Metagenomic identification, sequencing, and genome analysis of porcine hepe-astroviruses (bastroviruses) in porcine feces in Japan

Infect Genet Evol. 2021 Mar:88:104664. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2020.104664. Epub 2020 Dec 14.


Recently, hepe-astrovirus-like RNA viruses named bastroviruses (BastVs), have been found in human, pig, bat, and rat fecal samples. In this study, we determined nearly complete genome sequences of four BastVs in the feces of healthy pigs. Genetic characterization revealed that these porcine BastVs (PBastVs) and BastVs from other animals including humans, had the same genome organization, that is, they contained three predicted conserved domains of viral methyltransferase, RNA helicase, and RdRp in the nonstructural ORF1 and the astrovirus capsid domain in the structural ORF2. Phylogenetic analyses using RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and the capsid region revealed that PBastVs branched with bat and rat BastVs; however, the groups formed by each host were distantly related to human BastVs. Pairwise amino acid sequence comparison demonstrated that PBastVs shared 95.2-98.6% and 76.1-95.5% sequence identity among each other in the ORF1 and ORF2 regions, respectively; the sequence identities between PBastVs and BastVs from other animals were 21.4-42.5% and 9.1-20.6% in the ORF1 and ORF2 regions, respectively. This suggested that BastVs were derived from a common ancestor but evolved independently in each host population during a prolonged period. Putative recombination events were identified in the PBastV genome, suggesting that PBastVs gain sequence diversity and flexibility through recombination events. In an analysis of previously obtained metagenomic data, PBastV sequence reads were detected in 7.3% (23/315) of fecal samples from pigs indicating that PBastVs are distributed among pig populations in Japan.

Keywords: Bastrovirus; Complete genome sequence; Pig; Recombination event.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astroviridae / classification*
  • Astroviridae / genetics*
  • Astroviridae / isolation & purification
  • Astroviridae Infections / veterinary
  • Astroviridae Infections / virology*
  • Chiroptera / virology
  • Feces / virology*
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Metagenome
  • Metagenomics / methods
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA Helicases / genetics
  • RNA, Viral
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase / genetics
  • Rats
  • Sequence Analysis
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / virology
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • Methyltransferases
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase
  • RNA Helicases