Persistence and expression of polydnavirus (MdPDV) was examined in parasitized and virus-injected larvae. Viral DNA persisted in larvae for 6 days, but no increase in the amount of viral DNA present was detected. Viral transcripts were observed in parasitized and virus-injected larvae 4 h post-parasitism and expression continued for 6 days. When specific host tissues were examined, more viral DNA and RNA was detected in haemocytes than in the gut, nervous system and fat body. P-labelled MdPDV DNA hybridized to approximately six different size classes of mRNAs on Northern blots of RNA from haemocytes of parasitized larvae. MdPDV transcription was first detected in haemocytes at 4 h post-parasitism and continued for 6 days. Similar transcripts were observed in haemocytes from larvae that had been injected with calyx fluid or MdPDV plus venom. First-strand cDNA probes of haemocyte-specific MdPDV transcripts hybridized to only certain MdPDV viral DNAs, suggesting that only part of the MdPDV genome is expressed in this host cell type.


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