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J Virol. 1994 April; 68(4): 2521–2528.
PMCID: PMC236730

An apoptosis-inhibiting gene from a nuclear polyhedrosis virus encoding a polypeptide with Cys/His sequence motifs.


Two different baculovirus genes are known to be able to block apoptosis triggered upon infection of Spodoptera frugiperda cells with p35 mutants of the insect baculovirus Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcMNPV):p35 (P35-encoding gene) of AcMNPV (R. J. Clem, M. Fechheimer, and L. K. Miller, Science 254:1388-1390, 1991) and iap (inhibitor of apoptosis gene) of Cydia pomonella granulosis virus (CpGV) (N. E. Crook, R. J. Clem, and L. K. Miller, J. Virol. 67:2168-2174, 1993). Using a genetic complementation assay to identify additional genes which inhibit apoptosis during infection with a p35 mutant, we have isolated a gene from Orgyia pseudotsugata NPV (OpMNPV) that was able to functionally substitute for AcMNPV p35. The nucleotide sequence of this gene, Op-iap, predicted a 30-kDa polypeptide product with approximately 58% amino acid sequence identity to the product of CpGV iap, Cp-IAP. Like Cp-IAP, the predicted product of Op-iap has a carboxy-terminal C3HC4 zinc finger-like motif. In addition, a pair of additional cysteine/histidine motifs were found in the N-terminal regions of both polypeptide sequences. Recombinant p35 mutant viruses carrying either Op-iap or Cp-iap appeared to have a normal phenotype in S. frugiperda cells. Thus, Cp-IAP and Op-IAP appear to be functionally analogous to P35 but are likely to block apoptosis by a different mechanism which may involve direct interaction with DNA.

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