The wasp injects a segmented, double-stranded DNA polydnavirus (CsPDV) along with its egg during parasitization of larvae. After parasitization, CsPDV protects the wasp egg and larva by selectively disabling the host's cellular immune response. Other host physiological systems including growth and development are affected to the apparent benefit of the parasite. To begin the characterization of the biochemical effects and mode of action of CsPDV on host growth, the titre of a developmentally regulated insect storage protein, arylphorin, was studied. Parasitized or virus-infected insects had substantially less circulating arylphorin than control insects. Fat bodies from parasitized larvae also synthesized less arylphorin . However, Northern blots of total RNA from parasitized and non-parasitized, control insects showed that the arylphorin transcript level was unaffected by parasitization suggesting a biochemical block at the translational level. translation followed by immunoprecipitation of arylphorin indicated that the mRNA was present and translatable at equal levels in both parasitized and control insects. Injection of purified virus elicited the response observed in naturally parasitized larvae, demonstrating that the effect on arylphorin synthesis is mediated, either directly or indirectly, by polydnavirus gene product(s).


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