Transcripts similar to those that encode the nonstructural (NS) proteins NS3 and NS5 from flaviviruses were found in a salivary gland (SG) complementary DNA (cDNA) library from the cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus
. Tick extracts were cultured with cells to enable the isolation of viruses capable of replicating in cultured invertebrate and vertebrate cells. Deep sequencing of the viral RNA isolated from culture supernatants provided the complete coding sequences for the NS3 and NS5 proteins and their molecular characterisation confirmed similarity with the NS3 and NS5 sequences from other flaviviruses. Despite this similarity, phylogenetic analyses revealed that this potentially novel virus may be a highly divergent member of the genus Flavivirus. Interestingly, we detected the divergent NS3 and NS5 sequences in ticks collected from several dairy farms widely distributed throughout three regions of Brazil. This is the first report of flavivirus-like transcripts in R. microplus
ticks. This novel virus is a potential arbovirus because it replicated in arthropod and mammalian cells; furthermore, it was detected in a cDNA library from tick SGs and therefore may be present in tick saliva. It is important to determine whether and by what means this potential virus is transmissible and to monitor the virus as a potential emerging tick-borne zoonotic pathogen.