Skip to main content
Passa alla visualizzazione normale.


Influence of parasitoid-associated viral symbionts on plant–insect interactions and biological control


Insect parasitoids have evolved symbiotic interactions with several viruses and thousands of parasitoid species have established mutualistic associations with polydnaviruses (PDVs). While PDVs have often been described as virulence factors allowing development of immature parasitoids inside their herbivore hosts, there is increasing awareness that PDVs can affect plant–insect interactions. We review recent literature showing that PDVs alter not only host physiology, but also feeding patterns and composition of herbivore's oral secretions. In turn PDV-induced changes in herbivore phenotype affect plant responses to herbivory with consequences ranging from differential expression of plant defense-related genes to wider ecological effects across multiple trophic levels. In this opinion paper we also highlight important missing gaps to fully understand the role of PDVs and other parasitoid-associated viral symbionts in a plant–insect interaction perspective. Because PDVs negatively impact performance and survival of herbivore pests, we conclude arguing that PDV genomes offer potential opportunities for biological control.