A metatranscriptomic study of RNA viruses in cold-blooded vertebrates identified two related viruses from frogfish (Antennarius striatus) that represent a new genus Antennavirus in the family Arenaviridae (Order: Bunyavirales). Computational analyses were used to identify features common to class I viral fusion proteins (VFPs) in antennavirus glycoproteins, including an N-terminal fusion peptide, two extended alpha-helices, an intrahelical loop, and a carboxyl terminal transmembrane domain. Like mammarenavirus and hartmanivirus glycoproteins, the antennavirus glycoproteins have an intracellular zinc-binding domain and a long virion-associated stable signal peptide (SSP). The glycoproteins of reptarenaviruses are also class I VFPs, but do not contain zinc-binding domains nor do they encode SSPs. Divergent evolution from a common progenitor potentially explains similarities of antennavirus, mammarenavirus, and hartmanivirus glycoproteins, with an ancient recombination event resulting in a divergent reptarenavirus glycoprotein.
Keywords: antennavirus; arenavirus glycoproteins; class I viral fusion protein; hartmanivirus; internal zinc-binding domain; mammarenavirus; reptarenavirus; stable signal peptide.