A novel RNA virus in the parasitoid wasp lysiphlebus fabarum: Genomic structure, prevalence, and transmission

Martina N. Lüthi, Christoph Vorburger, Alice B. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report on a novel RNA virus infecting the wasp Lysiphlebus fabarum, a parasitoid of aphids. This virus, tentatively named “Lysiphlebus fabarum virus” (LysV), was discovered in transcriptome sequences of wasps from an experimental evolution study in which the parasitoids were allowed to adapt to aphid hosts (Aphis fabae) with or without resistance-conferring endosymbionts. Based on phylogenetic analyses of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), LysV belongs to the Iflaviridae family in the order of the Picornavirales, with the closest known relatives all being parasitoid wasp-infecting viruses. We developed an endpoint PCR and a more sensitive qPCR assay to screen for LysV in field samples and laboratory lines. These screens verified the occurrence of LysV in wild parasitoids and identified the likely wild-source population for lab infections in Western Switzerland. Three viral haplotypes could be distinguished in wild populations, of which two were found in the laboratory. Both vertical and horizontal transmission of LysV were demonstrated experimentally, and repeated sampling of laboratory populations suggests that the virus can form persistent infections without obvious symptoms in infected wasps.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalViruses
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aphid parasitoid
  • Lysiphlebus fabarum
  • RNA virus
  • Viral transmission

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