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Infect Genet Evol. 2016 Sep;43:343-6. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2016.06.013. Epub 2016 Jun 6.

Divergent hepatitis E virus in birds of prey, common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and red-footed falcon (F. vespertinus), Hungary.

Author information

1
Regional Laboratory of Virology, National Reference Laboratory of Gastroenteric Viruses, ÁNTSZ Regional Institute of State Public Health Service, Pécs, Hungary, University of Pécs Medical Center, Pécs, Hungary. Electronic address: reuter.gabor@gmail.com.
2
Regional Laboratory of Virology, National Reference Laboratory of Gastroenteric Viruses, ÁNTSZ Regional Institute of State Public Health Service, Pécs, Hungary, University of Pécs Medical Center, Pécs, Hungary.
3
Department of Pathophysiology, University of Pécs Medical Center, Hungary; Hungarian Nature Research Society, (HuNaReS), Ajka, Hungary.
4
Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA.
5
Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA; University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV), family Hepeviridae, has raised considerable public health concerns because of its zoonotic potential; however, the animal to animal transmissions and the natural chain of hepevirus infections in wildlife are less known. Using random amplification and next generation sequencing technology a novel HEV in birds of prey was serendipitously identified in Hungary. HEV RNA was detected in total of 2 (18%) of the 11 and 1 (14%) of the 7 faecal samples from common kestrels and red-footed falcons, respectively. High faecal viral load (2.03×10(8) genomic copies/ml) measured by qPCR. The complete genome of strain kestrel/MR22/2014/HUN (KU670940) HEV is 7033-nt long including a 35-nt 5'end and a 63-nt 3'end (excluding the poly(A)-tail). Sequence analyses indicated that the ORF1 (4920nt/639 aa), ORF2 (1989nt/662 aa) and ORF3 (360nt/119aa) proteins of kestrel/MR22/2014/HUN shared the highest identity (58.1%, 66.8% and 28.5%) to the corresponding proteins of ferret, rat and human genotype 4 Orthohepeviruses, respectively. Interestingly, the ORF3 protein is potentially initiated with leucine (L) using an alternate, non-AUG (UUG) start codon. This study reports the identification and complete genome characterization of a novel Orthohepevirus species related to mammalian HEVs in birds of prey. It is important to recognize all potential hosts, reservoirs and spreaders in nature and to reconstruct the phylogenetic history of hepeviruses.

KEYWORDS:

Bird; Falcon; Hepatitis E virus; Kestrel; Orthohepevirus; Wildlife

PMID:
27282471
DOI:
10.1016/j.meegid.2016.06.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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