Benítez Rico, Laura

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First Name
Last Name
Benítez Rico
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Ciencias Biológicas
Genética, Fisiología y Microbiología
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Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Comparative metagenomics of Palearctic and Neotropical avian cloacal viromes reveal geographic bias in virus discovery
    (MDPI, 2020-11-26) Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Llanos Garrido, Alejandro; Oropesa Olmedo, David A.; Cerrada, Belén; Cea, Pablo; Moens, Michaël André Jean; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Doménech, Ana; Milá, Borja; Pérez Tris, Javier; Cadar, Daniel; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Our understanding about viruses carried by wild animals is still scarce. The viral diversity of wildlife may be best described with discovery-driven approaches to the study of viral diversity that broaden research efforts towards non-canonical hosts and remote geographic regions. Birds have been key organisms in the transmission of viruses causing important diseases, and wild birds are threatened by viral spillovers associated with human activities. However, our knowledge of the avian virome may be biased towards poultry and highly pathogenic diseases. We describe and compare the fecal virome of two passerine-dominated bird assemblages sampled in a remote Neotropical rainforest in French Guiana (Nouragues Natural Reserve) and a Mediterranean forest in central Spain (La Herrería). We used metagenomic data to quantify the degree of functional and genetic novelty of viruses recovered by examining if the similarity of the contigs we obtained to reference sequences differed between both locations. In general, contigs from Nouragues were significantly less similar to viruses in databases than contigs from La Herrería using Blastn but not for Blastx, suggesting that pristine regions harbor a yet unknown viral diversity with genetically more singular viruses than more studied areas. Additionally, we describe putative novel viruses of the families Picornaviridae, Reoviridae and Hepeviridae. These results highlight the importance of wild animals and remote regions as sources of novel viruses that substantially broaden the current knowledge of the global diversity of viruses.
  • Publication
    A Novel and Divergent Gyrovirus with Unusual Genomic Features Detected in Wild Passerine Birds from a Remote Rainforest in French Guiana
    (MDPI, 2019-12-11) Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Díaz-Piqueras, José Manuel; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Doménech, Ana; Milá, Borja; Pérez Tris, Javier; Schmidt-Chanasit, Jonas; Cadar, Daniel; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Sequence-independent amplification techniques have become important tools for virus discovery, metagenomics, and exploration of viral diversity at the global scale, especially in remote areas. Here, we describe the detection and genetic characterization of a novel gyrovirus, named GyV11, present in cloacal, oral, and blood samples from neotropical wild birds in French Guiana. The molecular epidemiology revealed the presence of GyV11 only in passerine birds from three different species at a low prevalence (0.73%). This is the first characterization and prevalence study of a gyrovirus carried out in resident wild bird populations in a remote region, and provides evidence of the fecal–oral route transmission and local circulation of the virus. The molecular phylogeny of gyroviruses reveals the existence of two distinct gyrovirus lineages in which GyV11 is phylogenetically distinct from previously reported gyroviruses. Furthermore, GyV11 is placed basal in the gyrovirus phylogeny, likely owing to its ancestral origin and marked divergence. This study also provides important insights into the ecology, epidemiology, and genomic features of gyroviruses in a remote neotropical rainforest. The pathogenesis of this virus in avian species or whether GyV11 can infect humans and/or chickens needs to be further investigated.
  • Publication
    Clinical and hematological follow-Up of long-term oral therapy with type-I interferon in cats naturally infected with feline Leukemia virus or felineiImmunodeficiency Virus
    (MDPI, 2020-08-20) Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Collado Alcalá, Victorio Manuel; Miró Corrales, Guadalupe; Martín Iniesta, Sonsoles; Benítez Rico, Laura; Doménech, Ana
    Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), two of the most important pathogens of cats, produce chronic systemic diseases with progressive death of cells involved in the immune response, ultimately leading to death. Immunostimulants is one of the few alternatives to the symptomatic treatment. In this study, 27 naturally FeLV-infected (FeLV+) and 31 naturally FIV-infected (FIV+) cats were administered orally by their owners 60 IU/day of recombinant human interferon alpha (rHuIFN-α) for four months in alternate weeks. Clinical status was evaluated and blood samples collected at four different visits or months (M): pretreatment (M0), mid-treatment (M2), end of treatment (M4), and 4–8 months after end of treatment (M10). Most cats ostensibly improved their clinical status, and many became asymptomatic. rHuIFN-α treatment improved the anemic processes observed at M0 (at least in cats with mild or moderate anemia) and leukocyte counts, including a more favorable CD4+/CD8+ ratio. An increase in the serum gammaglobulin concentration was seen in 80% of the cats. Despite observing an obvious favorable progress in the clinical, biopathological, and CD4+/CD8+ values during treatment, almost invariably all the parameters analyzed worsened after treatment discontinuation (M10), which suggests that the interferon-α protocol should be either extended or include additional cycles for a long-lasting benefit in FeLV+ and FIV+ cats.
