Highly divergent hepaciviruses from african cattleстатья

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[1] Highly divergent hepaciviruses from african cattle / V. M. Corman, A. Grundhoff, C. Baechlein et al. // Journal of Virology. — 2015. — Vol. 89, no. 11. — P. 5876–5882. The hepatitis C virus (HCV; genus Hepacivirus) is a highly relevant human pathogen. Unique hepaciviruses (HV) were discovered recently in animal hosts. The direct ancestor of HCV has not been found, but the genetically most closely related animal HVs exist in horses. To investigate whether other peridomestic animals also carry HVs, we analyzed sera from Ghanaian cattle for HVs by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). Nine of 106 specimens from different sampling sites contained HV RNA (8.5%) at median viral loads of 1.6 × 105 copies/ml. Infection seemed unrelated to cattle age and gender. Near-full-genome sequencing of five representative viruses confirmed taxonomic classifications. Cattle HVs formed two distinct phylogenetic lineages that differed by up to 17.7% on the nucleotide level in the polyprotein-encoding region, suggesting cocirculation of different virus subtypes. A conserved microRNA122-binding site in the 5′ internal ribosomal entry site suggested liver tropism of cattle HVs. Phylogenetic analyses suggested the circulation of HVs in cattle for several centuries. Cattle HVs were genetically highly divergent from all other HVs, including HCV. HVs from genetically related equine and bovine hosts were not monophyletic, corroborating host shifts during the evolution of the genus Hepacivirus. Similar to equine HVs, the genetic diversity of cattle HVs was low compared to that of HCV genotypes. This suggests an influence of the human-modified ecology of peridomestic animals on virus diversity. Further studies should investigate the occurrence of cattle HVs in other geographic areas and breeds, virus pathogenicity in cattle, and the potential exposure of human risk groups, such as farmers, butchers, and abattoir workers. [ DOI ]

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