Metaviromics reveals unknown viral diversity in the biting midge Culicoides impunctatus

Modha, S. , Hughes, J. , Bianco, G. , Ferguson, H. M. , Helm, B. , Tong, L. , Wilkie, G. S. , Kohl, A. and Schnettler, E. (2019) Metaviromics reveals unknown viral diversity in the biting midge Culicoides impunctatus. Viruses, 11(9), 865. (doi: 10.3390/v11090865)

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Biting midges (Culicoides species) are vectors of arboviruses and were responsible for the emergence and spread of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in Europe in 2011 and are likely to be involved in the emergence of other arboviruses in Europe. Improved surveillance and better understanding of risks require a better understanding of the circulating viral diversity in these biting insects. In this study, we expand the sequence space of RNA viruses by identifying a number of novel RNA viruses from Culicoides impunctatus (biting midge) using a meta-transcriptomic approach. A novel metaviromic pipeline called MetaViC was developed specifically to identify novel virus sequence signatures from high throughput sequencing (HTS) datasets in the absence of a known host genome. MetaViC is a protein centric pipeline that looks for specific protein signatures in the reads and contigs generated as part of the pipeline. Several novel viruses, including an alphanodavirus with both segments, a novel relative of the Hubei sobemo-like virus 49, two rhabdo-like viruses and a chuvirus, were identified in the Scottish midge samples. The newly identified viruses were found to be phylogenetically distinct to those previous known. These findings expand our current knowledge of viral diversity in arthropods and especially in these understudied disease vectors.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schnettler, Dr Esther and Wilkie, Dr Gavin and Modha, Sejal and Helm, Dr Barbara and Ferguson, Professor Heather and Hughes, Dr Joseph and Tong, Dr Lily and Kohl, Professor Alain
Creator Roles:
Modha, S.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Software, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Hughes, J.Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Schnettler, E.Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Resources, Writing – review and editing
Tong, L.Resources
Wilkie, G. S.Resources
Ferguson, H. M.Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Helm, B.Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Kohl, A.Writing – review and editing
Authors: Modha, S., Hughes, J., Bianco, G., Ferguson, H. M., Helm, B., Tong, L., Wilkie, G. S., Kohl, A., and Schnettler, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Viruses
ISSN (Online):1999-4915
Published Online:17 September 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Viruses 11(9): 865
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656551Arbovirus interactions with arthropod hostsAlain KohlMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12014/8MVLS III - CENTRE FOR VIRUS RESEARCH
Medical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12014/12