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J Virol. 2012 Apr;86(7):3819-27. doi: 10.1128/JVI.05879-11. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Sangassou virus, the first hantavirus isolate from Africa, displays genetic and functional properties distinct from those of other murinae-associated hantaviruses.

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Institute of Virology, Helmut-Ruska-Haus, Charité Medical School, Berlin, Germany.


We have discovered the first indigenous African hantavirus, Sangassou virus (SANGV). The virus was isolated from an African wood mouse (Hylomyscus simus), trapped in a forest habitat in Guinea, West Africa. Here, we report on the characterization of the genetic and functional properties of the virus. The complete genome of SANGV was determined and showed typical hantavirus organization. The small (S), medium (M), and large (L) genome segments containing genes encoding nucleocapsid protein, two envelope glycoproteins, and viral polymerase were found to be 1,746, 3,650, and 6,531 nucleotides long, respectively. The exact 5' and 3' termini for all three segments of the SANGV genome were determined and were predicted to form the panhandle structures typical of bunyaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses of all three segment sequences confirmed SANGV as a Murinae-associated hantavirus most closely related to the European Dobrava-Belgrade virus. We showed, however, that SANGV uses β(1) integrin rather than β(3) integrin and decay-accelerating factor (DAF)/CD55 as an entry receptor. In addition, we demonstrated a strong induction of type III lambda interferon (IFN-λ) expression in type I IFN-deficient Vero E6 cells by SANGV. These properties are unique within Murinae-associated hantaviruses and make the virus useful in comparative studies focusing on hantavirus pathogenesis.

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