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Identification and RNAi Profile of a Novel Iflavirus Infecting Senegalese Aedes vexans arabiensis Mosquitoes

Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Institute for Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hannover, Germany
Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hannover, Germany
Pole de Zoologie Médicale, Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Dakar BP 220, Senegal
Pole de Virologie, Unité des Arbovirus et Virus de Fièvres Hémorragiques, Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Dakar BP 220, Senegal
Arboviruses and Insect Vectors, Department of Virology, Institut Pasteur, 75724 Paris, France
Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences, Universiät Hamburg, 20148 Hamburg, Germany
Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, 20359 Hamburg, Germany
Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infection, Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury SP4 0JG, UK
Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department Science & Technology, Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury SP4 0JG, UK
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology/Zoonosis Science Center, Uppsala University, 75237 Uppsala, Sweden
Laboratory of Parasitology, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, 35020 Legnaro (Padua), Italy
MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, Glasgow G61 1QH, UK
German Centre for Infection Research, partner site Hamburg-Lübeck-Borstel-Riems, 20359 Hamburg, Germany
The Pirbright Institute, Pirbright GU24 0NF, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Current Address: Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 440;
Received: 29 March 2020 / Revised: 10 April 2020 / Accepted: 11 April 2020 / Published: 14 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Viruses)
The inland floodwater mosquito Aedes vexans (Meigen, 1830) is a competent vector of numerous arthropod-borne viruses such as Rift Valley fever virus (Phenuiviridae) and Zika virus (Flaviviridae). Aedes vexans spp. have widespread Afrotropical distribution and are common European cosmopolitan mosquitoes. We examined the virome of Ae. vexans arabiensis samples from Barkédji village, Senegal, with small RNA sequencing, bioinformatic analysis, and RT-PCR screening. We identified a novel 9494 nt iflavirus (Picornaviridae) designated here as Aedes vexans iflavirus (AvIFV). Annotation of the AvIFV genome reveals a 2782 amino acid polyprotein with iflavirus protein domain architecture and typical iflavirus 5’ internal ribosomal entry site and 3’ poly-A tail. Aedes vexans iflavirus is most closely related to a partial virus sequence from Venturia canescens (a parasitoid wasp) with 56.77% pairwise amino acid identity. Analysis of AvIFV-derived small RNAs suggests that AvIFV is targeted by the exogenous RNA interference pathway but not the PIWI-interacting RNA response, as ~60% of AvIFV reads corresponded to 21 nt Dicer-2 virus-derived small RNAs and the 24–29 nt AvIFV read population did not exhibit a “ping-pong” signature. The RT-PCR screens of archival and current (circa 2011–2020) Ae. vexans arabiensis laboratory samples and wild-caught mosquitoes from Barkédji suggest that AvIFV is ubiquitous in these mosquitoes. Further, we screened wild-caught European Ae. vexans samples from Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Sweden, all of which tested negative for AvIFV RNA. This report provides insight into the diversity of commensal Aedes viruses and the host RNAi response towards iflaviruses. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aedes vexans; iflavirus; RNAi; virus discovery Aedes vexans; iflavirus; RNAi; virus discovery
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Parry, R.; Naccache, F.; Ndiaye, E.H.; Fall, G.; Castelli, I.; Lühken, R.; Medlock, J.; Cull, B.; Hesson, J.C.; Montarsi, F.; Failloux, A.-B.; Kohl, A.; Schnettler, E.; Diallo, M.; Asgari, S.; Dietrich, I.; Becker, S.C. Identification and RNAi Profile of a Novel Iflavirus Infecting Senegalese Aedes vexans arabiensis Mosquitoes. Viruses 2020, 12, 440.

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