Section: Infections
Topic: Biology of interactions, Microbiology

African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest

10.24072/pcjournal.249 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 3 (2023), article no. e24.

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In this study, we used a predator-enabled metagenomics strategy to sample the virome of a remote and difficult-to-access densely forested African tropical region. Specifically, we focused our study on the use of army ants of the genus Dorylus that are obligate collective foragers and group predators that attack and overwhelm a broad array of animal prey. Using 209 army ant samples collected from 29 colonies and the virion-associated nucleic acid-based metagenomics approach, we showed that a broad diversity of bacterial, plant, invertebrate and vertebrate viral sequences were accumulated by army ants: including sequences from 157 different viral genera in 56 viral families. This suggests that using predators and scavengers such as army ants to sample broad swathes of tropical forest viromes can shed light on the composition and the structure of viral populations of these complex and inaccessible ecosystems.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.249
Type: Research article
Keywords: Army ants, predator-enabled metagenomics, virus diversity, deep tropical forests

Fritz, Matthieu 1; Reggiardo, Bérénice 2, 3; Filloux, Denis 2, 3; Claude, Lisa 2, 3; Fernandez, Emmanuel 2, 3; Mahé, Frédéric 2, 3; Kraberger, Simona 4; Custer, Joy M. 4; Becquart, Pierre 1; Mebaley, Telstar Ndong 5; Kombila, Linda Bohou 5; Lenguiya, Léadisaelle H. 6, 7; Boundenga, Larson 5, 8; Mombo, Illich M. 5; Maganga, Gael D. 5, 9; Niama, Fabien R. 6, 7; Koumba, Jean-Sylvain 5; Ogliastro, Mylène 10; Yvon, Michel 3; Martin, Darren P. 11; Blanc, Stéphane 3; Varsani, Arvind 4, 12; Leroy, Eric 1; Roumagnac, Philippe 2, 3

1 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Maladies Infectieuses et Vecteurs, Ecologie, Génétique, Evolution et Contrôle (MIVEGEC) (Université de Montpellier-IRD 224–CNRS 5290), 34394 Montpellier, France
2 CIRAD, UMR PHIM, 34090 Montpellier, France
3 PHIM Plant Health Institute, Univ Montpellier, CIRAD, INRAE, Institut Agro, IRD, Montpellier, France
4 The Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, Center for Evolution and Medicine, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
5 Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, Franceville, Gabon
6 Laboratoire National de Santé Publique, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
7 Université Marien Ngouabi, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
8 Department of Anthropology, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
9 Université des Sciences et Technique de Masuku (USTM), Institut National Supérieur d’Agronomie et de Biotechnologies (INSAB), Franceville, Gabon
10 INRAE-Université de Montpellier UMR DGIMI 34095 Montpellier, France
11 Division of Computational Biology, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Institute of infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
12 Structural Biology Research Unit, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
     author = {Fritz, Matthieu and Reggiardo, B\'er\'enice and Filloux, Denis and Claude, Lisa and Fernandez, Emmanuel and Mah\'e, Fr\'ed\'eric and Kraberger, Simona and Custer, Joy M. and Becquart, Pierre and Mebaley, Telstar Ndong and Kombila, Linda Bohou and Lenguiya, L\'eadisaelle H. and Boundenga, Larson and Mombo, Illich M. and Maganga, Gael D. and Niama, Fabien R. and Koumba, Jean-Sylvain and Ogliastro, Myl\`ene and Yvon, Michel and Martin, Darren P. and Blanc, St\'ephane and Varsani, Arvind and Leroy, Eric and Roumagnac, Philippe},
     title = {African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest},
     journal = {Peer Community Journal},
     eid = {e24},
     publisher = {Peer Community In},
     volume = {3},
     year = {2023},
     doi = {10.24072/pcjournal.249},
     url = {}
AU  - Fritz, Matthieu
AU  - Reggiardo, Bérénice
AU  - Filloux, Denis
AU  - Claude, Lisa
AU  - Fernandez, Emmanuel
AU  - Mahé, Frédéric
AU  - Kraberger, Simona
AU  - Custer, Joy M.
AU  - Becquart, Pierre
AU  - Mebaley, Telstar Ndong
AU  - Kombila, Linda Bohou
AU  - Lenguiya, Léadisaelle H.
AU  - Boundenga, Larson
AU  - Mombo, Illich M.
AU  - Maganga, Gael D.
AU  - Niama, Fabien R.
AU  - Koumba, Jean-Sylvain
AU  - Ogliastro, Mylène
AU  - Yvon, Michel
AU  - Martin, Darren P.
AU  - Blanc, Stéphane
AU  - Varsani, Arvind
AU  - Leroy, Eric
AU  - Roumagnac, Philippe
TI  - African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest
JO  - Peer Community Journal
PY  - 2023
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PB  - Peer Community In
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%A Fritz, Matthieu
%A Reggiardo, Bérénice
%A Filloux, Denis
%A Claude, Lisa
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%A Kraberger, Simona
%A Custer, Joy M.
%A Becquart, Pierre
%A Mebaley, Telstar Ndong
%A Kombila, Linda Bohou
%A Lenguiya, Léadisaelle H.
%A Boundenga, Larson
%A Mombo, Illich M.
%A Maganga, Gael D.
%A Niama, Fabien R.
%A Koumba, Jean-Sylvain
%A Ogliastro, Mylène
%A Yvon, Michel
%A Martin, Darren P.
%A Blanc, Stéphane
%A Varsani, Arvind
%A Leroy, Eric
%A Roumagnac, Philippe
%T African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest
%J Peer Community Journal
%D 2023
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%R 10.24072/pcjournal.249
%F 10_24072_pcjournal_249
Fritz, Matthieu; Reggiardo, Bérénice; Filloux, Denis; Claude, Lisa; Fernandez, Emmanuel; Mahé, Frédéric; Kraberger, Simona; Custer, Joy M.; Becquart, Pierre; Mebaley, Telstar Ndong; Kombila, Linda Bohou; Lenguiya, Léadisaelle H.; Boundenga, Larson; Mombo, Illich M.; Maganga, Gael D.; Niama, Fabien R.; Koumba, Jean-Sylvain; Ogliastro, Mylène; Yvon, Michel; Martin, Darren P.; Blanc, Stéphane; Varsani, Arvind; Leroy, Eric; Roumagnac, Philippe. African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest. Peer Community Journal, Volume 3 (2023), article  no. e24. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.249.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.infections.100077

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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