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Divergent bornaviruses from Australian carpet pythons with neurological disease date the origin of extant Bornaviridae prior to the end-Cretaceous extinction

Hyndman, T.H., Shilton, C.M., Stenglein, M.D. and Wellehan, J.F.X. (2018) Divergent bornaviruses from Australian carpet pythons with neurological disease date the origin of extant Bornaviridae prior to the end-Cretaceous extinction. PLOS Pathogens, 14 (2). e1006881.

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Abstract

Tissue samples from Australian carpet pythons (Morelia spilota) with neurological disease were screened for viruses using next-generation sequencing. Coding complete genomes of two bornaviruses were identified with the gene order 3’-N-X-P-G-M-L, representing a transposition of the G and M genes compared to other bornaviruses and most mononegaviruses. Use of these viruses to search available vertebrate genomes enabled recognition of further endogenous bornavirus-like elements (EBLs) in diverse placental mammals, including humans. Codivergence patterns and shared integration sites revealed an ancestral laurasiatherian EBLG integration (77 million years ago [MYA]) and a previously identified afrotherian EBLG integration (83 MYA). The novel python bornaviruses clustered more closely with these EBLs than with other exogenous bornaviruses, suggesting that these viruses diverged from previously known bornaviruses prior to the end-Cretaceous (K-Pg) extinction, 66 MYA. It is possible that EBLs protected mammals from ancient bornaviral disease, providing a selective advantage in the recovery from the K-Pg extinction. A degenerate PCR primer set was developed to detect a highly conserved region of the bornaviral polymerase gene. It was used to detect 15 more genetically distinct bornaviruses from Australian pythons that represent a group that is likely to contain a number of novel species.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2018 Hyndman et al
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/40416
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