Identification and Characterization of the Spodoptera Su(var) 3-9 Histone H3K9 trimethyltransferase and Its Effect in AcMNPV Infection

Histone H3-lysine9 (H3K9) trimethyltransferase gene Su(var) 3-9 was cloned and identified in three Spodoptera insects, Spodopterafrugiperda (S. frugiperda), S. exigua and S. litura. Sequence analysis showed that Spodoptera Su(var) 3-9 is highly conserved evolutionarily. Su(var) 3-9 protein was found to be localized in the nucleus in Sf9 cells, and interact with histone H3, and the heterochromatin protein 1a (HP1a) and HP1b. A dose-dependent enzymatic activity was found at both 27 °C and 37 °C in vitro, with higher activity at 27 °C. Addition of specific inhibitor chaetocin resulted in decreased histone methylation level and host chromatin relaxation. In contrast, overexpression of Su(var) 3-9 caused increased histone methylation level and cellular genome compaction. In AcMNV-infected Sf9 cells, the transcription of Su(var) 3-9 increased at late time of infection, although the mRNA levels of most cellular genes decreased. Pre-treatment of Sf9 cells with chaetocin speeded up viral DNA replication, and increased the transcription level of a variety of virus genes, whereas in Sf9 cells pre-transformed with Su(var) 3-9 expression vector, viral DNA replication slow down slightly. These findings suggest that Su(var) 3-9 might participate in the viral genes expression an genome replication repression during AcMNPV infection. It provided a new insight for the understanding virus–host interaction mechanism.