Isolation and characterization of Nylanderia fulva virus 1, a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus infecting the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva

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Abstract

We report the discovery of Nylanderia fulva virus 1 (NfV-1), the first virus identified and characterized from the ant, Nylanderia fulva. The NfV-1 genome (GenBank accession KX024775) is 10,881 nucleotides in length, encoding one large open reading frame (ORF). Helicase, protease, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and jelly-roll capsid protein domains were recognized within the polyprotein. Phylogenetic analysis placed NfV-1 in an unclassified clade of viruses. Electron microscopic examination of negatively stained samples revealed particles with icosahedral symmetry with a diameter of 28.7±1.1 nm. The virus was detected by RT-PCR in larval, pupal, worker and queen developmental stages. However, the replicative strand of NfV-1 was only detected in larvae. Vertical transmission did not appear to occur, but horizontal transmission was facile. The inter-colonial field prevalence of NfV-1 was 52±35% with some local infections reaching 100%. NfV-1 was not detected in limited samples of other Nylanderia species or closely related ant species.

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Valles, S. M., Oi, D. H., Becnel, J. J., Wetterer, J. K., LaPolla, J. S., & Firth, A. E. (2016). Isolation and characterization of Nylanderia fulva virus 1, a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus infecting the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva. Virology, 496, 244–254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2016.06.014

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