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Apoptosis is important in antiviral immunity and affects viral multiplication and pathogenesis. Here, we showed that Bombyx mori cells transiently expressing B. mori homolog of the tumor suppressor p53 (Bm-p53) protein underwent apoptosis accompanied by elevated caspase-3-like protease activity and processing of B. mori Dronc (Bm-Dronc). RNAi-mediated silencing of bm-p53 expression, which significantly diminished accumulation of bm-p53 transcript and Bm-p53 protein, prevented apoptosis of B. mori cells infected with a recombinant B. mori nucleopolyhedrovirus defective in the anti-apoptotic p35 gene (vBmΔp35) and abolished the activation of caspase-3-like protease and processing of Bm-Dronc. Apoptosis in vBmΔp35-infected B. mori cells is associated with viral DNA replication, suggesting involvement of the DNA damage response. The Bm-p53 pro-apoptotic function is also found in Spodoptera frugiperda and Lymantria dispar cells. These results indicate that apoptosis induction in vBmΔp35-infected B. mori cells is a Bm-p53-mediated process promoted by the commencement of viral DNA replication.