Caister Academic Press

Bat Polyomaviruses: A Challenge to the Strict Host-Restriction Paradigm within the Mammalian Polyomaviridae

Michael J. Carr, Gabriel Gonzalez, Emma C. Teeling and Hirofumi Sawa
from: Bats and Viruses: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Eugenia Corrales-Aguilar and Martin Schwemmle). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2020) Pages: 87-118.


Polyomaviruses (PyVs), family Polyomaviridae, are highly stable, circular, dsDNA viruses, which exhibit strict host-specificity, particularly in mammals, with cross-species transmission events leading to productive infection considered to be rare or non-existent. PyVs have, however, been identified in a diverse range of vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) and now, with the recent discovery in invertebrate species, including insects and arachnids, an ancient association with metazoan life is clear. Previous PyV studies in insectivorous and frugivorous bat species from across the globe have identified significant diversity and high rates of positivity (> 20 %) using exclusively molecular (PCR-based) approaches in bats sampled from North, Central and South America, Africa, Indonesia, New Zealand and China. No culture isolates of bat PyVs currently exist and the shortage of immortalised bat cell lines and the paucity of surveillance data in the literature from much of the Eurasian continent is striking and efforts should be made to address this dearth of knowledge in the future. In our previous studies of horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus) species in Zambia, we have provided evidence of host-switching of PyVs in mammals for the first time, indicative of a greater capacity for cross-species transmission events in the particularly speciose mammalian order Chiroptera. Our findings have implications for studies of polyomaviral evolution and, also, for the investigation of zoonotic transmission events involving high-consequence pathogens in bat hosts read more ...
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