Zhihong Hu

Professor, Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Summary of my work

My researches focus on understanding the infection mechanisms of baculoviruses. Baculoviruses are insect specific viruses and have been wildly used for biological control of insect pests in Agriculture and Forestry. They are also widely used as expression vectors for producing eukaryotic proteins. By understanding how baculovirus infect their specific insect host, we will be able to make better bio-control agents and expression vectors. My current work includes:

  1. Revealing the oral infection process of baculovirus. We already know there are at least 8 proteins involved in baculovirus infection, and most of them seem to form a protein complex. We are studying the components of the protein complex, and try to understand their roles during midgut infection.
  2. Synthesis of baculovirus for basic and applied research. We recently successfully constructed the first synthesized baculovirus. We will use this technique to study the mini genome of baculovirus, as well as to construct baculovirus against targeted pests.

Impacts in China

China is the largest cotton producing and consuming country with 6 million hectares of cotton fields. Pests cause 15-20% reduction in the yield of cotton annually, and, normally, pest control is accomplished with chemical pesticides. It is estimated that 40% of chemical pesticides in China are used on cotton fields. Application of chemical pesticides has caused environmental pollution, insect-resistance and is poisonous to farmers and livestock. Therefore, environmental friendly biological control agents are needed. HearNPV is highly specific to cotton bollworm, and has been registered as the first viral pesticide in China since 1993. Now, about 100,000 hectares of cotton are treated with HearNPV annually. My researches have helped the utilization of HearNPVs in the field by providing technical support for the production and application of the viral pesticide, as well as improving the insecticidal properties of the viral pesticide.