Isolation and partial characterization of a highly divergent lineage of hantavirus from the European mole (Talpa europaea)

Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 19;6:21119. doi: 10.1038/srep21119.


Genetically distinct hantaviruses have been identified in five species of fossorial moles (order Eulipotyphla, family Talpidae) from Eurasia and North America. Here, we report the isolation and partial characterization of a highly divergent hantavirus, named Nova virus (NVAV), from lung tissue of a European mole (Talpa europaea), captured in central Poland in August 2013. Typical hantavirus-like particles, measuring 80-120 nm in diameter, were found in NVAV-infected Vero E6 cells by transmission electron microscopy. Whole-genome sequences of the isolate, designated NVAV strain Te34, were identical to that amplified from the original lung tissue, and phylogenetic analysis of the full-length L, M and S segments, using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, showed that NVAV was most closely related to hantaviruses harbored by insectivorous bats, consistent with an ancient evolutionary origin. Infant Swiss Webster mice, inoculated with NVAV by the intraperitoneal route, developed weight loss and hyperactivity, beginning at 16 days, followed by hind-limb paralysis and death. High NVAV RNA copies were detected in lung, liver, kidney, spleen and brain by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Neuropathological examination showed astrocytic and microglial activation and neuronal loss. The first mole-borne hantavirus isolate will facilitate long-overdue studies on its infectivity and pathogenic potential in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Genes, Viral
  • Genome, Viral
  • Hantavirus Infections / pathology
  • Hantavirus Infections / virology
  • Mice
  • Moles / virology*
  • Orthohantavirus / classification*
  • Orthohantavirus / genetics
  • Orthohantavirus / isolation & purification
  • Phylogeny
  • Poland
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA