Genomic characterization of a novel hepatovirus from great roundleaf bats in China
Wen Li, Bo Wang, Bei Li, Wei Zhang, Yan Zhu, Zheng-Li Shi, Xing-Lou Yang Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China
The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus of the genus Hepatovirus in the family Picornaviridae. HAV is a common agent causing acute liver disease worldwide and primarily transmitted by the fecal-oral route. Approximately 120 species of bats exist in China, but information on hepatovirus in bats is not reported. In this study, we collected 1,266 bat feces or fecal swab samples in eight places of seven provinces in China. Among these 1,266 samples, nine Hipposideros armiger feces samples were found positive in Xianning, Hubei. These nine positive samples shared 99% nucleotide identity with each other and 67%-69% nucleotide identities with other reported hepatoviruses. Meanwhile one complete genome of bat hepatovirus named HepV-bat3206 was amplified and analyzed. The complete genome length of HepV-bat3206 is 7,184 nucleotides and shared highest 70% similarity with the reported hepatoviruses. The phylogenetic tree showed that HepV-bat3206 is distantly related to human and primate hepatoviruses and but clustered together with bat, Tupia, and hedgehog hepatovirus H. The positive hepatovirus samples were collected in the same colony of bats in the years 2011, 2012 and 2014, suggesting a long history of circulation of hepatoviruses in this colony. Since the bat cave is a famous tourist site, some measures should be taken to prevent visitors are frequently exposed to the bat feces.