Endogenous hepadnaviruses (hepatitis B viruses [HBVs]) were recently discovered in the genomes of passerine birds. We mined six additional avian genomes and discovered multiple copies of endogenous HBVs in the budgerigar (order Psittaciformes), designated eBHBV. A phylogenetic analysis reveals that the endogenous hepadnaviruses are more diverse than their exogenous counterparts and that the endogenous and exogenous hepadnaviruses form distinct lineages even when sampled from the same avian order, indicative of multiple genomic integration events.
Malpais Spring virus (MSPV) is a mosquito-borne rhabdovirus that infects a variety of wild and feral ungulates in New Mexico, including horses and deer. Although, initial serologic tests and electron microscopy at the time of isolation nearly 25 years ago provided evidence that MSPV is a novel virus, possibly related to vesiculoviruses, the virus still has not been approved as a new species.
Use of the illumina platform allowed us to obtain the complete genome of MSPV. Analysis of the complete 11019 nt genome sequence of the prototype 85-488NM strain of MSPV indicates that it encodes the five common rhabdovirus structural proteins (N, P, M, G and L) with alternative ORFs (> 180 nt) in the N, M and G genes, including a 249 nt ORF in the G gene predicted to encode a 9.26 kDa highly basic transmembrane protein. Although antigenically very distant, phylogenetic analysis of the L gene indicates that MSPV is most closely related to Jurona virus, also isolated from mosquitoes in Brazil, as well as a number of other vesiculoviruses.
In sum, our analysis indicates MSPV should be classified as a member of the genus Vesiculovirus, family Rhabdoviridae. The complete genome sequence of MSPV will be helpful in the development of a reverse genetics system to study the unique aspects of this vesiculovirus in vivo and in vitro, and will assist development of specific diagnostic tests to study the epidemiology of MSPV infection.
Malpais spring virus (MSPV); Family rhabdoviridae; Genus vesiculovirus; Genome sequence; Phylogeny
Shigella are human-adapted Escherichia coli that have gained the ability to invade the human gut mucosa and cause dysentery1,2, spreading efficiently via low-dose fecal-oral transmission3,4. Historically, S. sonnei has been predominantly responsible for dysentery in developed countries, but is now emerging as a problem in the developing world, apparently replacing the more diverse S. flexneri in areas undergoing economic development and improvements in water quality4-6. Classical approaches have shown S. sonnei is genetically conserved and clonal7. We report here whole-genome sequencing of 132 globally-distributed isolates. Our phylogenetic analysis shows that the current S. sonnei population descends from a common ancestor that existed less than 500 years ago and has diversified into several distinct lineages with unique characteristics. Our analysis suggests the majority of this diversification occurred in Europe, followed by more recent establishment of local pathogen populations in other continents predominantly due to the pandemic spread of a single, rapidly-evolving, multidrug resistant lineage.
Intra-host sequence data from RNA viruses have revealed the ubiquity of defective viruses in natural viral populations, sometimes at surprisingly high frequency. Although defective viruses have long been known to laboratory virologists, their relevance in clinical and epidemiological settings has not been established. The discovery of long-term transmission of a defective lineage of dengue virus type 1 (DENV-1) in Myanmar, first seen in 2001, raised important questions about the emergence of transmissible defective viruses and their role in viral epidemiology. By combining phylogenetic analyses and dynamical modeling, we investigate how evolutionary and ecological processes at the intra-host and inter-host scales shaped the emergence and spread of the defective DENV-1 lineage. We show that this lineage of defective viruses emerged between June 1998 and February 2001, and that the defective virus was transmitted primarily through co-transmission with the functional virus to uninfected individuals. We provide evidence that, surprisingly, this co-transmission route has a higher transmission potential than transmission of functional dengue viruses alone. Consequently, we predict that the defective lineage should increase overall incidence of dengue infection, which could account for the historically high dengue incidence reported in Myanmar in 2001–2002. Our results show the unappreciated potential for defective viruses to impact the epidemiology of human pathogens, possibly by modifying the virulence-transmissibility trade-off, or to emerge as circulating infections in their own right. They also demonstrate that interactions between viral variants, such as complementation, can open new pathways to viral emergence.
Defective viruses are viral particles with genetic mutations or deletions that eliminate essential functions, so that they cannot complete their life cycles independently. They can reproduce only by co-infecting host cells with functional viruses and ‘borrowing’ their functional elements. Defective viruses have been observed for many human pathogens, but they have not been thought to impact epidemiological outcomes. Recently it was reported that a lineage of defective dengue virus spread through humans and mosquitoes in Myanmar for at least 18 months in 2001–2002. In this study, we investigate the emergence and epidemiological impact of this defective lineage by combining genetic sequence analyses with mathematical models. We show that the defective lineage emerged from circulating dengue viruses between June 1998 and February 2001, and that it spreads because—surprisingly—its presence causes functional dengue viruses to transmit more efficiently. Our model shows that this would cause a substantial rise in total dengue infections, consistent with historically high levels of dengue cases reported in Myanmar during 2001 and 2002. Our study yields new insights into the biology of dengue virus, and demonstrates a previously unappreciated potential for defective viruses to impact the epidemiology of infectious diseases.
