The endoparasitic wasp (Ichneumonidae) transmits a polydnavirus (PDV) to its host, , during oviposition. Unlike most other PDVs examined, the virus of (TrPDV) does not appear to play an important role in suppressing the host cellular immune response. However, it inhibits host metamorphosis. In the present study, TrPDV gene expression was examined in parasitized and virus-injected last-instar caterpillars. Northern analysis with viral DNA as a probe revealed only one detectable mRNA, of about 650 bp. The corresponding cDNA, termed TrV1, was cloned and sequenced and found to encode a protein of 103 amino acids which, following cleavage of the putative signal peptide, has a predicted molecular mass of 9·3 kDa. This protein displays limited similarity to the VHv1.4 cysteine-rich protein from the PDV of , mostly within the signal peptide region. By using a TrV1-specific probe, the TrV1 gene was localized to segment G of the TrPDV genome. The cuticle and fat body were identified as the principal sites of TrV1 transcription, with little transcription observed in haemocytes and midgut. Western analysis of proteins extracted from selected tissues of parasitized insects suggested that the TrV1 protein is secreted in the haemolymph. As observed for other PDVs, injection of TrPDV did not suppress transcription of the gene that encodes juvenile hormone esterase, the activity of which is inhibited by the virus. We speculate that the TrV1 protein may play a role in the inhibition of metamorphosis.


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