Two new rhabdoviruses were identified infecting the Atlantic Salmon louse. Rhabdoviruses carry their genetic material in the form of negative-sense single-stranded RNA. They typically carry genes for five proteins: large protein (L), glycoprotein (G), nucleoprotein (N), phosphoprotein (P), and matrix protein (M). The nearly complete genomes, around 11,600 nucleotides encoding the five typical rhabdovirus genes N, P, M, G and L, of two new species were obtained. The genome sequences, the putative protein sequences, and predicted transcription strategies for the two viruses are presented. Phylogenetic analyses of the putative N and L proteins indicated closest similarity to the Sigmavirus/Dimarhabdoviruses cluster, however, the genomes of both new viruses are significantly diverged with no close affinity to any of the existing rhabdovirus genera. In situ hybridization, targeting the N protein genes, showed that the viruses were present in the same glandular tissues as the observed rhabdovirus-like particles. Both viruses were present in all developmental stages of the salmon louse, and associated with necrosis of glandular tissues in adult lice. As the two viruses were present in eggs and free-living planktonic stages of the salmon louse vertical, transmission of the viruses are suggested. The tissues of the lice host, Atlantic salmon, with the exception of skin at the attachment site for the salmon louse chalimi stages, were negative for these two viruses. Økland AL, Nylund A, Øvergård A-C, et al. Genomic Characterization and Phylogenetic Position of Two New Species in Rhabdoviridae Infecting the Parasitic Copepod, Salmon Louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis). Kapoor A, ed. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(11):e112517. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112517.
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