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The sexually transmitted insect virus, Hz-2V


Hz-2V is one of only a very few sexually transmitted viruses currently known in insects. Replication of this insect pathogenic virus results in sterility of infected moths rather than mortality. The sterility of the infected host is a consequence of virus directed malformation of adult reproductive tissues, which in females results in cellular proliferation and hypertrophy of these tissues. Virus replication has additional ramifications in infected females. Infected females produce more mating pheromones and attract more mates than healthy females, ultimately facilitating virus transmission and enhancing viral fitness. The molecular mechanisms used by the virus to manipulate the host to enhance its fitness are yet to be determined. Unraveling the underlying principles of these mechanisms promises to enhance our understanding of insect reproductive physiology, as well as provide molecular tools for use in novel approaches in sterile insect control programs.

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Correspondence to John P. Burand.

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Foundation item: This work supported by the Cooperative State Research Extension, Education Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station and the Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences, under Project No. MAS00909.

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Burand, J.P. The sexually transmitted insect virus, Hz-2V. Virol. Sin. 24, 428–435 (2009).

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Key words

  • Hz-2V
  • Insect virus
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Pheromone
  • Insect reproductive physiology