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 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Natural history of avian papillomaviruses
    (Elsevier, 2018-05-17) Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Williams, Richard Alexander John; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Papillomaviruses (Family: Papillomaviridae) are small non-enveloped viruses that cause skin and mucosa infections in diverse vertebrates. The vast majority have been detected in mammals. However, the number of papillomaviruses described in birds is growing, especially because of metagenomic studies. Seven complete genomes and one partial sequence have been described, corresponding to five papillomavirus genera. These have been detected from various sample types, including skin, internal epithelium, and faecal material, from seven highly diverse wild and captive avian species. This review summarizes the molecular epidemiology of avian papillomaviruses, their genomic organization, evolutionary history and diagnostic techniques used for detection. The most commonly detected avian papillomavirus lesions are cauliflower-shaped papillomas, or warts, found on the tarsus and digits of common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) and occasionally brambling (Fringilla montifringilla). Similar warty growths have been detected in African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) and northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), on the head and the foot, respectively. Papillomavirus has also been detected in avian tissue with no apparent lesions, similar to findings in humans and other mammals. Papillomavirus involvement was initially suspected to cause other types of lesions, such as internal papillomatosis of parrots (IPP) and proliferative pododermatitis in waterfowl. However, determined efforts failed to demonstrate papillomavirus presence. We briefly describe avian papillomavirus genomic organization and viral gene diversity. Furthermore, we performed a detailed analysis of avian papillomavirus non-coding regions and a preliminary computational analysis of their E9 proteins.
  • Publication
    A Multiplex PCR for Detection of Poxvirus and Papillomavirus in Cutaneous Warts from Live Birds and Museum Skins
    (American Association of Avian Pathologists, 2011-05-31) Pérez Tris, Javier; Williams, Richard Alexander John; Abel-Fernandez, F; Barreiro, Jose; Conesa, J J; Figuerola, Jordi; Martinez-Martınez, M; Ramírez García, Álvaro; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Viral cutaneous lesions are frequent in some bird populations, though we are generally ignorant of the causal agent. In some instances, they represent a threat to livestock and wildlife health. We present here a multiplex PCR which detects and distinguishes infection by two such agents, avipoxviruses and papillomaviruses, in avian hosts. We assayed biopsies and superficial skin swabs from field and preserved museum skin specimens. Ninety-three percent of samples from symptomatic specimens tested positive for the presence of avipox (n  =  23) or papillomavirus (n  =  5). Sixteen and five sequences, corresponding to the P4b and L1 genes, were obtained from avipox and papillomavirus, respectively. One museum specimen, of Fringilla coelebs (chaffinch), was apparently infected with both viruses. Although papillomavirus sequences proved identical to previously published sequences, four novel avipox sequences were generated and used to build a neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree. Our tree recovered a similar topology to that of several recent authors; however, we also propose here two new minor avipox clades (B1b and B3). This multiplex PCR technique shows improved sensitivity compared to other avipox and papillomavirus assays, is able to detect a wide range of avipox and papillomavirus types (it amplifies all three avian-derived papillomavirus genera described thus far and sequences from both major avipox clades), and was even able to detect ancient viral DNA contained in museum specimens of greater than 75 years antiquity for both viruses.
  • Publication
    Spatio-temporal dynamics and aetiology of proliferative leg skin lesions in wild British finches
    (Springer, 2018-10-10) Becki Lawson; Robert A. Robinson; Julia Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez; Shinto K. John; Conny Tolf; Kate Risely; Mike P. Toms; Andrew A. Cunningham; Benítez Rico, Laura; Williams, Richard Alexander John
    Proliferative leg skin lesions have been described in wild finches in Europe although there have been no large-scale studies of their aetiology or epizootiology to date. Firstly, disease surveillance, utilising public reporting of observations of live wild finches was conducted in Great Britain (GB) and showed proliferative leg skin lesions in chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) to be widespread. Seasonal variation was observed, with a peak during the winter months. Secondly, pathological investigations were performed on a sample of 39 chaffinches, four bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), one greenfinch (Chloris chloris) and one goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) with proliferative leg skin lesions and detected Cnemidocoptes sp. mites in 91% (41/45) of affected finches and from all species examined. Fringilla coelebs papillomavirus (FcPV1) PCR was positive in 74% (23/31) of birds tested: a 394 base pair sequence was derived from 20 of these birds, from all examined species, with 100% identity to reference genomes. Both mites and FcPV1 DNA were detected in 71% (20/28) of birds tested for both pathogens. Histopathological examination of lesions did not discriminate the relative importance of mite or FcPV1 infection as their cause. Development of techniques to localise FcPV1 within lesions is required to elucidate the pathological significance of FcPV1 DNA detection.
