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Viruses 2015, 7(7), 3586-3602; doi:10.3390/v7072789

Genome Characterization, Prevalence and Distribution of a Macula-Like Virus from Apis mellifera and Varroa destructor

Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802, USA
School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK
Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala 750 07, Sweden
Bee Research Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA
Bee Research Department, National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension, Baqa' 19381, Jordan
Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern CH-3001, Switzerland
Agroscope, Bee Research Center, Schwarzenburgstrasse 161, Bern CH-3003, Switzerland
Current address: Leetown Science Center, USGS, Leetown, Kearneysville, WV 23540, USA.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Elke Genersch and Sebastian Gisder
Received: 1 April 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honeybee Viruses)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [737 KB, uploaded 6 July 2015]   |  


Around 14 distinct virus species-complexes have been detected in honeybees, each with one or more strains or sub-species. Here we present the initial characterization of an entirely new virus species-complex discovered in honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) and varroa mite (Varroa destructor) samples from Europe and the USA. The virus has a naturally poly-adenylated RNA genome of about 6500 nucleotides with a genome organization and sequence similar to the Tymoviridae (Tymovirales; Tymoviridae), a predominantly plant-infecting virus family. Literature and laboratory analyses indicated that the virus had not previously been described. The virus is very common in French apiaries, mirroring the results from an extensive Belgian survey, but could not be detected in equally-extensive Swedish and Norwegian bee disease surveys. The virus appears to be closely linked to varroa, with the highest prevalence found in varroa samples and a clear seasonal distribution peaking in autumn, coinciding with the natural varroa population development. Sub-genomic RNA analyses show that bees are definite hosts, while varroa is a possible host and likely vector. The tentative name of Bee Macula-like virus (BeeMLV) is therefore proposed. A second, distantly related Tymoviridae-like virus was also discovered in varroa transcriptomes, tentatively named Varroa Tymo-like virus (VTLV). View Full-Text
Keywords: honeybee; Apis mellifera; Varroa destructor; virus; Tymoviridae; Maculavirus; Marafivirus; Tymovirus honeybee; Apis mellifera; Varroa destructor; virus; Tymoviridae; Maculavirus; Marafivirus; Tymovirus

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

de Miranda, J.R.; Cornman, R.S.; Evans, J.D.; Semberg, E.; Haddad, N.; Neumann, P.; Gauthier, L. Genome Characterization, Prevalence and Distribution of a Macula-Like Virus from Apis mellifera and Varroa destructor. Viruses 2015, 7, 3586-3602.

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