Characterizing viral species in mosquitoes (Culicidae) in the Colombian Orinoco: insights from a preliminary metagenomic study

Marcela Gómez, David Martínez, Luisa Páez-Triana, Nicolás Luna, Jorge Luis De las salas, Carolina Hernández, Alexander Zamora Flórez, Marina Muñoz, Juan David Ramírez

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Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) are primary vectors of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) that pose significant public health threats. Recent advances in sequencing technology emphasize the importance of understanding the arboviruses and insect-specific viruses (ISVs) hosted by mosquitoes, collectively called the “virome”. Colombia, a tropical country with favorable conditions for the development and adaptation of multiple species of Culicidae, offers a favorable scenario for the transmission of epidemiologically important arboviruses. However, entomovirological surveillance studies are scarce in rural areas of the country, where humans, mosquitoes, and animals (both domestic and wild) coexist, leading to a higher risk of transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Thus, our study aimed to perform a preliminary metagenomic analysis of the mosquitoes of special relevance to public health belonging to the genera Ochlerotatus, Culex, Limatus, Mansonia, Psorophora, and Sabethes, within a rural savanna ecosystem in the Colombian Orinoco. We employed third-generation sequencing technology (Oxford Nanopore Technologies; ONT) to describe the virome of mosquitoes samples. Our results revealed that the virome was primarily shaped by insect-specific viruses (ISVs), with the Iflaviridae family being the most prevalent across all mosquito samples. Furthermore, we identified a group of ISVs that were common in all mosquito species tested, displaying the highest relative abundance concerning other groups of viruses. Notably, Hanko iflavirus-1 was especially prevalent in Culex eknomios (88.4%) and Ochlerotatus serratus (88.0%). Additionally, other ISVs, such as Guadalupe mosquito virus (GMV), Hubei mosquito virus1 (HMV1), Uxmal virus, Tanay virus, Cordoba virus, and Castlerea virus (all belonging to the Negevirus genus), were found as common viral species among the mosquitoes, although in lower proportions. These initial findings contribute to our understanding of ISVs within mosquito vectors of the Culicidae family in the Eastern Plains of Colombia. We recommend that future research explore deeper into ISV species shared among diverse vector species, and their potential interactions with arboviruses. In addition, we also showed the need for a thorough exploration of the influence of local rural habitat conditions on the shape of the virome in mosquito vectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22081
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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