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Insects 2015, 6(3), 716-731; doi:10.3390/insects6030716

Parasitic Manipulation of Host Behaviour: Baculovirus SeMNPV EGT Facilitates Tree-Top Disease in Spodoptera exigua Larvae by Extending the Time to Death

1
Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
2
Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Biosciences, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kenneth Wilson, Fleur Ponton and Sheena Cotter
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 15 July 2015 / Accepted: 27 July 2015 / Published: 31 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasite-Insect Interactions)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [875 KB, uploaded 31 July 2015]   |  

Abstract

Many parasites enhance their dispersal and transmission by manipulating host behaviour. One intriguing example concerns baculoviruses that induce hyperactivity and tree-top disease (i.e., climbing to elevated positions prior to death) in their caterpillar hosts. Little is known about the underlying mechanisms of such parasite-induced behavioural changes. Here, we studied the role of the ecdysteroid UDP-glucosyltransferase (egt) gene of Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) in tree-top disease in S. exigua larvae. Larvae infected with a mutant virus lacking the egt gene exhibited a shorter time to death and died before the induction of tree-top disease. Moreover, deletion of either the open reading frame or the ATG start codon of the egt gene prevented tree-top disease, indicating that the EGT protein is involved in this process. We hypothesize that SeMNPV EGT facilitates tree-top disease in S. exigua larvae by prolonging the larval time to death. Additionally, we discuss the role of egt in baculovirus-induced tree-top disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: behavioural manipulation; baculovirus; tree-top disease; SeMNPV; egt gene; Spodoptera exigua behavioural manipulation; baculovirus; tree-top disease; SeMNPV; egt gene; Spodoptera exigua
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Han, Y.; van Houte, S.; Drees, G.F.; van Oers, M.M.; Ros, V.I.D. Parasitic Manipulation of Host Behaviour: Baculovirus SeMNPV EGT Facilitates Tree-Top Disease in Spodoptera exigua Larvae by Extending the Time to Death. Insects 2015, 6, 716-731.

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