Recent Transmission of a Novel Alphacoronavirus, Bat Coronavirus HKU10, from Leschenault's Rousettes to Pomona Leaf-Nosed Bats: First Evidence of Interspecies Transmission of Coronavirus between Bats of Different Suborders


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Recent Transmission of a Novel Alphacoronavirus, Bat Coronavirus HKU10, from Leschenault's Rousettes to Pomona Leaf-Nosed Bats: First Evidence of Interspecies Transmission of Coronavirus between Bats of Different Suborders
Series Title:
Journal of Virology
Lau, Susanna, K. P.
Li, Kenneth, S. M.
Tsang, Alan K. L.
Shek, Chung-Tong
Wang, Ming
Choi, Garnet K. Y.
Guo, Rongtong
Wong, Beatrice H. L.
Poon, Rosana, W. S.
Lam, Carol S. F.
Wang, Sylvia Y. H.
Fan, Rachel Y. Y.
Chan, Kwok-Hung
Zheng, Bo-Jiang
Woo, Patrick C. Y.
Yuen, Kwok-Yung
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Novel Alphacoronavirus ( local )
Leschenault's Rousettes ( local )
Pomona Leaf-Nosed Bats ( local )
Interspecies Transmission Of Coronavirus ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


Although coronaviruses are known to infect various animals by adapting to new hosts, interspecies transmission events are still poorly understood. During a surveillance study from 2005 to 2010, a novel alphacoronavirus, BatCoV HKU10, was detected in two very different bat species, Ro-BatCoV HKU10 in Leschenault's rousettes (Rousettus leschenaulti) (fruit bats in the suborder Megachiroptera) in Guangdong and Hi-BatCoV HKU10 in Pomona leaf-nosed bats (Hipposideros pomona) (insectivorous bats in the suborder Microchiroptera) in Hong Kong. Although infected bats appeared to be healthy, Pomona leaf-nosed bats carrying Hi-BatCoV HKU10 had lower body weights than uninfected bats. To investigate possible interspecies transmission between the two bat species, the complete genomes of two Ro-BatCoV HKU10 and six Hi-BatCoV HKU10 strains were sequenced. Genome and phylogenetic analyses showed that Ro-BatCoV HKU10 and Hi-BatCoV HKU10 represented a novel alphacoronavirus species, sharing highly similar genomes except in the genes encoding spike proteins, which had only 60.5% amino acid identities. Evolution of the spike protein was also rapid in Hi-BatCoV HKU10 strains from 2005 to 2006 but stabilized thereafter. Molecular-clock analysis dated the most recent common ancestor of all BatCoV HKU10 strains to 1959 (highest posterior density regions at 95% [HPDs], 1886 to 2002) and that of Hi-BatCoV HKU10 to 1986 (HPDs, 1956 to 2004). The data suggested recent interspecies transmission from Leschenault's rousettes to Pomona leaf-nosed bats in southern China. Notably, the rapid adaptive genetic change in BatCoV HKU10 spike protein by ∼40% amino acid divergence after recent interspecies transmission was even greater than the ∼20% amino acid divergence between spike proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related Rhinolophus bat coronavirus (SARSr-CoV) in bats and civets. This study provided the first evidence for interspecies transmission of coronavirus between bats of different suborders.
Original Version:
Journal of Virology, Vol. 86, no. 21 (2012-10-06).

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