Two novel viruses associated with the Apis mellifera pathogenic mite Varroa destructor

November 25, 2016

From: Scientific Reports

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 37710 (2016)

Sofia Levin, Noa Sela & Nor Chejanovsky


Varroa destructor infestation of Apis mellifera colonies carries and/or promotes replication of honey bee viruses like the Deformed wing virus, the Varroa destructor virus-1, the Acute bee paralysis virus, the Israeli acute bee paralysis virus and the Kashmir bee virus that have been well described and characterized; but viruses exclusively associated with Varroa were not found. To look for viruses that may associate with- or infect V. destructor we performed deep sequencing (RNA-seq) of RNA extracted from honey bees and mites in Varroa-infested untreated colonies. Comparative bioinformatic analysis of the two separate contig-assemblies generated from the sequences’ reads annotated using Blastx enabled identification of new viruses unique to Varroa and absent in A. mellifera: an Iflavirus and a virus with homology to Ixodes scapularis associated virus 2, that we named Varroa destructor virus 2 (VDV-2) and 3(VDV-3), respectively. We validated these findings sequencing the mite- and honey bee-viromes and in separate mites and honey bees randomly sampled. The complete genomes of VDV-2 and VDV-3 bear 9576 nucleotides and 4202 nucleotides, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis of VDV-3 suggests that it belongs to a new group of viruses. Our results open venues for investigating the pathogenicity of these V. destructor viruses.




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