Special Issue "Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Evelien Adriaenssens
Website
Guest Editor
Research Leader, Quadram Institute Bioscience, Norwich Research Park, NR4 7UQ, UK
Interests: viromics; virus genomics; virus taxonomy; bacteriophages
Dr. Jennifer R. Brum
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Interests: microbial oceanography; viral ecology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The field of virology has had a massive boost from the advances made in viral metagenomics (viromics or metaviromics) during the last 15 years. What started in marine environments has branched out to cover terrestrial habitats, extreme environments and the human body. New methodologies are continuously being adapted to these different environments and answering a wide range of research questions. This has led to the development of new applications of viromics beyond the descriptive, such as in the investigation of environmental drivers of community structure, or the use of viromics in pathogen detection and the discovery of new viruses.

For this Special Issue, we welcome submissions in all areas of viromics that cover new approaches, significant advances and applications.

Dr. Evelien Adriaenssens
Dr. Jennifer R. Brum
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • viromics
  • metaviromics
  • virus communities
  • virus discovery
  • computational approaches in viromics

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Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Diversity of Marine Bacteriophage in Contrasting Water Masses Associated with the East Australian Current (EAC) System
Viruses 2020, 12(3), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12030317 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Virus- and bacteriophage-induced mortality can have a significant impact on marine productivity and alter the flux of nutrients in marine microbial food-webs. Viral mediated horizontal gene transfer can also influence host fitness and community composition. However, there are very few studies of marine [...] Read more.
Virus- and bacteriophage-induced mortality can have a significant impact on marine productivity and alter the flux of nutrients in marine microbial food-webs. Viral mediated horizontal gene transfer can also influence host fitness and community composition. However, there are very few studies of marine viral diversity in the Southern Hemisphere, which hampers our ability to fully understand the complex interplay of biotic and abiotic factors that shape microbial communities. We carried out the first genetic study of bacteriophage communities within a dynamic western boundary current (WBC) system, the east Australian current (EAC). Virus DNA sequences were extracted from 63 assembled metagenomes and six metaviromes obtained from various depths at 24 different locations. More than 1700 bacteriophage genomic fragments (>9 kbps) were recovered from the assembled sequences. Bacteriophage diversity displayed distinct depth and regional patterns. There were clear differences in the bacteriophage populations associated with the EAC and Tasman Sea euphotic zones, at both the taxonomic and functional level. In contrast, bathypelagic phages were similar across the two oceanic regions. These data provide the first characterisation of viral diversity across a dynamic western boundary current, which is an emerging model for studying the response of microbial communities to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Viromics on Honey-Baited FTA Cards as a New Tool for the Detection of Circulating Viruses in Mosquitoes
Viruses 2020, 12(3), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12030274 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Worldwide, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are a major burden on public and animal health. Arthropod vectors, with mosquitoes being the main contributors of global disease, transmit more than 70% of the recognized EIDs. To assess new alternatives for arthropod-borne viral diseases [...] Read more.
Worldwide, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are a major burden on public and animal health. Arthropod vectors, with mosquitoes being the main contributors of global disease, transmit more than 70% of the recognized EIDs. To assess new alternatives for arthropod-borne viral diseases surveillance, and for the detection of new viruses, honey-baited Flinders Technology Associates (FTA) cards were used as sugar bait in mosquito traps during entomological surveys at the Llobregat River Delta (Catalonia, Spain). Next generation sequencing (NGS) metagenomics analysis was applied on honey-baited FTA cards, which had been exposed to field-captured mosquitoes to characterize their associated virome. Arthropod- and plant-infecting viruses governed the virome profile on FTA cards. Twelve near-complete viral genomes were successfully obtained, suggesting good quality preservation of viral RNAs. Mosquito pools linked to the FTA cards were screened for the detection of mosquito-associated viruses by specific RT-PCRs to confirm the presence of these viruses. The circulation of viruses related to Alphamesonivirus, Quaranjavirus and unclassified Bunyavirales was detected in mosquitoes, and phylogenetic analyses revealed their similarities to viruses previously reported in other continents. To the best our knowledge, our findings constitute the first distribution record of these viruses in European mosquitoes and the first hint of insect-specific viruses in mosquitoes’ saliva in field conditions, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach to monitor the transmissible fraction of the mosquitoes’ virome. In conclusion, this pilot viromics study on honey-baited FTA cards was shown to be a valid approach for the detection of viruses circulating in mosquitoes, thereby setting up an alternative tool for arbovirus surveillance and control programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Virus Discovery in Desert Tortoise Fecal Samples: Novel Circular Single-Stranded DNA Viruses
Viruses 2020, 12(2), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12020143 - 26 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The Sonoran Desert tortoise Gopherus morafkai is adapted to the desert, and plays an important ecological role in this environment. There is limited information on the viral diversity associated with tortoises (family Testudinidae), and to date no DNA virus has been identified associated [...] Read more.
