Viromic analysis of wastewater input to a river catchment reveals a diverse assemblage of RNA viruses

Adriaenssens, Evelien M ORCID: 0000-0003-4826-5406, Farkas, Kata, Harrison, Christian, Jones, David L, Allison, Heather E ORCID: 0000-0003-0017-7992 and McCarthy, Alan J
(2018) Viromic analysis of wastewater input to a river catchment reveals a diverse assemblage of RNA viruses. mSystems.

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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Detection of viruses in the environment is heavily dependent on PCR-based approaches that require reference sequences for primer design. While this strategy can accurately detect known viruses, it will not find novel genotypes, nor emerging and invasive viral species. In this study, we investigated the use of viromics, i.e. high-throughput sequencing of the biosphere viral fraction, to detect human/animal pathogenic RNA viruses in the Conwy river catchment area in Wales, UK. Using a combination of filtering and nuclease treatment, we extracted the viral fraction from wastewater, estuarine river water and sediment, followed by RNASeq analysis on the Illumina HiSeq platform for the discovery of RNA virus genomes. We found a higher richness of RNA viruses in wastewater samples than in river water and sediment, and assembled a complete norovirus GI.2 genome from wastewater effluent, which was not contemporaneously detected by conventional qRT-PCR. To our knowledge, this is the first environmentally-derived norovirus genome sequence to be available from a public database. The simultaneous presence of diverse rotavirus signatures in wastewater indicated the potential for zoonotic infections in the area and suggested run-off from pig farms as a possible origin of these viruses. Our results show that viromics can be an important tool in the discovery of pathogenic viruses in the environment and can be used to inform and optimize reference-based detection methods provided appropriate and rigorous controls are included.</jats:p><jats:sec id="s1"><jats:title>Importance</jats:title><jats:p>Enteric viruses cause gastro-intestinal illness and are commonly transmitted through the faecal-oral route. When wastewater is released into river systems, these viruses can contaminate the environment. Our results show that we can use viromics to find the range of potentially pathogenic viruses that are present in the environment and identify prevalent genotypes. The ultimate goal is to trace the fate of these pathogenic viruses from origin to the point where they are a threat to human health, informing reference-based detection methods and water quality management.</jats:p></jats:sec>

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 09:33
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:44
DOI: 10.1101/248203
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