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High genetic structuring of Tula hantavirus

Abstract

Tula virus (TULV) is a vole-associated hantavirus with low or no pathogenicity to humans. In the present study, 686 common voles (Microtus arvalis), 249 field voles (Microtus agrestis) and 30 water voles (Arvicola spec.) were collected at 79 sites in Germany, Luxembourg and France and screened by RT-PCR and TULV-IgG ELISA. TULV-specific RNA and/or antibodies were detected at 43 of the sites, demonstrating a geographically widespread distribution of the virus in the studied area. The TULV prevalence in common voles (16.7 %) was higher than that in field voles (9.2 %) and water voles (10.0 %). Time series data at ten trapping sites showed evidence of a lasting presence of TULV RNA within common vole populations for up to 34 months, although usually at low prevalence. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated a strong genetic structuring of TULV sequences according to geography and independent of the rodent species, confirming the common vole as the preferential host, with spillover infections to co-occurring field and water voles. TULV phylogenetic clades showed a general association with evolutionary lineages in the common vole as assessed by mitochondrial DNA sequences on a large geographical scale, but with local-scale discrepancies in the contact areas.

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Acknowledgments

The work in the laboratory of RGU was supported by the Robert Koch-Institut with funds from the German Ministry of Public Health (grant no. 1362/1-924 and 1362/1-980 to RGU), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SPP 1596 “Ecology and Species Barriers in Emerging Viral Diseases”, UL 405/1-1 to RGU), and the EU grants APHAEA (grant no. 2811ERA117) and FP7-261504 EDENext and is catalogued by the EDENext Steering Committee as EDENext368 (http://www.edenext.eu). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. Collection of samples in Jeeser, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, were done in the frame of the UFOPLAN project 3709 41 401 granted to Jens Jacob. Moritz Saxenhofer was supported by grant 31003A-149585 from the Swiss National Science Foundation to Gerald Heckel. The technical assistance of Sybille Herzog, Jorge A. Encarnação, Séverine Murri, Daniel Nobach, Markus Eickmann, Manon Bourg, Kathrin Baumann, Samuel Bernstein, Thomas Büchner, Angele Breithaupt, Fabian Deutskens, Paul Dremsek, Ulrike Duve, Sylvia Ferguson, Henrike Gregersen, Bärbel Hammerschmidt, Dörte Kaufmann, Robert Klopfleisch, Nastasja G. Kratzmann, Christian Kretzschmar, Jens Lewitzki, Christina Maresch, Marc Mertens, Joachim Meyer, Ulrike M. Rosenfeld, Josephine Schlosser, Julia Schneider, Josephine Schröder, Kati Sevke, Hanan Sheikh Ali, Jens P. Teifke, Franziska Thomas, Ute Wessels, Daniel Windolph, and Theres Wollny in rodent dissection and the collection and provision of rodents by Sabine Atger, Laurent Crespin, Anja Globig, Torsten Heidecke, Dietrich Heidecke, Anika Hellemann, Christian Imholt, Martin Kaatz, Joachim Kramer, Thilo Liesenjohann, Paul-Walter Löhr, Jennifer Maiano, Sébastien Masseglia, Lutz Ohlmeyer, Angélique Pion, Daniela Reil, Dirk Steinhauer, Alexandre Teynier, Jörg Thiel, Cornelia Triebenbacher, Elise Vaumourin, Matthias Wenk and the RIFCON Field Study Team is kindly acknowledged. The authors would like to thank Martin H. Groschup and Noel Tordo for support, and Nicole Neumann for generation of Figures 1 and 4.

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Correspondence to Rainer G. Ulrich.

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Schmidt, S., Saxenhofer, M., Drewes, S. et al. High genetic structuring of Tula hantavirus. Arch Virol 161, 1135–1149 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-016-2762-6

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Keywords

  • Bank Vole
  • Trapping Site
  • Haemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome
  • Reservoir Host
  • Water Vole