Novel adenoviruses in wild primates: a high level of genetic diversity and evidence of zoonotic transmissions



Wevers D, Metzger S, Babweteera F, Bieberbach M, Boesch C, Cameron K, Couacy-Hymann E, Cranfield M, Gray M, Harris LA, Head J, Jeffery KJ, Knauf S, Lankester F & Leendertz SAJ (2011) Novel adenoviruses in wild primates: a high level of genetic diversity and evidence of zoonotic transmissions. Journal of Virology, 85 (20), pp. 10774-84.

Adenoviruses (AdVs) broadly infect vertebrate hosts, including a variety of nonhuman primates (NHPs). In the present study, we identified AdVs in NHPs living in their natural habitats, and through the combination of phylogenetic analyses and information on the habitats and epidemiological settings, we detected possible horizontal transmission events between NHPs and humans. Wild NHPs were analyzed with a pan-primate AdV-specific PCR using a degenerate nested primer set that targets the highly conserved adenovirus DNA polymerase gene. A plethora of novel AdV sequences were identified, representing at least 45 distinct AdVs. From the AdV-positive individuals, 29 nearly complete hexon genes were amplified and, based on phylogenetic analysis, tentatively allocated to all known human AdV species (Human adenovirus A to Human adenovirus G [HAdV-A to -G]) as well as to the only simian AdV species (Simian adenovirus A [SAdV-A]). Interestingly, five of the AdVs detected in great apes grouped into the HAdV-A, HAdV-D, HAdV-F, or SAdV-A clade. Furthermore, we report the first detection of AdVs in New World monkeys, clustering at the base of the primate AdV evolutionary tree. Most notably, six chimpanzee AdVs of species HAdV-A to HAdV-F revealed a remarkably close relationship to human AdVs, possibly indicating recent interspecies transmission events.

Additional co-authors: Elizabeth Lonsdorf, Lawrence Mugisha, Andreas Nitsche, Patricia Reed, Martha Robbins, Dominic A. Travis, Zinta Zommers, Fabian H. Leendertz and Bernhard Ehlers

Journal of Virology: Volume 85, Issue 20

Publication date31/10/2011
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology

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Ms Kathryn Jeffery

Ms Kathryn Jeffery

Research Fellow, Biological and Environmental Sciences