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J Virol. 2012 Oct;86(20):11171-82. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Cross-species transmission in the speciation of the currently known murinae-associated hantaviruses.

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State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Zoonoses, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China.


To gain more insight into the phylogeny of Dabieshan virus (DBSV), carried by Niviventer confucianus and other Murinae-associated hantaviruses, genome sequences of novel variants of DBSV were recovered from Niviventer rats trapped in the mountainous areas of Wenzhou, China. Genetic analyses show that all known genetic variants of DBSV, including the ones identified in this study, are distinct from other Murinae-associated hantaviruses. DBSV variants show geographic clustering and high intraspecies diversity. The data suggest that DBSV is a distinct species in the genus Hantavirus. Interestingly, DBSV shows the highest sequence identity to Hantaan virus (HTNV), with a >7% difference in the sequences of the N, GPC, and L proteins, while N. confucianus is more closely related to Rattus norvegicus (the host of Seoul virus [SEOV]) than to Apodemus agrarius (the host of HTNV and Saaremaa virus [SAAV]). Further genetic analyses of all known Murinae-associated hantaviruses (both established and tentative species) show that many of them, including DBSV, may have originated from host switching. The estimation of evolutionary rates and divergence time supports the role of cross-species transmission in the evolution of Murinae-associated hantaviruses. The detection of positive selection suggests that genetic drift may contribute to the speciation of Murinae-associated hantaviruses and that adaptation has a role as well.

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