Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

An Unconventional Flavivirus and other RNA Viruses in the Sea Cucumber (Holothuroidea; Echinodermata) Virome

Version 1 : Received: 1 September 2020 / Approved: 3 September 2020 / Online: 3 September 2020 (06:20:30 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Hewson, I.; Johnson, M.R.; Tibbetts, I.R. An Unconventional Flavivirus and Other RNA Viruses in the Sea Cucumber (Holothuroidea; Echinodermata) Virome. Viruses 2020, 12, 1057. Hewson, I.; Johnson, M.R.; Tibbetts, I.R. An Unconventional Flavivirus and Other RNA Viruses in the Sea Cucumber (Holothuroidea; Echinodermata) Virome. Viruses 2020, 12, 1057.

Journal reference: Viruses 2020, 12, 1057
DOI: 10.3390/v12091057

Abstract

Sea cucumbers (Holothuroidea; Echinodermata) are ecologically significant constituents of benthic marine habitats. We surveilled RNA viruses inhabiting 8 species (representing 4 families) of holothurian collected from four geographically distinct locations by viral metagenomics, including a single specimen of Apostichopus californicus affected by a hitherto undocumented wasting disease. The RNA virome comprised genome fragments of both single-stranded positive sense and double stranded RNA viruses, including those assigned to the Picornavirales, Ghabrivirales, and Amarillovirales. We discovered an unconventional flavivirus genome fragment which was most similar to a shark virus. Ghabivirales-like genome fragments were most similar to fungal totiviruses in both genome architecture and homology, and likely infected mycobiome constituents. Picornavirales, which are commonly retrieved in host-associated viral metagenomes, were similar to invertebrate transcriptome-derived picorna-like viruses. Sequence reads recruited from the grossly normal A. californicus metavirome to nearly all viral genome fragments recovered from the wasting-affected A. californicus. The greatest number of viral genome fragments was recovered from wasting A. californicus compared to any other surveyed holothurian, including the grossly normal A. californicus, which reflects a pattern observed in viral metagenomics study of sea star wasting. These results expand the known host range of flaviviruses, and suggest that fungi and their viruses may play roles in holothurian ecology.

Subject Areas

holothurian; Apostichopus; wasting; virus; flavivirus; totivirus

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