Evolution and Cryo-electron Microscopy Capsid Structure of a North American Bat Adenovirus and Its Relationship to Other Mastadenoviruses

J Virol. 2017 Jan 3;91(2):e01504-16. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01504-16. Print 2017 Jan 15.


Since the first description of adenoviruses in bats in 2006, a number of micro- and megabat species in Europe, Africa, and Asia have been shown to carry a wide diversity of adenoviruses. Here, we report on the evolutionary, biological, and structural characterization of a novel bat adenovirus (BtAdV) recovered from a Rafinesque's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) in Kentucky, USA, which is the first adenovirus isolated from North American bats. This virus (BtAdV 250-A) exhibits a close phylogenetic relationship with Canine mastadenovirus A (CAdV A), as previously observed with other BtAdVs. To further investigate the relationships between BtAdVs and CAdVs, we conducted mass spectrometric analysis and single-particle cryo-electron microscopy reconstructions of the BtAdV 250-A capsid and also analyzed the in vitro host ranges of both viruses. Our results demonstrate that BtAdV 250-A represents a new mastadenovirus species that, in contrast to CAdV, has a unique capsid morphology that contains more prominent extensions of protein IX and can replicate efficiently in a phylogenetically diverse range of species. These findings, in addition to the recognition that both the genetic diversity of BtAdVs and the number of different bat species from disparate geographic regions infected with BtAdVs appears to be extensive, tentatively suggest that bats may have served as a potential reservoir for the cross-species transfer of adenoviruses to other hosts, as theorized for CAdV.

Importance: Although many adenoviruses are host specific and likely codiverged with their hosts over millions of years, other adenoviruses appear to have emerged through successful cross-species transmission events on more recent time scales. The wide geographic distribution and genetic diversity of adenoviruses in bats and their close phylogenetic relationship to Canine mastadenovirus A (CAdV A) has raised important questions about how CAdV A, and possibly other mammalian adenoviruses, may have emerged. Although most adenoviruses tend to cause limited disease in their natural hosts, CAdV A is unusual in that it may cause high morbidity and sometimes fatal infections in immunocompetent hosts and is thus an important pathogen of carnivores. Here, we performed a comparative evolutionary and structural study of representative bat and canine adenoviruses to better understand the relationship between these two viral groups.

Keywords: bat adenovirus; canine adenovirus; cross-species transmission; cryo-electron microscopy; host range; mastadenovirus; virus evolution.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae Infections / transmission*
  • Adenoviridae Infections / virology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Capsid / metabolism*
  • Capsid / ultrastructure*
  • Chiroptera
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy*
  • Dogs
  • Gene Order
  • Genome, Viral
  • Host Specificity
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mastadenovirus / classification
  • Mastadenovirus / physiology*
  • Mastadenovirus / ultrastructure*
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral
  • Sequence Homology
  • Virion


  • RNA, Viral