Generation and Characterization of Eptesicus fuscus (Big brown bat) kidney cell lines immortalized using the Myotis polyomavirus large T-antigen

J Virol Methods. 2016 Nov;237:166-173. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2016.09.008. Epub 2016 Sep 14.


It is speculated that bats are important reservoir hosts for numerous viruses, with 27 viral families reportedly detected in bats. Majority of these viruses have not been isolated and there is little information regarding their biology in bats. Establishing a well-characterized bat cell line supporting the replication of bat-borne viruses would facilitate the analysis of virus-host interactions in an in vitro model. Currently, few bat cell lines have been developed and only Tb1-Lu, derived from Tadarida brasiliensis is commercially available. Here we describe a method to establish and immortalize big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) kidney (Efk3) cells using the Myotis polyomavirus T-antigen. Subclones of this cell line expressed both epithelial and fibroblast markers to varying extents. Cell clones expressed interferon beta in response to poly(I:C) stimulation and supported the replication of four different viruses, namely, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), porcine epidemic diarrhea coronavirus (PED-CoV), Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV). To our knowledge, this is the first bat cell line from a northern latitude insectivorous bat developed using a novel technology. The cell line has the potential to be used for isolation of bat viruses and for studying virus-bat interactions in culture.

Keywords: Big brown bat; Cell-line; HSV; Kidney; MERS-CoV; PED-CoV; VSV.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line*
  • Cell Transformation, Viral*
  • Chiroptera*
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Fibroblasts / virology
  • Keratins / genetics
  • Kidney*
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / growth & development
  • Polyomavirus / growth & development
  • Polyomavirus / physiology*
  • Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus / growth & development
  • Simplexvirus / growth & development
  • Vesiculovirus / growth & development
  • Vimentin / genetics


  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming
  • Vimentin
  • Keratins