Sep 19, 2016

Discovery of flavivirus-derived endogenous viral elements in two Anopheles mosquito genomes supports the existence of Anopheles-associated insect-specific flaviviruses

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Sebastian Lequime, Louis Lambrechts

Abstract

The Flavivirus genus encompasses several arboviruses of public health significance such as dengue, yellow fever, and Zika viruses. It also includes insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFs) that are only capable of infecting insect hosts. The vast majority of mosquito-infecting flaviviruses have been associated with mosquito species of the Aedes and Culex genera in the Culicinae subfamily, which also includes most arbovirus vectors. Mosquitoes of the Anophelinae subfamily are not considered significant arbovirus vectors, however flaviviruses have occasionally been detected in field-caught Anopheles specimens. Whether such observations reflect occasional spillover or laboratory contamination or whether Anopheles mosquitoes are natural hosts of flaviviruses is unknown. Here, we provide in silico and in vivo evidence of transcriptionally active, flavivirus-derived endogenous viral elements (EVEs) in the genome of Anopheles minimus and Anopheles sinensis . Such non-retroviral endogenization of RNA viruses is consistent with a shared evolutionary history between flaviviruses and Anopheles mosquitoes. Phylogenetic analyses of the two newly described EVEs support the existence of a distinct clade of Anopheles -associated ISFs.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Dengue Fever
In Vivo
Subfamily Anophelinae
Virus
Genome
RNA Viruses
Subfamily Culicinae
Phylogenetic Analysis
Laboratory
Genetic Vectors

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