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, 6 (10), e26564

A DNA Virus of Drosophila


A DNA Virus of Drosophila

Robert L Unckless. PLoS One.


Little is known about the viruses infecting most species. Even in groups as well-studied as Drosophila, only a handful of viruses have been well-characterized. A viral metagenomic approach was used to explore viral diversity in 83 wild-caught Drosophila innubila, a mushroom feeding member of the quinaria group. A single fly that was injected with, and died from, Drosophila C Virus (DCV) was added to the sample as a control. Two-thirds of reads in the infected sample had DCV as the best BLAST hit, suggesting that the protocol developed is highly sensitive. In addition to the DCV hits, several sequences had Oryctes rhinoceros Nudivirus, a double-stranded DNA virus, as a best BLAST hit. The virus associated with these sequences was termed Drosophila innubila Nudivirus (DiNV). PCR screens of natural populations showed that DiNV was both common and widespread taxonomically and geographically. Electron microscopy confirms the presence of virions in fly fecal material similar in structure to other described Nudiviruses. In 2 species, D. innubila and D. falleni, the virus is associated with a severe (∼80-90%) loss of fecundity and significantly decreased lifespan.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Electron micrograph of Drosophila innubila Nudivirus isolated from fecal material of Drosophila falleni.
Arrowheads point to virus particles.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Fitness costs of infection with DiNV.
A) Survival of wild-caught D. innubila females infected with DiNV or uninfected, diagnosed by PCR; B) actual or potential offspring production by wild-caught females: 2009 innubila – lifetime daughters produced; 2009 innubila* - daughters produced in the first 6 d after capture; 2010 innubila** - number of mature eggs in both ovaries; 2010 falleni – daughters produced in the first 10 d after capture.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Proportion survival of A) D. innubila and B) D. falleni after injection with ∼200 nL DiNV-positive filtrate.
For clarity, only virus-positive and viral buffer control are presented.

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