The Sonoran Desert tortoise Gopherus morafkai is adapted to the desert, and plays an important ecological role in this environment. There is limited information on the viral diversity associated with tortoises (family Testudinidae), and to date no DNA virus has been identified associated with these animals. This study aimed to assess the diversity of DNA viruses associated with the Sonoran Desert tortoise by sampling their fecal matter. A viral metagenomics approach was used to identify the DNA viruses in fecal samples from wild Sonoran Desert tortoises in Arizona, USA. In total, 156 novel single-stranded DNA viruses were identified from 40 fecal samples. Those belonged to two known viral families, the Genomoviridae (n = 27) and Microviridae (n = 119). In addition, 10 genomes were recovered that belong to the unclassified group of circular-replication associated protein encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA virus and five circular molecules encoding viral-like proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Viromics Reveal a Number of Novel RNA Viruses in Swedish Mosquitoes
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1027; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111027 - 05 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Metagenomic studies of mosquitoes have revealed that their virome is far more diverse and includes many more viruses than just the pathogenic arboviruses vectored by mosquitoes. In this study, the virome of 953 female mosquitoes collected in the summer of 2017, representing six [...] Read more.
Metagenomic studies of mosquitoes have revealed that their virome is far more diverse and includes many more viruses than just the pathogenic arboviruses vectored by mosquitoes. In this study, the virome of 953 female mosquitoes collected in the summer of 2017, representing six mosquito species from two geographic locations in Mid-Eastern Sweden, were characterized. In addition, the near-complete genome of nine RNA viruses were characterized and phylogenetically analysed. These viruses showed association to the viral orders Bunyavirales, Picornavirales, Articulavirales, and Tymovirales, and to the realm Ribovira. Hence, through this study, we expand the knowledge of the virome composition of different mosquito species in Sweden. In addition, by providing viral reference genomes from wider geographic regions and different mosquito species, future in silico recognition and assembly of viral genomes in metagenomic datasets will be facilitated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Single-Stranded DNA Viruses in Antarctic Cryoconite Holes
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111022 - 04 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Antarctic cryoconite holes, or small melt-holes in the surfaces of glaciers, create habitable oases for isolated microbial communities with tightly linked microbial population structures. Viruses may influence the dynamics of polar microbial communities, but the viromes of the Antarctic cryoconite holes have yet [...] Read more.
