Many blood-feeding arthropods are known vectors of viruses that are a source of unprecedented global health concern. Mosquitoes are an integral part of these arthropod vectors. Advancements in next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics has expanded our knowledge on the richness of viruses harbored by arthropods. In the present study, we applied a metagenomic approach to determine the intercontinental virome diversity of Culex quinquefasciatus
and Culex tritaeniorhynchus
in Kwale, Kenya and provinces of Hubei and Yunnan in China. Our results showed that viromes from the three locations were strikingly diverse and comprised 30 virus families specific to vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and protozoa as well as unclassified group of viruses. Though sampled at different times, both Kwale and Hubei mosquito viromes were dominated by vertebrate viruses, in contrast to the Yunnan mosquito virome, which was dominated by insect-specific viruses. However, each virome was unique in terms of virus proportions partly influenced by type of ingested meals (blood, nectar, plant sap, environment substrates). The dominant vertebrate virus family in the Kwale virome was Papillomaviridae
(57%) while in Hubei it was Herpesviridae
(30%) and the Yunnan virome was dominated by an unclassified viruses group (27%). Given that insect-specific viruses occur naturally in their hosts, they should be the basis for defining the viromes. Hence, the dominant insect-specific viruses in Kwale, Hubei, and Yunnan were Baculoviridae
, respectively. Our study is preliminary but contributes to growing and much needed knowledge, as mosquito viromes could be manipulated to prevent and control pathogenic arboviruses.
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