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Open AccessArticle

Unmapped RNA Virus Diversity in Termites and Their Symbionts

1
Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, New South Wales, Australia
2
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, New South Wales, Australia
3
School of Medical Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, New South Wales, Australia
4
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Tancha, Onna-son, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
5
Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, 165 00 Prague, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2020, 12(10), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12101145
Received: 14 September 2020 / Revised: 1 October 2020 / Accepted: 5 October 2020 / Published: 9 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution and Diversity of Insect Viruses)
Despite their ecological importance, nothing is known about the diversity and abundance of RNA viruses in termites (Termitoidae). We used a metatranscriptomics approach to determine the RNA virome structure of 50 diverse species of termite that differ in both phylogenetic position and colony composition. From these samples, we identified 67 novel RNA viruses, characterized their genomes, quantified their abundance and inferred their evolutionary history. These viruses were found within or similar to those from the Togaviridae, Iflaviridae, Polycipiviridae, Flaviviridae, Leviviridae, Narnaviridae, Mitoviridae, Lispivirdae, Phasmaviridae, Picobirnaviridae and Partitiviridae. However, all viruses identified were novel and divergent, exhibiting only 20% to 45% amino acid identity to previously identified viruses. Our analysis suggested that 17 of the viruses identified were termite-infecting, with the remainder likely associated with the termite microbiome or diet. Unclassified sobemo-like and bunya-like viruses dominated termite viromes, while most of the phylogenetic diversity was provided by the picobirna- and mitovirus-like viruses. Of note was the identification of a novel flavi-like virus most closely related to those found in marine vertebrates and invertebrates. Notably, the sampling procedure had the strongest association with virome composition, with greater RNA virome diversity in libraries prepared from whole termite bodies than those that only sampled heads. View Full-Text
Keywords: RNA viruses; evolution; ecology; metatranscriptomics; RNA sequencing; termites RNA viruses; evolution; ecology; metatranscriptomics; RNA sequencing; termites
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MDPI and ACS Style

Le Lay, C.; Shi, M.; Buček, A.; Bourguignon, T.; Lo, N.; Holmes, E.C. Unmapped RNA Virus Diversity in Termites and Their Symbionts. Viruses 2020, 12, 1145. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12101145

AMA Style

Le Lay C, Shi M, Buček A, Bourguignon T, Lo N, Holmes EC. Unmapped RNA Virus Diversity in Termites and Their Symbionts. Viruses. 2020; 12(10):1145. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12101145

Chicago/Turabian Style

Le Lay, Callum; Shi, Mang; Buček, Aleš; Bourguignon, Thomas; Lo, Nathan; Holmes, Edward C. 2020. "Unmapped RNA Virus Diversity in Termites and Their Symbionts" Viruses 12, no. 10: 1145. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12101145

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