Six novel insect-specific viruses, isolated from mosquitoes and phlebotomine sand flies collected in Brazil, Peru, the United States, Ivory Coast, Israel, and Indonesia, are described. Their genomes consist of single-stranded, positive-sense RNAs with poly(A) tails. By electron microscopy, the virions appear as spherical particles with diameters of ~45 to 55 nm. Based on their genome organization and phylogenetic relationship, the six viruses, designated Negev, Ngewotan, Piura, Loreto, Dezidougou, and Santana, appear to form a new taxon, tentatively designated Negevirus. Their closest but still distant relatives are citrus leposis virus C (CiLV-C) and viruses in the genus Cilevirus, which are mite-transmitted plant viruses. The negeviruses replicate rapidly and to high titer (up to 1010 PFU/ml) in mosquito cells, producing extensive cytopathic effect and plaques, but they do not appear to replicate in mammalian cells or mice. A discussion follows on their possible biological significance and effect on mosquito vector competence for arboviruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science