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A horizontally transmitted Parasitoid Killing Factor protects insects from parasitoids

Citation

Erlandson, Martin et al. (2022), A horizontally transmitted Parasitoid Killing Factor protects insects from parasitoids, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cz8w9gj3q

Abstract

Interkingdom competition occurs between hymenopteran parasitoids and insect viruses sharing the same insect hosts. It has been assumed that parasitoid larvae die with the death of infected host or as result of competition for host resources. Herein we describe a gene family, parasitoid killing factor (pkf), that encodes proteins toxic to parasitoids of the Microgastrinae group and determines parasitism success. Pkfs are found in several entomopathogenic DNA virus families and in some lepidopteran genomes. We provide evidence of equivalent and specific toxicity against endoparasites for PKFs found in Entomopoxvirus, Ascovirus, Baculovirus and Lepidoptera through a mechanism that elicits apoptosis in the cells of susceptible parasitoids. This highlights the evolutionary arms race between parasitoids, viruses and their insect hosts.

Funding

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Award: J-001033 and J-000778