Discovery of an endogenous Deltaretrovirus in the genome of long-fingered bats (Chiroptera: Miniopteridae)

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Mar 21;114(12):3145-3150. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1621224114. Epub 2017 Mar 9.


Retroviruses can create endogenous forms on infiltration into the germline cells of their hosts. These forms are then vertically transmitted and can be considered as genetic fossils of ancient viruses. All retrovirus genera, with the exception of deltaretroviruses, have had their representation identified in the host genome as a virus fossil record. Here we describe an endogenous Deltaretrovirus, identified in the germline of long-fingered bats (Miniopteridae). A single, heavily deleted copy of this retrovirus has been found in the genome of miniopterid species, but not in the genomes of the phylogenetically closest bat families, Vespertilionidae and Cistugonidae. Therefore, the endogenization occurred in a time interval between 20 and 45 million years ago. This discovery closes the last major gap in the retroviral fossil record and provides important insights into the history of deltaretroviruses in mammals.

Keywords: Chiroptera; Deltaretroviruses; endogenous retroviruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chiroptera / classification
  • Chiroptera / genetics*
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Deltaretrovirus / genetics*
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genes, Viral
  • Genome*
  • Genomics / methods
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Phylogeny