Insect-specific viruses (ISVs) of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti have been demonstrated to modulate transmission of arboviruses such as dengue virus (DENV) and West Nile virus by the mosquito. The diversity and composition of the virome of A. aegypti, however, remains poorly understood. In this study, we characterized Aedes anphevirus (AeAV), a negative-sense RNA virus from the order Mononegavirales. AeAV identified from Aedes cell lines was infectious to both A. aegypti and Aedes albopictus cells but not to three mammalian cell lines. To understand the incidence and genetic diversity of AeAV, we assembled 17 coding-complete and two partial genomes of AeAV from available transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) data. AeAV appears to transmit vertically and be present in laboratory colonies, wild-caught mosquitoes, and cell lines worldwide. Phylogenetic analysis of AeAV strains indicates that as the A. aegypti mosquito has expanded into the Americas and Asia-Pacific, AeAV has evolved into monophyletic African, American, and Asia-Pacific lineages. The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis restricts positive-sense RNA viruses in A. aegypti. Reanalysis of a small RNA library of A. aegypti cells coinfected with AeAV and Wolbachia produces an abundant RNA interference (RNAi) response consistent with persistent virus replication. We found Wolbachia enhances replication of AeAV compared to a tetracycline-cleared cell line, and AeAV modestly reduces DENV replication in vitro. The results from our study improve understanding of the diversity and evolution of the virome of A. aegypti and adds to previous evidence that shows Wolbachia does not restrict a range of negative-strand RNA viruses.
IMPORTANCE The mosquito Aedes aegypti transmits a number of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses), such as dengue virus and Zika virus. Mosquitoes also harbor insect-specific viruses that may affect replication of pathogenic arboviruses in their body. Currently, however, there are only a few insect-specific viruses described from A. aegypti in the literature. Here, we characterize a novel negative-strand virus, AeAV. Meta-analysis of A. aegypti samples showed that it is present in A. aegypti mosquitoes worldwide and is vertically transmitted. Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes are currently being used in biocontrol, as they effectively block transmission of several positive-sense RNA viruses in mosquitoes. Our results demonstrate that Wolbachia enhances the replication of AeAV and modestly reduces dengue virus replication in a cell line model. This study expands our understanding of the virome in A. aegypti as well as providing insight into the complexity of the Wolbachia virus restriction phenotype.