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Genetic Characterization of a Recombinant Myxoma Virus in the Iberian Hare (Lepus granatensis)

CIBIO/InBio—Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines, and Virotherapy (CIVV), The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
The Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, Center for Evolution and Medicine and School of Life sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Dpto. de Anatomía y Anatomía Patológica Comparadas, Universidad de Córdoba, Agrifood Excellence International Campus (ceiA3), 14071 Córdoba, Spain
Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC-CSIC-UCLM-JCCM, Ronda de Toledo, 28005 Ciudad Real, Spain
Structural Biology Research Unit, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
CITS—Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias da Saúde, IPSN, CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(6), 530;
Received: 1 May 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Viruses: Surveillance, Prevention, Evolution and Control)
Myxomatosis is a lethal disease in wild European and domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), which is caused by a Myxoma virus (MYXV) infection—a leporipoxvirus that is found naturally in some Sylvilagus rabbit species in South America and California. The introduction of MYXV into feral European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe, in the early 1950s, demonstrated the best-documented field example of host–virus coevolution, following a cross-species transmission. Recently, a new cross-species jump of MYXV has been suggested in both Great Britain and Spain, where European brown hares (Lepus europaeus) and Iberian hares (Lepus granatensis) were found dead with lesions consistent with those observed in myxomatosis. To investigate the possibility of a new cross-species transmission event by MYXV, tissue samples collected from a wild Iberian hare found dead in Spain (Toledo region) were analyzed and deep sequenced. Our results reported a new MYXV isolate (MYXV Toledo) in the tissues of this species. The genome of this new virus was found to encode three disruptive genes (M009L, M036L, and M152R) and a novel ~2.8 kb recombinant region, which resulted from an insertion of four novel poxviral genes towards the 3’ end of the negative strand of its genome. From the open reading frames inserted into the MYXV Toledo virus, a new orthologue of a poxvirus host range gene family member was identified, which was related to the MYXV gene M064R. Overall, we confirmed the identity of a new MYXV isolate in Iberian hares, which, we hypothesized, was able to more effectively counteract the host defenses in hares and start an infectious process in this new host. View Full-Text
Keywords: poxvirus; Myxoma virus; recombinant virus; Lepus granatensis poxvirus; Myxoma virus; recombinant virus; Lepus granatensis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Águeda-Pinto, A.; Lemos de Matos, A.; Abrantes, M.; Kraberger, S.; Risalde, M.A.; Gortázar, C.; McFadden, G.; Varsani, A.; Esteves, P.J. Genetic Characterization of a Recombinant Myxoma Virus in the Iberian Hare (Lepus granatensis). Viruses 2019, 11, 530.

AMA Style

Águeda-Pinto A, Lemos de Matos A, Abrantes M, Kraberger S, Risalde MA, Gortázar C, McFadden G, Varsani A, Esteves PJ. Genetic Characterization of a Recombinant Myxoma Virus in the Iberian Hare (Lepus granatensis). Viruses. 2019; 11(6):530.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Águeda-Pinto, Ana, Ana Lemos de Matos, Mário Abrantes, Simona Kraberger, Maria A. Risalde, Christian Gortázar, Grant McFadden, Arvind Varsani, and Pedro J. Esteves. 2019. "Genetic Characterization of a Recombinant Myxoma Virus in the Iberian Hare (Lepus granatensis)" Viruses 11, no. 6: 530.

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