Comparative genome and evolutionary analysis of naturally occurring Beilong virus in brown and black rats

Infect Genet Evol. 2016 Nov;45:311-319. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2016.09.016. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


Recently, we reported the presence of Beilong virus in spleen and kidney samples of brown rats and black rats, suggesting that these rodents could be natural reservoirs of Beilong virus. In this study, four genomes of Beilong virus from brown rats and black rats were sequenced. Similar to the Beilong virus genome sequenced from kidney mesangial cell line culture, those of J-virus from house mouse and Tailam virus from Sikkim rats, these four genomes from naturally occurring Beilong virus also contain the eight genes (3'-N-P/V/C-M-F-SH-TM-G-L-5'). In these four genomes, the attachment glycoprotein encoded by the G gene consists of 1046 amino acids; but for the original Beilong virus genome sequenced from kidney mesangial cell line, the G CDS was predicted to be prematurely terminated at position 2205 (TGG→TAG), resulting in a 734-amino-acid truncated G protein. This phenomenon of a lack of nonsense mutation in naturally occurring Beilong viruses was confirmed by sequencing this region of 15 additional rodent samples. Phylogenetic analyses showed that the cell line and naturally occurring Beilong viruses were closely clustered, without separation into subgroups. In addition, these viruses were further clustered with J-virus and Tailam virus, with high bootstrap supports of >90%, forming a distinct group in Paramyxoviridae. Brown rats and black rats are natural reservoirs of Beilong virus. Our results also supports that the recently proposed genus, Jeilongvirus, should encompass Beilong virus, J-virus and Tailam virus as members.

Keywords: Animal RNA virus; Paramyxovirus; Rodent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Viral / genetics*
  • Paramyxoviridae / classification
  • Paramyxoviridae / genetics*
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections* / veterinary
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections* / virology
  • Phylogeny
  • Rats / virology