Detection and characterization of diverse alpha- and betacoronaviruses from bats in China

Abstract

Bats have been implicated as important reservoir hosts of alpha- and betacoronaviruses. In this study, diverse coronaviruses (CoVs) were detected in 50 of 951 (positive rate 5.3%) intestinal specimens of eight bat species collected in four provinces and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China by pan-coronavirus RT-PCR screening. Based on 400-nt RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) sequence analysis, eight belonged to genus Alphacoronavirus and 42 to Betacoronavirus. Among the 50 positive specimens, thirteen gave rise to CoV full-length RdRP gene amplification for further sequence comparison, of which three divergent sequences (two from a unreported province) were subjected to full genome sequencing. Two complete genomes of betacoronaviruses (JTMC15 and JPDB144) and one nearly-complete genome of alphacoronavirus (JTAC2) were sequenced and their genomic organization predicted. The present study has identified additional numbers of genetically diverse bat-borne coronaviruses with a wide distribution in China. Two new species of bat CoV, identified through sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis, are proposed.

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Correspondence to Changchun Tu.

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ORCID: 0000-0002-8134-7502

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Xu, L., Zhang, F., Yang, W. et al. Detection and characterization of diverse alpha- and betacoronaviruses from bats in China. Virol. Sin. 31, 69–77 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12250-016-3727-3

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Keywords

  • bats
  • Alphacoronavirus
  • Betacoronavirus
  • diversity