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Hunting Drosophila viruses from wild populations: A novel isolation approach and characterisation of viruses.

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Bruner-Montero, Gaspar 
Luque, Carlos M 
Cesar, Cássia Siqueira 
Ding, Shuai Dominique 
Day, Jonathan P 


Metagenomic studies have demonstrated that viruses are extremely diverse and abundant in insects, but the difficulty of isolating them means little is known about the biology of these newly discovered viruses. To overcome this challenge in Drosophila, we created a cell line that was more permissive to infection and detected novel viruses by the presence of double-stranded RNA. We demonstrate the utility of these tools by isolating La Jolla virus (LJV) and Newfield virus (NFV) from several wild Drosophila populations. These viruses have different potential host ranges, with distinct abilities to replicate in five Drosophila species. Similarly, in some species they cause high mortality and in others they are comparatively benign. In three species, NFV but not LJV caused large declines in female fecundity. This sterilization effect was associated with differences in tissue tropism, as NFV but not LJV was able to infect Drosophila melanogaster follicular epithelium and induce follicular degeneration in the ovary. We saw a similar effect in the invasive pest of fruit crops Drosophila suzukii, where oral infection with NFV caused reductions in the fecundity, suggesting it has potential as a biocontrol agent. In conclusion, a simple protocol allowed us to isolate new viruses and demonstrate that viruses identified by metagenomics have a large effect on the fitness of the model organism D. melanogaster and related species.


Acknowledgements: Chrysoula Pitsouli kindly allowed us to use her laboratory in Cyprus. Ben Longdon and Luis Teixeira supplied fly stocks.


Animals, Female, Drosophila, Drosophila melanogaster, Insecta, Viruses

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PLoS Pathog

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2020-236)
The National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Panama (Studentship)
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (2019/03997-2)
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (2021/13166-0)
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