Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2005
Publication Date: 3/25/2005
Citation: Valles, S.M., Strong, C.A. 2005. Solenopsis invicta virus-1A (SINV-1A): Distinct species or genotype of SINV-1?. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 88: 232-237. Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant was introduced into the United States in the 1930s and currently infests about 300 million acres. It causes significant economic losses in livestock and agricultural production and poses a serious threat to human health. USDA-ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (Gainesville, FL) have discovered a new RNA virus in the fire ant. The new virus may be a distinct species or a variant of the fire ant virus, Solenopsis invicta virus-1 (SINV-1). Part of the genome of the virus was sequenced and studies suggest that the virus may be an excellent new biological control agent for fire ants.
Technical Abstract: We have cloned and sequenced a 2,845 bp cDNA representing the 3' end of a new picorna-like virus species or genotype of Solenopsis invicta virus-1 (SINV-1). Analysis of the nucleotide sequence revealed 1 large open reading frame. The amino acid sequence of the translated open reading frame was most identical to structural proteins of SINV-1 (97%), followed by the Kashmir bee virus (KBV, 30%) and acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV, 29%). A PCR-based survey for SINV-1 and the new species or genotype (tentatively named Solenopsis invicta virus-1A, SINV-1A) using RNA extracts of S. invicta collected around Gainesville, Florida, revealed a mean colony infestation rate of 25% by SINV-1 and 55% by SINV-1A. Both SINV-1 and SINV-1A were found to co-infect 17.5% of the nests surveyed. Although the data preclude definitive species or genotype assignment, there is no doubt that SINV-1A is distinct from SINV-1, identifiable, and infects S. invicta. We provide a simple RT-PCR technique capable of discerning SINV-1 and SINV-1A infection of S. invicta.