Person:
Benítez Rico, Laura

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First Name
Laura
Last Name
Benítez Rico
Affiliation
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Ciencias Biológicas
Department
Genética, Fisiología y Microbiología
Area
Microbiología
Identifiers
UCM identifierORCIDScopus Author IDDialnet IDGoogle Scholar ID

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • 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 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.