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Identification of a Novel Gammaherpesvirus in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St., London, ON N6A 5C1, Canada
Map and Data Centre, Western Libraries, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St., London, ON N6A 5C1, Canada
Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 232 Elizabeth Ave., St. John’s, NF A1B 3X9, Canada
Wildlife Division, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, P.O. Box 2007, Corner Brook, NF A2H 7S1, Canada
New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, University of New Hampshire, 21 Botanical Lane, Durham, NH 03824, USA
Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative–Ontario/Nunavut, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 650 State St., Bangor, ME 04401, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(4), 363;
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feline Viruses and Viral Diseases)
PDF [2444 KB, uploaded 20 April 2019]


Gammaherpesviruses (GHVs) infect many animal species and are associated with lymphoproliferative disorders in some. Previously, we identified several novel GHVs in North American felids; however, a GHV had never been identified in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). We, therefore, hypothesized the existence of an unidentified GHV in lynx. Using degenerate nested and subsequently virus-specific PCR, we amplified and sequenced 3.4 kb of DNA from a novel GHV in lynx, which we named Lynx canadensis gammaherpesvirus 1 (LcaGHV1). Phylogenetic analysis determined that LcaGHV1 is a distinct GHV species belonging to the genus Percavirus. We then estimated the prevalence of LcaGHV1 in lynx by developing a PCR-based assay and detected LcaGHV1 DNA in 36% (95% CI: 22–53%) of lynx spleen DNA samples from Maine, USA and 17% (95% CI: 8–31%) from Newfoundland, Canada. The LcaGHV1 DNA sequences from Maine and Newfoundland lynx were nearly identical to each other (two nucleotide substitutions in 3.4 kb), suggesting that the unique lynx subspecies present on the island of Newfoundland (Lynx canadensis subsolanus) is infected with virus that very closely resembles virus found in mainland lynx. The potential ecologic and pathologic consequences of this novel virus for Canada lynx populations warrant further study. View Full-Text
Keywords: herpesvirus; virus; felid; cat; phylogenetic; Percavirus; DNA polymerase; glycoprotein B; lynx herpesvirus; virus; felid; cat; phylogenetic; Percavirus; DNA polymerase; glycoprotein B; lynx

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Hendrikse, L.D.; Kambli, A.; Kayko, C.; Canuti, M.; Rodrigues, B.; Stevens, B.; Vashon, J.; Lang, A.S.; Needle, D.B.; Troyer, R.M. Identification of a Novel Gammaherpesvirus in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). Viruses 2019, 11, 363.

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