Identification and characterisation of common glow-worm RNA viruses
Viljakainen, Lumi; Borshagovski, Anna‑Maria; Saarenpää, Sami; Kaitala, Arja; Jurvansuu, Jaana (2020-01-03)
Viljakainen, L., Borshagovski, A., Saarenpää, S. et al. Identification and characterisation of common glow-worm RNA viruses. Virus Genes 56, 236–248 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11262-019-01724-5
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The common glow-worms (Lampyris noctiluca) are best known for emission of green light by their larvae and sexually active adult females. However, both their DNA and RNA viruses remain unknown. Glow-worms are virologically interesting, as they are non-social and do not feed as adults, and hence their viral transmission may be limited. We identified viral sequences from 11 different virus taxa by the RNA-sequencing of two Finnish populations of adult glow-worms. The viruses represent nine different virus families and have negative, positive, or double-stranded RNA genomes. We also found a complete retroviral genome. Similar viral sequences were found from the sequencing data of common eastern firefly of North America, a species belonging to the same family (Lampyridae) as that of the common glow-worm. On average, an individual glow-worm had seven different RNA virus types and most of them appeared to establish a stable infection since they were found from glow-worms during two consecutive years. Here we present the characterization of load, prevalence, and interactions for each virus. Most of the glow-worm RNA viruses seem to be transmitted vertically, which may reflect the biology of glow-worms as non-social capital breeders, i.e., they invest stored resources in reproduction.
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