Baculoviruses are insect viruses largely used as expression vectors and biopesticides. These viruses can efficiently infect the larval stage of several agricultural pests worldwide causing a lethal disease. In this work, we found a novel baculovirus isolated from the larval stage of Urbanus proteus (L.), the bean leafroller and characterized its complete genome. This is an important pest of several leguminous plants in Brazil and belongs to the butterfly family Hesperiidae, from where no baculovirus genome sequence has been described. This new virus was shown to have the smallest genome among all alphabaculoviruses sequenced to date, with 105,555 bp and 119 putative ORFs. We found ten unique genes, seven bro, and the 38 baculovirus core genes. UrprNPV was found to be related to the Adoxophyes-infecting baculoviruses AdorNPV and AdhoNPV with high genetic distance and a long branch length. Interestingly, few individual core gene-based phylogenies were found to support the relationship of UrprNPV to both AdorNPV and AdhoNPV. Importantly, the increase in number of completely sequenced baculovirus points to a very exciting way to understand baculovirus and its evolution and could potentially help the use of baculovirus as both biopesticides and expression vectors.
Santos, E. R., Oliveira, L. B., Peterson, L., Sosa-Gómez, D. R., Ribeiro, B. M., & Ardisson-Araújo, D. M. P. (2018). The complete genome sequence of the first hesperiid-infecting alphabaculovirus isolated from the leguminous pest Urbanus proteus (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Virus Research, 249, 76–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virusres.2018.03.009