Drosophila S2 cells are non-permissive for vaccinia virus DNA replication following entry via low pH-dependent endocytosis and early transcription. Academic Article uri icon


  • Vaccinia virus (VACV), a member of the chordopox subfamily of the Poxviridae, abortively infects insect cells. We have investigated VACV infection of Drosophila S2 cells, which are useful for protein expression and genome-wide RNAi screening. Biochemical and electron microscopic analyses indicated that VACV entry into Drosophila S2 cells depended on the VACV multiprotein entry-fusion complex but appeared to occur exclusively by a low pH-dependent endocytic mechanism, in contrast to both neutral and low pH entry pathways used in mammalian cells. Deep RNA sequencing revealed that the entire VACV early transcriptome, comprising 118 open reading frames, was robustly expressed but neither intermediate nor late mRNAs were made. Nor was viral late protein synthesis or inhibition of host protein synthesis detected by pulse-labeling with radioactive amino acids. Some reduction in viral early proteins was noted by Western blotting. Nevertheless, synthesis of the multitude of early proteins needed for intermediate gene expression was demonstrated by transfection of a plasmid containing a reporter gene regulated by an intermediate promoter. In addition, expression of a reporter gene with a late promoter was achieved by cotransfection of intermediate genes encoding the late transcription factors. The requirement for transfection of DNA templates for intermediate and late gene expression indicated a defect in viral genome replication in VACV-infected S2 cells, which was confirmed by direct analysis. Furthermore, VACV-infected S2 cells did not support the replication of a transfected plasmid, which occurs in mammalian cells and is dependent on all known viral replication proteins, indicating a primary restriction of DNA synthesis.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Bengali, Z., Satheshkumar, P. S., Yang, Z., Weisberg, A. S., Paran, N., & Moss, B.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Bengali, Zain||Satheshkumar, PS||Yang, Zhilong||Weisberg, Andrea S||Paran, Nir||Moss, Bernard

editor list (cited editors)

  • Digard, P.

publication date

  • January 2011