The virions of three ascoviruses isolated from the noctuids and were compared with respect to their size and structure, protein composition and the size and relatedness of their DNAs. The virions of the isolates from (HAV) and (TAV) were allantoid in shape (400×130 nm), enveloped and contained an inner particle which appeared to have an internal lipid bilayer surrounding the DNA core. The virions of the isolate (SAV) were similar in structure and size, but were bacilliform in shape, and after formation, were often occluded in vesiculate occlusion bodies. In preparations of purified virions of each isolate, at least 12 polypeptides were detected that ranged in size from 10K to 200K and contained a major species of about 50K. The genome of SAV was about 140 kbp in size, whereas those of TAV and HAV were approximately 180 kbp. Analysis of DNA fragment patterns of the three isolates generated with HI, dIII or I, as well as DNA-DNA dot blot and Southern blot hybridization studies, demonstrated that HAV and TAV were closely related but not identical. The DNA from SAV, however, did not hybridize with the DNA from either of the other isolates. Thus the ascovirus isolates from and are considered variants of the same virus, whereas the isolate from is a separate member of the ascovirus group.


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