Antarctic cryoconite holes, or small melt-holes in the surfaces of glaciers, create habitable oases for isolated microbial communities with tightly linked microbial population structures. Viruses may influence the dynamics of polar microbial communities, but the viromes of the Antarctic cryoconite holes have yet to be characterized. We characterize single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) viruses from three cryoconite holes in the Taylor Valley, Antarctica, using metagenomics. Half of the assembled metagenomes cluster with those in the viral family Microviridae (n = 7), and the rest with unclassified circular replication associated protein (Rep)-encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA viruses (n = 7). An additional 18 virus-like circular molecules encoding either a Rep, a capsid protein gene, or other unidentified but viral-like open reading frames were identified. The samples from which the genomes were identified show a strong gradient in microbial diversity and abundances, and the number of viral genomes detected in each sample mirror that gradient. Additionally, one of the CRESS genomes assembled here shares ~90% genome-wide pairwise identity with a virus identified from a freshwater pond on the McMurdo Ice Shelf (Antarctica). Otherwise, the similarity of these viruses to those previously identified is relatively low. Together, these patterns are consistent with the presence of a unique regional virome present in fresh water host populations of the McMurdo Dry Valley region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Metaviromics Reveals Unknown Viral Diversity in the Biting Midge Culicoides impunctatus
Viruses 2019, 11(9), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11090865 - 17 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Biting midges (Culicoides species) are vectors of arboviruses and were responsible for the emergence and spread of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in Europe in 2011 and are likely to be involved in the emergence of other arboviruses in Europe. Improved surveillance and better [...] Read more.
Biting midges (Culicoides species) are vectors of arboviruses and were responsible for the emergence and spread of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in Europe in 2011 and are likely to be involved in the emergence of other arboviruses in Europe. Improved surveillance and better understanding of risks require a better understanding of the circulating viral diversity in these biting insects. In this study, we expand the sequence space of RNA viruses by identifying a number of novel RNA viruses from Culicoides impunctatus (biting midge) using a meta-transcriptomic approach. A novel metaviromic pipeline called MetaViC was developed specifically to identify novel virus sequence signatures from high throughput sequencing (HTS) datasets in the absence of a known host genome. MetaViC is a protein centric pipeline that looks for specific protein signatures in the reads and contigs generated as part of the pipeline. Several novel viruses, including an alphanodavirus with both segments, a novel relative of the Hubei sobemo-like virus 49, two rhabdo-like viruses and a chuvirus, were identified in the Scottish midge samples. The newly identified viruses were found to be phylogenetically distinct to those previous known. These findings expand our current knowledge of viral diversity in arthropods and especially in these understudied disease vectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Metagenomic Analysis of Virus Diversity and Relative Abundance in a Eutrophic Freshwater Harbour
Viruses 2019, 11(9), 792; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11090792 - 28 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Aquatic viruses have been extensively studied over the past decade, yet fundamental aspects of freshwater virus communities remain poorly described. Our goal was to characterize virus communities captured in the >0.22 µm size-fraction seasonally and spatially in a freshwater harbour. Community DNA was [...] Read more.
Aquatic viruses have been extensively studied over the past decade, yet fundamental aspects of freshwater virus communities remain poorly described. Our goal was to characterize virus communities captured in the >0.22 µm size-fraction seasonally and spatially in a freshwater harbour. Community DNA was extracted from water samples and sequenced on an Illumina HiSeq platform. Assembled contigs were annotated as belonging to the virus groups (i.e., order or family) Caudovirales, Mimiviridae, Phycodnaviridae, and virophages (Lavidaviridae), or to other groups of undefined viruses. Virophages were often the most abundant group, and discrete virophage taxa were remarkably stable across sites and dates despite fluctuations in Mimiviridae community composition. Diverse Mimiviridae contigs were detected in the samples and the two sites contained distinct Mimiviridae communities, suggesting that Mimiviridae are important algal viruses in this system. Caudovirales and Phycodnaviridae were present at low abundances in most samples. Of the 18 environmental parameters tested, only chlorophyll a explained the variation in the data at the order or family level of classification. Overall, our findings provide insight into freshwater virus community assemblages by expanding the documented diversity of freshwater virus communities, highlighting the potential ecological importance of virophages, and revealing distinct communities over small spatial scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Single Stranded DNA Viruses Associated with Capybara Faeces Sampled in Brazil
Viruses 2019, 11(8), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11080710 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), the world’s largest rodents, are distributed throughout South America. These wild herbivores are commonly found near water bodies and are well adapted to rural and urban areas. There is limited information on the viruses circulating through capybaras. This [...] Read more.
Capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), the world’s largest rodents, are distributed throughout South America. These wild herbivores are commonly found near water bodies and are well adapted to rural and urban areas. There is limited information on the viruses circulating through capybaras. This study aimed to expand the knowledge on the viral diversity associated with capybaras by sampling their faeces. Using a viral metagenomics approach, we identified diverse single-stranded DNA viruses in the capybara faeces sampled in the Distrito Federal, Brazil. A total of 148 complete genomes of viruses in the Microviridae family were identified. In addition, 14 genomoviruses (family Genomoviridae), a novel cyclovirus (family Circoviridae), and a smacovirus (family Smacoviridae) were identified. Also, 37 diverse viruses that cannot be assigned to known families and more broadly referred to as unclassified circular replication associated protein encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA viruses were identified. This study provides a snapshot of the viral diversity associated with capybaras that may be infectious to these animals or associated with their microbiota or diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Discovery of Four Novel Viruses Associated with Flower Yellowing Disease of Green Sichuan Pepper (Zanthoxylum armatum) by Virome Analysis
Viruses 2019, 11(8), 696; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11080696 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
An emerging virus-like flower yellowing disease (FYD) of green Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum armatum v. novemfolius) has been recently reported. Four new RNA viruses were discovered in the FYD-affected plant by the virome analysis using high-throughput sequencing of transcriptome and small RNAs. [...] Read more.
An emerging virus-like flower yellowing disease (FYD) of green Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum armatum v. novemfolius) has been recently reported. Four new RNA viruses were discovered in the FYD-affected plant by the virome analysis using high-throughput sequencing of transcriptome and small RNAs. The complete genomes were determined, and based on the sequence and phylogenetic analysis, they are considered to be new members of the genera Nepovirus (Secoviridae), Idaeovirus (unassigned), Enamovirus (Luteoviridae), and Nucleorhabdovirus (Rhabdoviridae), respectively. Therefore, the tentative names corresponding to these viruses are green Sichuan pepper-nepovirus (GSPNeV), -idaeovirus (GSPIV), -enamovirus (GSPEV), and -nucleorhabdovirus (GSPNuV). The viral population analysis showed that GSPNeV and GSPIV were dominant in the virome. The small RNA profiles of these viruses are in accordance with the typical virus-plant interaction model for Arabidopsis thaliana. Rapid and sensitive RT-PCR assays were developed for viral detection, and used to access the geographical distributions. The results revealed a correlation between GSPNeV and the FYD. The viruses pose potential threats to the normal production of green Sichuan pepper in the affected areas due to their natural transmission and wide spread in fields. Collectively, our results provide useful information regarding taxonomy, transmission and pathogenicity of the viruses as well as management of the FYD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Unravelling the Single-Stranded DNA Virome of the New Zealand Blackfly
Viruses 2019, 11(6), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11060532 - 08 Jun 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Over the last decade, arthropods have been shown to harbour a rich diversity of viruses. Through viral metagenomics a large diversity of single-stranded (ss) DNA viruses have been identified. Here we examine the ssDNA virome of the hematophagous New Zealand blackfly using viral [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, arthropods have been shown to harbour a rich diversity of viruses. Through viral metagenomics a large diversity of single-stranded (ss) DNA viruses have been identified. Here we examine the ssDNA virome of the hematophagous New Zealand blackfly using viral metagenomics. Our investigation reveals a plethora of novel ssDNA viral genomes, some of which cluster in the viral families Genomoviridae (n = 9), Circoviridae (n = 1), and Microviridae (n = 108), others in putative families that, at present, remain unclassified (n = 20) and one DNA molecule that only encodes a replication associated protein. Among these novel viruses, two putative multi-component virus genomes were recovered, and these are most closely related to a Tongan flying fox faeces-associated multi-component virus. Given that the only other known multi-component circular replication-associated (Rep) protein encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA viruses infecting plants are in the families Geminiviridae (members of the genus Begomovirus) and Nanoviridae, it appears these are likely a new multi-component virus group which may be associated with animals. This study reiterates the diversity of ssDNA viruses in nature and in particular with the New Zealand blackflies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessCommunication
Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing Reveals Individual Composition and Dynamics of Anelloviruses during Autologous Stem Cell Transplant Recipient Management
Viruses 2018, 10(11), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110633 - 14 Nov 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Over recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of the anelloviruses, the major component of the human virome, for the prediction of post-transplant complications such as severe infections. Due to an important diversity, the comprehensive characterization of this viral family [...] Read more.
