Molecular surveillance and phylogenetic analysis of Old World arenaviruses in Zambia.
ABSTRACT In order to survey arenaviruses in the Republic of Zambia, we captured 335 rodents from three cities between 2010 and 2011. Eighteen Luna virus (LUNV) and one lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-related virus RNAs were detected by one-step RT-PCR from Mastomys natalensis and Mus minutoides, respectively. Four LUNV strains and one LCMV-related virus were isolated, and the whole genome nucleotide sequence was determined by pyrosequencing. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the LUNV clade consists of two branches that are distinguished by geographical location and that the LCMV-related virus belongs to the LCMV clade, but diverges from the typical LCMVs. Comparison of nucleoprotein amino acid sequences indicated that the LCMV-related virus could be designated a novel arenavirus, which was tentatively named as the Lunk virus. Amino acid sequences of the GP, NP, Z and L proteins showed poor similarity among the three Zambian arenavirus strains, i.e. Luna, Lunk and Lujo virus.