  • Publication
    A review on the prevalence of Avipoxvirus and pox-like lesions in free-living and captive wild birds
    (MDPI, 2021-04-30) Williams, Richard Alexander John; Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Avian pox is a widespread infection in birds caused by genus Avipoxvirus pathogens. It is a noteworthy, potentially lethal disease to wild and domestic hosts. It can produce two different conditions: cutaneous pox, and diphtheritic pox. Here, we carry out an exhaustive review of all cases of avian pox reported from wild birds to analyze the effect and distribution in different avian species. Avian poxvirus strains have been detected in at least 374 wild bird species, a 60% increase on a 1999 review on avian pox hosts. We also analyze epizootic cases and if this disease contributes to wild bird population declines. We frequently observe very high prevalence in wild birds in remote island groups, e.g., Hawaii, Galapagos, etc., representing a major risk for the conservation of their unique endemic avifauna. However, the difference in prevalence between islands and continents is not significant given the few available studies. Morbidity and mortality can also be very high in captive birds, due to high population densities. However, despite the importance of the disease, the current detection rate of new Avipoxvirus strains suggests that diversity is incomplete for this group, and more research is needed to clarify its real extent, particularly in wild birds.
  • Publication
    A Novel Dependoparvovirus Identified in Cloacal Swabs of Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) from Urban Areas of Spain
    (Mdpi, 2023-03-26) Christian Sánchez; José Luis Méndez; Juan Carlos Ortiz; Domenech Gómez, Ana María; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Benítez Rico, Laura
    The introduction of invasive birds into new ecosystems frequently has negative consequences for the resident populations. Accordingly, the increasing population of monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) in Europe may pose a threat because we have little knowledge of the viruses they can transmit to native naïve species. In this study, we describe a new dependoparvovirus detected by metagenomic analysis of cloacal samples from 28 apparently healthy individuals captured in urban areas of Madrid, Spain. The genomic characterization revealed that the genome encoded the NS and VP proteins typical of parvoviruses and was flanked by inverted terminal repeats. No recombination signal was detected. The phylogenetic analysis showed that it was closely related to a parvovirus isolated in a wild psittacid in China. Both viruses share 80% Rep protein sequence identity and only 64% with other dependoparvoviruses identified in Passeriformes, Anseriformes, and Piciformes and are included in a highly supported clade, which could be considered a new species. The prevalence was very low, and none of the additional 73 individuals tested positive by PCR. These results highlight the importance of exploring the viral genome in invasive species to prevent the emergence of novel viral pathogenic species.
  • Publication
    Polymerase chain reaction detection of avipox and avian papillomavirus in naturally infected wild birds: comparisons of blood, swab and tissue samples
    (Taylor & Francis Online, 2014-02-13) Williams, Richard Alexander John; Escudero Duch, Clara; Pérez Tris, Javier; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Avian poxvirus (avipox) is widely reported from avian species, causing cutaneous or mucosal lesions. Mortality rates of up to 100% are recorded in some hosts. Three major avipox clades are recognized. Several diagnostic techniques have been reported, with molecular techniques used only recently. Avipox has been reported from 278 different avian species, but only 111 of these involved sequence and/or strain identification. Collecting samples from wild birds is challenging as only few wild bird individuals or species may be symptomatic. Also, sampling regimes are tightly regulated and the most efficient sampling method, whole bird collection, is ethically challenging. In this study, three alternative sampling techniques (blood, cutaneous swabs and tissue biopsies) from symptomatic wild birds were examined. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect avipoxvirus and avian papillomavirus (which also induces cutaneous lesions in birds). Four out of 14 tissue samples were positive but all 29 blood samples and 22 swab samples were negative for papillomavirus. All 29 blood samples were negative but 6/22 swabs and 9/14 tissue samples were avipox-positive. The difference between the numbers of positives generated from tissue samples and from swabs was not significant. The difference in the avipox-positive specimens in paired swab (4/6) and tissue samples (6/6) was also not significant. These results therefore do not show the superiority of swab or tissue samples over each other. However, both swab (6/22) and tissue (8/9) samples yielded significantly more avipox-positive cases than blood samples, which are therefore not recommended for sampling these viruses.
  • Publication
    Genomic characterization of the first oral avian papillomavirus in a colony of breeding canaries (Serinus canaria)
    (Springer, 2018) Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Moens, Michaël André Jean; Callejas, Sergio; Pérez Tris, Javier; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Papillomaviruses are non-enveloped, DNA viruses that infect skin and mucosa of a wide variety of vertebrates, causing neoplasias or simply persisting asymptomatically. Avian papillomaviruses, with six fully sequenced genomes, are the second most studied group after mammalian papillomaviruses. In this study, we describe the first oral avian papillomavirus, detected in the tongue of a dead Yorkshire canary (Serinus canaria) and in oral swabs of the same bird and other two live canaries from an aviary in Madrid, Spain. Its genome is 8,071 bp and presents the canonical papillomavirus architecture with six early (E6, E7, E1, E9, E2, E4) and two late open reading frames (L1 and L2) and a long control region between L1 and E6. This new avian papillomavirus L1 gene shares a 64% pairwise identity with FcPV1 L1, so it has been classified as a new species (ScPV1) within the Ethapapillomavirus genus. Although the canary died after showing breathing problems, there is no evidence that the papillomavirus caused those symptoms so it could be part of the oral microbiota of the birds. Hence, future investigations are needed to evaluate the clinical relevance of the virus.
  • 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.