Baculovirus occlusion-derived viruses (ODVs) contain ten known per os infectivity factors (PIFs). These PIFs are crucial for midgut infection of insect larvae and form, with the exception of PIF5, an ODV entry complex. Previously, R18-dequenching assays have shown that PIF3 is dispensable for binding and fusion with midgut epithelial cells. Oral infection nevertheless fails in the absence of PIF3. PIF9 has not been analysed in much depth yet. Here, the biological role of these two PIFs in midgut infection was examined by monitoring the fate of fluorescently labelled ODVs when incubated with isolated midgut cells from Spodoptera exigua larvae. Confocal microscopy showed that in the absence of either PIF3 or PIF9, the ODVs bound to the brush borders, but the nucleocapsids failed to enter the cells. Finally, we discuss how the results obtained for PIF3 with dequenching assays and confocal microscopy can be explained by a two-phase fusion process.

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Journal of General Virology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Boogaard, B. (Bob), van Lent, J.W.M. (Jan W M), & van Oers, M. (2020). Functional analysis of the baculovirus per os infectivity factors 3 and 9 by imaging the interaction between fluorescently labelled virions and isolated midgut cells. Journal of General Virology, 101(7), 778–784. doi:10.1099/jgv.0.001430