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A supracellular system of actin-lined canals controls biogenesis and release of virulence factors in parasitoid venom glands.

Ferrarese, Roberto; Morales, Jorge; Fimiarz, Daniel; Webb, Bruce A; Govind, Shubha.
J Exp Biol ; 212(Pt 14): 2261-8, 2009 Jul.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19561216
Parasitoid wasps produce virulence factors that bear significant resemblance to viruses and have the ability to block host defense responses. The function of these virulence factors, produced predominantly in wasp venom glands, and the ways in which they interfere with host development and physiology remain mysterious. Here, we report the discovery of a specialized system of canals in venom glands of five parasitoid wasps that differ in their infection strategies. This supracellular canal system is made up of individual secretory units, one per secretory cell. Individual units merge into the canal lumen. The membrane surface of the proximal end of each canal within the secretory cell assumes brush border morphology, lined with bundles of F-actin. Systemic administration of cytochalasin D compromises the integrity of the secretory unit. We show a dynamic and continuous association of p40, a protein of virus-like particles from a Drosophila parasitoid, L. heterotoma, with the canal and venom gland lumen. Similar structures in three Leptopilina species and Ganaspis xanthopoda, parasitoids of Drosophila spp., and Campoletis sonorenesis, a parasitoid of Heliothis virescens, suggest that this novel supracellular canal system is likely to be a common trait of parasitoid venom glands that is essential for efficient biogenesis and delivery of virulence factors.