Programmed cell death (apoptosis) is a key host response to virus infection. Viruses that can modulate host apoptotic responses are likely to gain important opportunities for transmission. Here we review recent studies that demonstrate that particles of Invertebrate iridescent virus 6 (IIV-6) (Iridoviridae, genus Iridovirus), or an IIV-6 virion protein extract, are capable of inducing apoptosis in lepidopteran and coleopteran cells, at concentrations 1000-fold lower than that required to shut-off host macromolecular synthesis. Induction of apoptosis depends on endocytosis of one or more heat-sensitive virion component(s). Studies with a JNK inhibitor (SP600125) indicated that the JNK signaling pathway is significantly involved in apoptosis in IIV-6 infections of Choristoneura fumiferana cells. The genome of IIV-6 codes for an inhibitor of apoptosis iap gene (193R) that encodes a protein of 208 aa with 15% identity and 28% similarity in its amino acid sequence to IAP-3 from Cydia pomonella ganulovirus (CpGV). Transcription of IIV-6 iap did not require prior DNA or protein synthesis, indicating that it is an immediate-early class gene. Transient expression and gene knockdown studies have confirmed the functional nature of the IIV-6 iap gene. We present a tentative model for IIV-6 induction and inhibition of apoptosis in insect cells and discuss the potential applications of these findings in insect pest control.
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Foundation items: SLB was supported in part by Research Enhancement Funds and Research Development Funds from the Office of the Vice-President for Research, Texas Tech University and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Support was also provided by the Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University.
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Williams, T., Chitnis, N.S. & Bilimoria, S.L. Invertebrate Iridovirus modulation of apoptosis. Virol. Sin. 24, 295–304 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12250-009-3060-1
- Invertebrate iridescent virus 6
- Induction by endocytosis
- Inhibition of apoptosis (iap) gene
- JNK pathway involvement