• Zhang S, An S, Hoover K, Li Z, Li X, Liu X, Shen Z, Fang H, Ros VI, Zhang Q. (2018) Host miRNAs are involved in hormonal regulation of HaSNPV-triggered climbing behaviour in Helicoverpa armigera. Molecular Ecology 27(2), 459-475.

Baculoviruses manipulate host climbing behaviour to ensure that the hosts die at elevated positions on host plants to facilitate virus proliferation and transmission, which is a process referred to as tree-top disease. However, the detailed molecular mechanism underlying tree-top disease has not been elucidated. Using transcriptome analysis, we showed that two hormone signals, juvenile hormone (JH) and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), are key components involved in HaSNPV-induced tree-top disease in Helicoverpa armigera larvae. RNAi-mediated knockdown and exogenous hormone treatment assays demonstrated that 20E inhibits virus-induced tree-top disease, while JH mediates tree-top disease behaviour. Knockdown of BrZ2, a downstream signal of JH and 20E, promoted HaSNPV-induced tree-top disease. We also found that two miRNAs target BrZ2 and are involved in the cross-talk regulation between 20E and JH manipulating HaSNPV replication, time to death and HaSNPV-induced tree-top disease.

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