Over recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of the anelloviruses, the major component of the human virome, for the prediction of post-transplant complications such as severe infections. Due to an important diversity, the comprehensive characterization of this viral family over time has been poorly studied. To overcome this challenge, we used a metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) approach with the aim of determining the individual anellovirus profile of autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) patients. We conducted a prospective pilot study on a homogeneous patient cohort regarding the chemotherapy regimens that included 10 ASCT recipients. A validated viral mNGS workflow was used on 108 plasma samples collected at 11 time points from diagnosis to 90 days post-transplantation. A complex interindividual variability in terms of abundance and composition was noticed. In particular, a strong sex effect was found and confirmed using quantitative PCR targeting torque teno virus, the most abundant anellovirus. Interestingly, an important turnover in the anellovirus composition was observed during the course of the disease revealing a strong intra-individual variability. Although more studies are needed to better understand anellovirus dynamics, these findings are of prime importance for their future use as biomarkers of immune competence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Virus Metagenomics in Farm Animals: A Systematic Review
Viruses 2020, 12(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010107 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
A majority of emerging infectious diseases are of zoonotic origin. Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing (mNGS) has been employed to identify uncommon and novel infectious etiologies and characterize virus diversity in human, animal, and environmental samples. Here, we systematically reviewed studies that performed viral mNGS [...] Read more.
A majority of emerging infectious diseases are of zoonotic origin. Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing (mNGS) has been employed to identify uncommon and novel infectious etiologies and characterize virus diversity in human, animal, and environmental samples. Here, we systematically reviewed studies that performed viral mNGS in common livestock (cattle, small ruminants, poultry, and pigs). We identified 2481 records and 120 records were ultimately included after a first and second screening. Pigs were the most frequently studied livestock and the virus diversity found in samples from poultry was the highest. Known animal viruses, zoonotic viruses, and novel viruses were reported in available literature, demonstrating the capacity of mNGS to identify both known and novel viruses. However, the coverage of metagenomic studies was patchy, with few data on the virome of small ruminants and respiratory virome of studied livestock. Essential metadata such as age of livestock and farm types were rarely mentioned in available literature, and only 10.8% of the datasets were publicly available. Developing a deeper understanding of livestock virome is crucial for detection of potential zoonotic and animal pathogens and One Health preparedness. Metagenomic studies can provide this background but only when combined with essential metadata and following the “FAIR” (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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Open AccessReview
Human Virome and Disease: High-Throughput Sequencing for Virus Discovery, Identification of Phage-Bacteria Dysbiosis and Development of Therapeutic Approaches with Emphasis on the Human Gut
Viruses 2019, 11(7), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11070656 - 18 Jul 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
The virome is comprised of endogenous retroviruses, eukaryotic viruses, and bacteriophages and is increasingly being recognized as an essential part of the human microbiome. The human virome is associated with Type-1 diabetes (T1D), Type-2 diabetes (T2D), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Human Immunodeficiency Virus [...] Read more.
The virome is comprised of endogenous retroviruses, eukaryotic viruses, and bacteriophages and is increasingly being recognized as an essential part of the human microbiome. The human virome is associated with Type-1 diabetes (T1D), Type-2 diabetes (T2D), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, and cancer. Increasing evidence also supports trans-kingdom interactions of viruses with bacteria, small eukaryotes and host in disease progression. The present review focuses on virus ecology and biology and how this translates mostly to human gut virome research. Current challenges in the field and how the development of bioinformatic tools and controls are aiding to overcome some of these challenges are also discussed. Finally, the present review also focuses on how human gut virome research could result in translational and clinical studies that may facilitate the development of therapeutic approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viromics: Approaches, Advances, and Applications)
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