RNA viruses exhibit a variety of genome organization strategies, including multicomponent genomes in which each segment is packaged separately. Although multicomponent genomes are common among viruses infecting plants and fungi, their prevalence among those infecting animals remains unclear. We characterize a multicomponent RNA virus isolated from mosquitoes, designated Guaico Culex virus (GCXV). GCXV belongs to a diverse clade of segmented viruses (Jingmenvirus) related to the prototypically unsegmented Flaviviridae. The GCXV genome comprises five segments, each of which appears to be separately packaged. The smallest segment is not required for replication, and its presence is variable in natural infections. We also describe a variant of Jingmen tick virus, another Jingmenvirus, sequenced from a Ugandan red colobus monkey, thus expanding the host range of this segmented and likely multicomponent virus group. Collectively, this study provides evidence for the existence of multicomponent animal viruses and their potential relevance for animal and human health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas