CF-70-B2 cells derived from the spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) undergo apoptosis when infected with Amsacta moorei entomopoxvirus (AMEV), as characterized by membrane blebbing, formation of apoptotic bodies, TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) staining, condensed chromatin and induction of caspase-3/7 activity. The apoptotic response was reduced when cells were infected with UV-inactivated AMEV, but not when infected in the presence of the DNA synthesis inhibitor, cytosine beta-D-arabinofuranoside. Hence, only pre-DNA replication events were involved in inducing the antiviral response in CF-70-B2 cells. The virus eventually overcame the host's antiviral response and replicated to high progeny virus titres accompanied by high levels of caspase-3/7 activity. The CF-70-B2 cells were less productive of progeny virus in comparison to LD-652, a Lymantria dispar cell line routinely used for propagation of AMEV. At late stages of infection, LD-652 cells also showedcharacteristics of. apoptosis such as oligosomal DNA fragmentation, TUNEL staining, condensed chromatin and increased caspase-3/7 activity. Induction of apoptosis in LD-652 cells was dependent on viral DNA replication and/or late gene expression. A significantly reduced rate of infection was observed in the presence of general caspase inhibitors Q-VD-OPH and Z-VAD-FMK, indicating caspases may be involved in productive virus infection.