A horizontally transmitted Parasitoid Killing Factor protects insects from parasitoids

Martin Erlandson, Edyta Sieminska, Cathy Coutu, Dwayne Hegedus, David Theilmann, Doug Baldwin & Stephanie Harris
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...
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