Changes in diversification patterns and signatures of selection during the evolution of murinae-associated hantaviruses

Viruses. 2014 Mar 10;6(3):1112-34. doi: 10.3390/v6031112.


In the last 50 years, hantaviruses have significantly affected public health worldwide, but the exact extent of the distribution of hantavirus diseases, species and lineages and the risk of their emergence into new geographic areas are still poorly known. In particular, the determinants of molecular evolution of hantaviruses circulating in different geographical areas or different host species are poorly documented. Yet, this understanding is essential for the establishment of more accurate scenarios of hantavirus emergence under different climatic and environmental constraints. In this study, we focused on Murinae-associated hantaviruses (mainly Seoul Dobrava and Hantaan virus) using sequences available in GenBank and conducted several complementary phylogenetic inferences. We sought for signatures of selection and changes in patterns and rates of diversification in order to characterize hantaviruses' molecular evolution at different geographical scales (global and local). We then investigated whether these events were localized in particular geographic areas. Our phylogenetic analyses supported the assumption that RNA virus molecular variations were under strong evolutionary constraints and revealed changes in patterns of diversification during the evolutionary history of hantaviruses. These analyses provide new knowledge on the molecular evolution of hantaviruses at different scales of time and space.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hantavirus / genetics*
  • Murinae / virology*
  • Phylogeography
  • Selection, Genetic