Functional gap junction genes are encoded by insect viruses

Turnbull, Matthew W. and Volkoff, Anne-Nathalie and Webb, Bruce A. and Phelan, Pauline (2005) Functional gap junction genes are encoded by insect viruses. Current Biology, 15 (13). R491-492. ISSN 0960-9822 . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Ichnoviruses belong to the virus family Polydnaviridae, whose members are obligately associated with certain endoparasitoid wasps. Expression of ichnovirus genes in parasitized lepidopteran hosts leads to immune suppression and is essential for successful parasitization. To date, the role of specific ichnovirus genes in alteration of host physiology has been unclear, and no cellular homologues have been described. Here, we describe the isolation of a gene family from two ichnoviruses that is homologous to the innexin gene family, which encodes gap junctions in invertebrates. Campoletis sonorensis ichnovirus (CsIV) innexins are expressed in multiple tissues in infected lepidopterans, including haemocytes, the primary immunocytes of the host. Two of the CsIV proteins have been expressed and shown to form functional gap junctions in Xenopus oocytes. To our knowledge this is the first study to describe gap junction genes in any virus. We hypothesize that the virus innexins disrupt cellular immunity in infected insects by altering normal gap junctional intercellular communication. This would represent a novel mechanism of viral alteration of host physiology, and suggests that gap junctions play a crucial role in coordinating cellular immune responses.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: 0960-9822 (Print) Comparative Study Letter Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Uncontrolled keywords: Animals Base Sequence Blotting, Western Cluster Analysis Connexins/*genetics/metabolism DNA Primers Gap Junctions/genetics/*physiology *Gene Expression Regulation, Viral Insects/*virology Microscopy, Fluorescence Molecular Sequence Data Polydnaviridae/*genetics Sequence Analysis, DNA Sequence Homology Species Specificity
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Biosciences > Cell & Developmental Biology Group
Depositing User: Pauline Phelan
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2008 10:45
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2014 13:43
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