Genetic Characterization of a Novel Iflavirus Associated with Vomiting Disease in the Chinese Oak Silkmoth Antheraea pernyi
Larvae of the Chinese oak silkmoth (Antheraea pernyi) are often affected by AVD (A. pernyi vomiting disease), whose causative agent has long been suspected to be a virus. In an unrelated project we discovered a novel positive sense single-stranded RNA virus that could reproduce AVD symptoms upon injection into healthy A. pernyi larvae. The genome of this virus is 10,163 nucleotides long, has a natural poly-A tail, and contains a single, large open reading frame flanked at the 5′ and 3′ ends by untranslated regions containing putative structural elements for replication and translation of the virus genome. The open reading frame is predicted to encode a 3036 amino acid polyprotein with four viral structural proteins (VP1-VP4) located in the N-terminal end and the non-structural proteins, including a helicase, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and 3C-protease, located in the C-terminal end of the polyprotein. Putative 3C-protease and autolytic cleavage sites were identified for processing the polyprotein into functional units. The genome organization, amino acid sequence and phylogenetic analyses suggest that the virus is a novel species of the genus Iflavirus, with the proposed name of Antheraea pernyi Iflavirus (ApIV).