  • Publication
    A novel group of avian astroviruses from Neotropical passerine birds broaden the diversity and host range of Astroviridae
    (Nature Research, 2019-07-02) Fernández-Correa, Izaskun; Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Doménech, Ana; Pérez Tris, Javier; Schmidt-Chanasit, Jonas; Cadar, Daniel; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Metagenomics is helping to expand the known diversity of viruses, especially of those with poorly studied hosts in remote areas. The Neotropical region harbors a considerable diversity of avian species that may play a role as both host and short-distance vectors of unknown viruses. Viral metagenomics of cloacal swabs from 50 Neotropical birds collected in French Guiana revealed the presence of four complete astrovirus genomes. They constitute an early diverging novel monophyletic clade within the Avastrovirus phylogeny, representing a putative new astrovirus species (provisionally designated as Avastrovirus 5) according to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) classifcation criteria. Their genomic organization shares some characteristics with Avastrovirus but also with Mamastrovirus. The pan-astrovirus RT-PCR analysis of the cloacal samples of 406 wild Neotropical birds showed a community-level prevalence of 4.9% (5.1% in passerines, the highest described so far in this order of birds). By screening birds of a remote region, we expanded the known host range of astroviruses to the avian families Cardinalidae, Conopophagidae, Furnariidae, Thamnophilidae, Turdidae and Tyrannidae. Our results provide important frst insights into the unexplored viral communities, the ecology, epidemiology and features of host-pathogen interactions that shape the evolution of avastroviruses in a remote Neotropical rainforest.
  • Publication
    Follow-up of viral parameters in FeLV- or FIV-Naturally infected cats treated orally with low doses of human interferon Alpha
    (MDPI, 2019-09-11) Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Collado Alcalá, Victorio Manuel; Miró Corrales, Guadalupe; Martín, Sonsoles; Benítez Rico, Laura; Doménech, Ana
    Specific treatments for the long-life infections by feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are either toxic, expensive or not too effective. Interferon α (IFN-α) is an immunomodulatory molecule which has been shown in vitro to decrease the release of infective particles. The aim of this study was to follow the progress of the clinical score and viral parameters of FeLV- and FIV-naturally infected privately owned cats treated with recombinant human IFN-α (rHuIFN-α, Roferon-A). Twenty-seven FeLV-infected cats (FeLV+) and 31 FIV-infected cats (FIV+) were enrolled in the study. Owners were instructed to orally administer 1 mL/day of 60 IU rHuIFN-α/mL in alternating weeks for four months. Blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study (M0), mid-treatment (M2), end of treatment (M4), and 6–10 months later (M10). Clinical status at these time points improved notably with rHuIFN-α treatment, regardless of the initial severity of the disease, an effect which lasted throughout the study in most animals (15 of the 16 FeLV+ symptomatic cats; 20 of the 22 FIV+ symptomatic cats) improved markedly their clinical situation. In FeLV+ cats plasma antigenemia (p27CA), reverse transcriptase (RT) activity, and proviral load decreased at M2 and M4 but increased again at M10 (“rebound effect”). The level of antigenemia or RT activity was below the detection limits in FIV+ cats, and the effect on proviral load was less marked than in FeLV+ cats. Taken together, these results indicate that rHuIFN-α is a good candidate for treating FeLV+ cats, but the “rebound effect” seen when treatment was discontinued suggests that additional studies should be conducted to clarify its effect on progression of the infection in cats.