Panolis flammea) populations in Scotland. Persistent baculoviruses that had emerged spontaneously as lethal, overt infections from two of the insect populations were compared with the type strain of MbNPV and a mixture of P. flammea (Pafl) NPV strains, isolated from a single host, by bioassay in virus-free Spodoptera exigua larvae. Reactivated baculoviruses were as pathogenic as the stock virus and showed phenotypic characteristics closest to the type strain they most resembled genetically. Sequence data from the insect host cytochrome oxidase genes were compared and showed a high degree of sequence conservation between populations and it was not possible to determine whether the persistent baculovirus infections had arisen on many occasions or whether they represented a single initial infection that had spread with the host. However, the presence of two distinct virus genotypes in separate M. brassicae populations suggests multiple colonisations of the host are a possibility.


Type Strain Cytochrome Oxidase British Isle Stock Virus Insect Population 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Burden
    • 1
  • R. D. Possee
    • 1
  • S. M. Sait
    • 3
  • L. A. King
    • 2
  • R. S. Hails
    • 1
  1. 1.NERC Centre for Ecology and HydrologyOxfordU.K.
  2. 2.School of Biological and Molecular Sciences, Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordU.K.
  3. 3.Ecology and Evolution Research Group, School of Biology, University of LeedsLeedsU.K.

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