Negevirus: A proposed new taxon of insect-specific viruses with wide geographic distribution

Nikos Vasilakis, Naomi L. Forrester, Gustavo Palacios, Farooq Nasar, Nazir Savji, Shannan L. Rossi, Hilda Guzman, Thomas G. Wood, Vsevolod Popov, Rodion Gorchakov, Ana Vázquez González, Andrew D. Haddow, Douglas M. Watts, Amelia P.A.Travassos da Rosa, Scott C. Weaver, W. Ian Lipkin, Robert B. Tesha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Six novel insect-specific viruses, isolated from mosquitoes and phlebotomine sand flies collected in Brazil, Peru, the United States, Ivory Coast, Israel, and Indonesia, are described. Their genomes consist of single-stranded, positive-sense RNAs with poly(A) tails. By electron microscopy, the virions appear as spherical particles with diameters of ~45 to 55 nm. Based on their genome organization and phylogenetic relationship, the six viruses, designated Negev, Ngewotan, Piura, Loreto, Dezidougou, and Santana, appear to form a new taxon, tentatively designated Negevirus. Their closest but still distant relatives are citrus leposis virus C (CiLV-C) and viruses in the genus Cilevirus, which are mite-transmitted plant viruses. The negeviruses replicate rapidly and to high titer (up to 1010 PFU/ml) in mosquito cells, producing extensive cytopathic effect and plaques, but they do not appear to replicate in mammalian cells or mice. A discussion follows on their possible biological significance and effect on mosquito vector competence for arboviruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2475-2488
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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