Genome Characterization, Prevalence and Distribution of a Macula-Like Virus from Apis mellifera and Varroa destructor



Around 14 distinct virus species-complexes have been detected in honeybees,
each with one or more strains or sub-species. Here we present the initial characterization
of an entirely new virus species-complex discovered in honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) and
varroa mite (Varroa destructor) samples from Europe and the USA. The virus has a naturally
poly-adenylated RNA genome of about 6500 nucleotides with a genome organization
and sequence similar to the Tymoviridae (Tymovirales; Tymoviridae), a predominantly
plant-infecting virus family. Literature and laboratory analyses indicated that the virus had
not previously been described. The virus is very common in French apiaries, mirroring the
results from an extensive Belgian survey, but could not be detected in equally-extensive
Swedish and Norwegian bee disease surveys. The virus appears to be closely linked
to varroa, with the highest prevalence found in varroa samples and a clear seasonal
distribution peaking in autumn, coinciding with the natural varroa population development.
Sub-genomic RNA analyses show that bees are definite hosts, while varroa is a possible
host and likely vector. The tentative name of Bee Macula-like virus (BeeMLV) is therefore
proposed. A second, distantly related Tymoviridae-like virus was also discovered in varroa
transcriptomes, tentatively named Varroa Tymo-like virus (VTLV).

 

Joachim R. de Miranda, R. Scott Cornman, Jay D. Evans, Emilia Semberg,Nizar Haddad, Peter Neumann and Laurent Gauthier (2015). Genome Characterization, Prevalence and Distribution of a Macula-Like Virus from Apis mellifera and Varroa destructor. Viruses 2015, 7, 3586-3602; doi:10.3390/v7072789

de Miranda-et-al-2015-Viruses-Macula-Like Virus.pdf
http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/7/7/2789