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Open AccessArticle

Meta-Transcriptomic Comparison of the RNA Viromes of the Mosquito Vectors Culex pipiens and Culex torrentium in Northern Europe

1
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology/Zoonosis Science Center, Uppsala University, 75237 Uppsala, Sweden
2
Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, Charles Perkins Centre, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, NSW 2006, Australia
3
Centre for Virus Research, The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1033; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111033
Received: 18 October 2019 / Revised: 4 November 2019 / Accepted: 5 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Viruses)
Mosquitoes harbor an extensive diversity of ‘insect-specific’ RNA viruses in addition to those important to human and animal health. However, because most studies of the mosquito virome have been conducted at lower latitudes, little is known about the diversity and evolutionary history of RNA viruses sampled from mosquitoes in northerly regions. Here, we compared the RNA virome of two common northern mosquito species, Culex pipiens and Culex torrentium, collected in south-central Sweden. Following bulk RNA-sequencing (meta-transcriptomics) of 12 libraries, comprising 120 specimens of Cx. pipiens and 150 specimens of Cx. torrentium, we identified 40 viruses (representing 14 virus families) of which 28 were novel based on phylogenetic analysis of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) protein. Hence, we documented similar levels of virome diversity as in mosquitoes sampled from the more biodiverse lower latitudes. Many viruses were also related to those sampled on other continents, indicative of a widespread global movement and/or long host–virus co-evolution. Although the two mosquito species investigated have overlapping geographical distributions and share many viruses, several viruses were only found at a specific location at this scale of sampling, such that local habitat and geography may play an important role in shaping viral diversity in Culex mosquitoes.
Keywords: mosquito-borne RNA viruses; evolution; ecology; meta-transcriptomics; RNA-sequencing; Culex mosquitoes mosquito-borne RNA viruses; evolution; ecology; meta-transcriptomics; RNA-sequencing; Culex mosquitoes
MDPI and ACS Style

Pettersson, J.-O.; Shi, M.; Eden, J.-S.; Holmes, E.C.; Hesson, J.C. Meta-Transcriptomic Comparison of the RNA Viromes of the Mosquito Vectors Culex pipiens and Culex torrentium in Northern Europe. Viruses 2019, 11, 1033.

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