Virus Genes

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 104–116 | Cite as

The complete genome sequence of a second alphabaculovirus from the true armyworm, Mythimna unipuncta: implications for baculovirus phylogeny and host specificity

  • Robert L. HarrisonEmail author
  • Joseph D. Mowery
  • Gary R. Bauchan
  • David A. Theilmann
  • Martin A. Erlandson


The Mythimna unipuncta nucleopolyhedrovirus isolate KY310 (MyunNPV-KY310) is an alphabaculovirus isolated from a true armyworm (Mythimna unipuncta) population in Kentucky, USA. Occlusion bodies of this virus were examined by electron microscopy and the genome sequence was determined by 454 pyrosequencing. MyunNPV-KY310 occlusion bodies consisted of irregular polyhedra measuring 0.8–1.8 µm in diameter and containing multiple virions, with one to six nucleocapsids per virion. The genome sequence was determined to be 156,647 bp with a nucleotide distribution of 43.9% G+C. 152 ORFs and six homologous repeat (hr) regions were annotated for the sequence, including the 38 core genes of family Baculoviridae and an additional group of 26 conserved alphabaculovirus genes. BLAST queries and phylogenetic inference confirmed that MyunNPV-KY310 is most closely related to the alphabaculovirus Leucania separata nucleopolyhedrovirus isolate AH1, which infects Mythimna separata. In contrast, MyunNPV-KY310 did not exhibit a close relationship with Mythimna unipuncta nucleopolyhedrovirus isolate #7, an alphabaculovirus from the same host species. MyunNPV-KY310 lacks the gp64 envelope glycoprotein, which is a characteristic of group II alphabaculoviruses. However, this virus and five other alphabaculoviruses lacking gp64 are placed outside the group I and group II clades in core gene phylogenies, further demonstrating that viruses of genus Alphabaculovirus do not occur in two monophyletic clades. Potential instances of MyunNPV-KY310 ORFs arising by horizontal transfer were detected. Although there are now genome sequences of four different baculoviruses from M. unipuncta, comparison of their genome sequences provides little insight into the genetic basis for their host specificity.


Baculovirus Alphabaculovirus Nucleopolyhedrovirus Mythimna unipuncta True armyworm MyunNPV 



The authors would like to thank Pallavi Thapa, Daniel Barakh, and Anita Ghosh (USDA-ARS, Beltsille, MD) for assistance with dideoxy sequencing, and Doug Baldwin (AAFC) for assistance with assembly of 454 sequence reads and initial annotation of the genome. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Author contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: RLH, JDM, GRB, DAT, MAE. Performed the experiments: RLH, JDM, GRB, MAE. Analyzed the data: RLH. Wrote the paper: RLH, JDM, GRB, DAT, MAE.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical approval

The research described in this paper does not use any human or animal subjects.

Supplementary material

11262_2018_1615_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1. Supplementary Table 1. Taxa used in core gene phylogeny. (XLSX 14 KB)
11262_2018_1615_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (170 kb)
Supplementary material 2. Supplementary Table 2. MyunNPV-KY310 open reading frames (ORFs) and repeat regions. (PDF 169 KB)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research CenterUSDA Agricultural Research ServiceBeltsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Electron and Confocal Microscopy Unit, Beltsville Agricultural Research CenterUSDA Agricultural Research ServiceBeltsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Summerland Research and Development CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSummerlandCanada
  4. 4.Saskatoon Research and Development CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSaskatoonCanada

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