Elucidation of the molecular phylogeny of shrew-borne hantaviruses in sub-Saharan Africa has been hampered by the lack of full-length viral genomes. In this report, we present the complete genome analysis of a newfound hantavirus, designated Bowé virus, detected in ethanol-fixed intercostal muscle of a Doucet's musk shrew (Crocidura douceti), captured in southwestern Guinea in February 2012. Full-length amino acid sequence comparison of the S-, M- and L-segment gene products revealed that Bowé virus differed by 24.1-53.4%, 17.0-59.9% and 14.6-39.7%, respectively, from all other representative rodent-, shrew- and mole-borne hantaviruses. Phylogenetic analysis, using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, under the GTR+I+Γ model of evolution, showed that Bowé virus shared a common ancestry with Tanganya virus, a hantavirus detected in the Therese's shrew (Crocidura theresae) in Guinea. Whole genome analysis of many more hantaviruses from sub-Saharan Africa are needed to better clarify how the radiation of African shrews might have contributed to the phylogeography of hantaviruses.
Keywords: Crocidura; Guinea; Hantavirus; Phylogeny; Shrew.
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