Aggregations of 27 nm virus-like particles were observed in electron microscopy images of sectioned Varroa destructor mite tissue. The scattered occurrence of individual particles and accumulation of the virions in lattices in the cytoplasm gave an apparent indication that the virus replicates in the mite. Sequence analysis of the RNA of the purified virus revealed a genome organization with high similarity to that of members of the genus Iflavirus. Phylogenetic analysis of the polymerase showed that the virus was related most closely to Deformed wing virus (DWV) and Kakugo virus (KV) of bees. The virus has a genome of 10112 nt without the poly(A) tail, with an overall RNA genome identity of 84 % to those of DWV and KV and has one large ORF, translated into a 2893 as polyprotein with an amino acid identity of 95 % to those of DWV and KV. The first 1455 nt of the ORF encoding the lower molecular mass structural proteins shows the greatest diversion from those of DWV and KV, with an RNA identity of 79 %, and translates to a polypeptide of 485 as with an identity of 90 %. The name proposed for this virus is Varroa destructor virus 1 (VDV-1). To determine whether VDV-1 replicates in mites, a selective RT-PCR was done to detect the presence of the negative-sense RNA strand. The virus isolate and the closely related DWV could be discriminated by two primer sets, each specific to one virus. Both viruses replicated in the population of the mite species studied.
- complete genome sequence
- infecting rna viruses