1887

Abstract

Shrews (family Soricidae) have already been reported to host microorganisms pathogenic for humans. In an effort to search for additional infectious agents with zoonotic potential, we detected polyomaviruses (PyVs) in common shrew, crowned shrew, and pygmy shrew (Sorex araneus, S. coronatus and S. minutus). From these, 11 full circular genomes were determined. Phylogenetic analysis based on large T protein sequences showed that these novel PyVs form a separate clade within the genus Alphapolyomavirus. Within this clade, the phylogenetic relationships suggest host-virus co-divergence. Surprisingly, one PyV from common shrew showed a genomic sequence nearly identical to that of the human polyomavirus 12 (HPyV12). This indicated that HPyV12 is a variant of a non-human PyV that naturally infects shrews. Whether HPyV12 is a bona fide human-tropic polyomavirus arising from a recent shrew-to-human transmission event or instead reflects a technical artefact, such as consumable contamination with shrew material, needs further investigation.

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2017-11-02
2019-10-14
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