Viral Diversity of House Mice in New York City

Williams, Simon Hedley; Che, Xiaoyu; Garcia, Joel A.; Klena, John D.; Lee, Bohyun; Muller, Dorothy R.; Ulrich, Werner; Corrigan, Robert M.; Nichol, Stuart T.; Jain, Komal; Lipkin, W. Ian

The microbiome of wild Mus musculus (house mouse), a globally distributed invasive pest that resides in close contact with humans in urban centers, is largely unexplored. Here, we report analysis of the fecal virome of house mice in residential buildings in New York City, NY. Mice were collected at seven sites in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx over a period of 1 year. Unbiased high-throughput sequencing of feces revealed 36 viruses from 18 families and 21 genera, including at least 6 novel viruses and 3 novel genera. A representative screen of 15 viruses by PCR confirmed the presence of 13 of these viruses in liver. We identified an uneven distribution of diversity, with several viruses being associated with specific locations. Higher mouse weight was associated with an increase in the number of viruses detected per mouse, after adjusting for site, sex, and length. We found neither genetic footprints to known human viral pathogens nor antibodies to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

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Center for Infection and Immunity
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April 25, 2018