Hantavirus evolution in relation to its rodent and insectivore hosts: no evidence for codivergence.
ABSTRACT Hantaviruses are considered one of the best examples of a long-term association between RNA viruses and their hosts. Based on the appearance of strong host specificity, it has been suggested that hantaviruses cospeciated with the rodents and insectivores they infect since these mammals last shared a common ancestor, approximately 100 million years ago. We tested this hypothesis of host-virus codivergence in two ways: 1) we used cophylogenetic reconciliation analysis to assess the fit of the virus tree onto that of the host and 2) we estimated the evolutionary rates and divergence times for the Hantavirus genus using a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo method and similarly compared these with those of their hosts. Our reconciliation analysis provided no evidence for a history of codivergence between hantaviruses and their hosts. Further, the divergence times for the Hantavirus genus were many orders of magnitude too recent to correspond with the timescale of their hosts' speciation. We therefore propose that apparent similarities between the phylogenies of hantaviruses and their mammalian hosts are the result of a more recent history of preferential host switching and local adaptation. Based on the presence of clade-defining amino acids in all genomic segments, we propose that the patterns of amino acid replacement in these viruses are also compatible with a history of host-specific adaptation.
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ABSTRACT: Because most extant viruses mutate rapidly and lack a true fossil record, their deep evolution and long-term substitution rates remain poorly understood. In addition to retroviruses, which rely on chromosomal integration for their replication, many other viruses replicate in the nucleus of their host's cells and are therefore prone to endogenization, a process that involves integration of viral DNA into the host's germline genome followed by long-term vertical inheritance. Such endogenous viruses are highly valuable as they provide a molecular fossil record of past viral invasions, which may be used to decipher the origins and long-term evolutionary characteristics of modern pathogenic viruses. Hepadnaviruses (Hepadnaviridae) are a family of small, partially double-stranded DNA viruses that include hepatitis B viruses. Here we report the discovery of endogenous hepadnaviruses in the genome of the zebra finch. We used a combination of cross-species analysis of orthologous insertions, molecular dating, and phylogenetic analyses to demonstrate that hepadnaviruses infiltrated repeatedly the germline genome of passerine birds. We provide evidence that some of the avian hepadnavirus integration events are at least 19 My old, which reveals a much deeper ancestry of Hepadnaviridae than could be inferred based on the coalescence times of modern hepadnaviruses. Furthermore, the remarkable sequence similarity between endogenous and extant avian hepadnaviruses (up to 75% identity) suggests that long-term substitution rates for these viruses are on the order of 10(-8) substitutions per site per year, which is a 1,000-fold slower than short-term rates estimated based on the sequences of circulating hepadnaviruses. Together, these results imply a drastic shift in our understanding of the time scale of hepadnavirus evolution, and suggest that the rapid evolutionary dynamics characterizing modern avian hepadnaviruses do not reflect their mode of evolution on a deep time scale.PLoS Biology 01/2010; 8(9). · 11.45 Impact Factor
Article: Shared ancestry between a newfound mole-borne hantavirus and hantaviruses harbored by cricetid rodents.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Discovery of genetically distinct hantaviruses in multiple species of shrews (order Soricomorpha, family Soricidae) and moles (family Talpidae) contests the conventional view that rodents (order Rodentia, families Muridae and Cricetidae) are the principal reservoir hosts and suggests that the evolutionary history of hantaviruses is far more complex than previously hypothesized. We now report on Rockport virus (RKPV), a hantavirus identified in archival tissues of the eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) collected in Rockport, TX, in 1986. Pairwise comparison of the full-length S, M, and L genomic segments indicated moderately low sequence similarity between RKPV and other soricomorph-borne hantaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses, using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, showed that RKPV shared a most recent common ancestor with cricetid-rodent-borne hantaviruses. Distributed widely across the eastern United States, the fossorial eastern mole is sympatric and syntopic with cricetid rodents known to harbor hantaviruses, raising the possibility of host-switching events in the distant past. Our findings warrant more-detailed investigations on the dynamics of spillover and cross-species transmission of present-day hantaviruses within communities of rodents and moles.Journal of Virology 06/2011; 85(15):7496-503. · 5.40 Impact Factor
Article: Novel arenavirus sequences in Hylomyscus sp. and Mus (Nannomys) setulosus from Côte d'Ivoire: implications for evolution of arenaviruses in Africa.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This study aimed to identify new arenaviruses and gather insights in the evolution of arenaviruses in Africa. During 2003 through 2005, 1,228 small mammals representing 14 different genera were trapped in 9 villages in south, east, and middle west of Côte d'Ivoire. Specimens were screened by pan-Old World arenavirus RT-PCRs targeting S and L RNA segments as well as immunofluorescence assay. Sequences of two novel tentative species of the family Arenaviridae, Menekre and Gbagroube virus, were detected in Hylomyscus sp. and Mus (Nannomys) setulosus, respectively. Arenavirus infection of Mus (Nannomys) setulosus was also demonstrated by serological testing. Lassa virus was not found, although 60% of the captured animals were Mastomys natalensis. Complete S RNA and partial L RNA sequences of the novel viruses were recovered from the rodent specimens and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. Gbagroube virus is a closely related sister taxon of Lassa virus, while Menekre virus clusters with the Ippy/Mobala/Mopeia virus complex. Reconstruction of possible virus-host co-phylogeny scenarios suggests that, within the African continent, signatures of co-evolution might have been obliterated by multiple host-switching events.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e20893. · 4.09 Impact Factor