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Arch Virol. 2019 Feb;164(2):509-522. doi: 10.1007/s00705-018-4099-9. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Virus discovery reveals frequent infection by diverse novel members of the Flaviviridae in wild lemurs.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 232 Elizabeth Ave., St. John's, NL, A1B 3X9, Canada. marta.canuti@gmail.com.
2
Duke Lemur Center, Duke University, 3705 Erwin Road, Durham, NC, 27705, USA.
3
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University, 3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler, Montréal, QC, H3G 1Y6, Canada.
4
Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, 3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler, Montréal, QC, H3G 1Y6, Canada.
5
Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology, Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
6
Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
7
Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, NC, 27607, USA.
8
Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 232 Elizabeth Ave., St. John's, NL, A1B 3X9, Canada.
9
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB10 1SA, UK.
10
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, Du Cane Road, London, W12 0NN, UK.
11
Department of Animal Health, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 9990 Powell Rd., Powell, OH, 43065, USA.

Abstract

Lemurs are highly endangered mammals inhabiting the forests of Madagascar. In this study, we performed virus discovery on serum samples collected from 84 wild lemurs and identified viral sequence fragments from 4 novel viruses within the family Flaviviridae, including members of the genera Hepacivirus and Pegivirus. The sifaka hepacivirus (SifHV, two genotypes) and pegivirus (SifPgV, two genotypes) were discovered in the diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema), while other pegiviral fragments were detected in samples from the indri (Indri indri, IndPgV) and the weasel sportive lemur (Lepilemur mustelinus, LepPgV). Although data are preliminary, each viral species appeared host species-specific and frequent infection was detected (18 of 84 individuals were positive for at least one virus). The complete coding sequence and partial 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) were obtained for SifHV and its genomic organization was consistent with that of other hepaciviruses, with one unique polyprotein and highly structured UTRs. Phylogenetic analyses showed the SifHV belonged to a clade that includes several viral species identified in rodents from Asia and North America, while SifPgV and IndPgV were more closely related to pegiviral species A and C, that include viruses found in humans as well as New- and Old-World monkeys. Our results support the current proposed model of virus-host co-divergence with frequent occurrence of cross-species transmission for these genera and highlight how the discovery of more members of the Flaviviridae can help clarify the ecology and evolutionary history of these viruses. Furthermore, this knowledge is important for conservation and captive management of lemurs.

PMID:
30460488
DOI:
10.1007/s00705-018-4099-9

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