We describe, for the first time, the generation of a viral DNA chip for simultaneous expression measurements of nearly all known open reading frames (ORFs) in the best-studied members of the family Baculoviridae, Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) and Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV). In this study, a viral DNA chip (Ac-BmNPV chip) was fabricated and used to characterize the viral gene expression profile for AcMNPV in different cell types. The viral chip is composed of microarrays of viral DNA prepared by robotic deposition of PCR-amplified viral DNA fragments on glass for ORFs in the NPV genome. Viral gene expression was monitored by hybridization to the DNA fragment microarrays with fluorescently labeled cDNAs prepared from infected Spodoptera frugiperda, Sf9 cells and Trichoplusia ni, TnHigh-Five cells, the latter a major producer of baculovirus and recombinant proteins. A comparison of expression profiles of known ORFs in AcMNPV elucidated six genes (ORF150, p10, pk2, and three late gene expression factor genes lef-3, p35 and lef-6) the expression of each of which was regulated differently in the two cell lines. Most of these genes are known to be closely involved in the viral life cycle such as in DNA replication, late gene expression and the release of polyhedra from infected cells. These results imply that the differential expression of these viral genes accounts for the differences in viral replication between these two cell lines. Thus, these fabricated microarrays of NPV DNA which allow a rapid analysis of gene expression at the viral genome level should greatly speed the functional analysis of large genomes of NPV.
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