The actin rearrangement-inducing factor 1 () gene is a baculoviral early gene conserved in most alphabaculoviruses. Previous studies reported that nucleopolyhedrovirus ARIF-1 protein induces filamentous actin concentration on the plasma membrane during the early stage of infection in TN-368 cells, but its role in larval infection remains unknown. In this study, we performed behavioural screening using larvae infected with nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV) mutants and found that larvae infected with -mutated BmNPVs did not show locomotor hyperactivity that was normally observed in BmNPV-infected larvae. -deficient BmNPVs also showed reduced pathogenicity and total viral propagation in larvae, whereas viral propagation of -deficient viruses was comparable with that of control viruses in cultured cells. An -defective BmNPV expressing the GFP gene () was used to monitor the progression of infection in larvae. GFP expression and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analyses revealed that infection by the -disrupted virus was significantly delayed in trachea, fat body, suboesophageal ganglion and brain. These results indicated that BmNPV ARIF-1 enhanced systemic infection in larvae.


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