Large-scale codon re-encoding represents a powerful method of attenuating viruses to generate safe and cost-effective vaccines. In contrast to specific approaches of codon re-encoding which modify genome-scale properties, we evaluated the effects of random codon re-encoding on the re-emerging human pathogen Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), and assessed the stability of the resultant viruses during serial in cellulo passage. Using different combinations of three 1.4 kb randomly re-encoded regions located throughout the CHIKV genome six codon re-encoded viruses were obtained. Introducing a large number of slightly deleterious synonymous mutations reduced the replicative fitness of CHIKV in both primate and arthropod cells, demonstrating the impact of synonymous mutations on fitness. Decrease of replicative fitness correlated with the extent of re-encoding, an observation that may assist in the modulation of viral attenuation. The wild-type and two re-encoded viruses were passaged 50 times either in primate or insect cells, or in each cell line alternately. These viruses were analyzed using detailed fitness assays, complete genome sequences and the analysis of intra-population genetic diversity. The response to codon re-encoding and adaptation to culture conditions occurred simultaneously, resulting in significant replicative fitness increases for both re-encoded and wild type viruses. Importantly, however, the most re-encoded virus failed to recover its replicative fitness. Evolution of these viruses in response to codon re-encoding was largely characterized by the emergence of both synonymous and non-synonymous mutations, sometimes located in genomic regions other than those involving re-encoding, and multiple convergent and compensatory mutations. However, there was a striking absence of codon reversion (<0.4%). Finally, multiple mutations were rapidly fixed in primate cells, whereas mosquito cells acted as a brake on evolution. In conclusion, random codon re-encoding provides important information on the evolution and genetic stability of CHIKV viruses and could be exploited to develop a safe, live attenuated CHIKV vaccine.
Emerging arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are a major cause of human and animal morbidity and mortality. Climatic and anthropological activities are responsible for the dispersal of arbovirus transmission vectors into new territories. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an important example of a re-emerging pathogen for which no licensed vaccine exists. One of the vectors of CHIKV, the mosquito Aedes albopictus, has dispersed into new temperate regions resulting in outbreaks where they had not been previously observed. Here, we demonstrate that random codon re-encoding, a method that modifies the nucleic acid composition of large coding regions without modifying the encoded proteins, can significantly decrease the replicative fitness of CHIKV. This powerful method of attenuating viruses has several potential advantages for vaccine development, including the possibility to modulate precisely the degree of replicative fitness loss and to generate safe, live-attenuated vaccines that confer long-term protection, in a cost effective manner. Our studies also demonstrate that these re-encoded viruses exhibit a stable phenotype, and that the response to codon re-encoding was largely compensatory in nature, with little reversion of mutations. Finally, we provide further evidence that many synonymous sites in RNA viruses are not neutral and clearly impact viral fitness.
Novel H3N2 influenza viruses (H3N2v) containing seven genome segments from swine lineage triple-reassortant H3N2 viruses and a 2009 pandemic H1N1 (H1N1pdm09) matrix protein segment (pM) were isolated from 12 humans in the United States between August and December 2011. To understand the evolution of these novel H3N2 viruses in swine and humans, we undertook a phylogenetic analysis of 674 M sequences and 388 HA and NA sequences from influenza viruses isolated from North American swine during 2009–2011, as well as HA, NA, and M sequences from eight H3N2v viruses isolated from humans. We identified 34 swine influenza viruses (termed rH3N2p) with the same combination of H3, N2, and pM segments as the H3N2v viruses isolated from humans. Notably, these rH3N2p viruses were generated in swine via reassortment events between H3N2 viruses and the pM segment approximately 4 to 10 times since 2009. The pM segment has also reassorted with multiple distinct lineages of H1 virus, especially H1δ viruses. Importantly, the N2 segment of all H3N2v viruses isolated from humans is derived from a genetically distinct N2 lineage that has circulated in swine since being acquired by reassortment with seasonal human H3N2 viruses in 2001–2002, rather than from the N2 that is associated with the 1998 H3N2 swine lineage. The identification of this N2 variant may have implications for influenza vaccine design and the potential pandemic threat of H3N2v to human age groups with differing levels of prior exposure and immunity.
Revealing the patterns and determinants of the spread of dengue virus (DENV) at local scales is central to understanding the epidemiology and evolution of this major human pathogen. We performed a phylogenetic analysis of the envelope (E) genes of DENV-1, -2, -3, and -4 isolates (involving 97, 23, 5, and 74 newly collected sequences, respectively) sampled from school-based cohort and village-based cluster studies in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand, between 2004 and 2007. With these data, we sought to describe the spatial and temporal patterns of DENV spread within a rural population where a future vaccine efficacy trial is planned. Our analysis revealed considerable genetic diversity within the study population, with multiple lineages within each serotype circulating for various lengths of time during the study period. These results suggest that DENV is frequently introduced into both semi-urban and rural areas in Kamphaeng Phet from other populations. In contrast, the persistence of viral lineages across sampling years was observed less frequently. Analysis of phylogenetic clustering indicated that DENV transmission was highly spatially and temporally focal, and that it occurred in homes rather than at school. Overall, the strength of temporal clustering suggests that seasonal bottlenecks in local DENV populations facilitate the invasion and establishment of viruses from outside of the study area, in turn reducing the extent of lineage persistence.
Long-term cohort studies of dengue virus (DENV), the most common vector-borne viral disease of humans, are essential to understand the epidemiology and evolution of this important human pathogen, and may assist in predicting the evolutionary response to vaccination. We utilized DENV gene sequences and information on the locations and timing of infected children within a primary school-based cohort in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand to investigate the spatial and temporal relationships among viruses isolated from 2004 to 2007. We found that all four DENV serotypes circulated in the region during the study period, with the presence of multiple viral lineages within each serotype. Viruses sampled closely in time and space were generally very closely related. More genetic variation was observed across districts in a given year and within the same district across different years. The high genetic similarity among viruses during each season and the rare persistence of these lineages through multiple seasons suggest that seasonal reductions in the force of infection through changes in mosquito transmission and fluctuations in human population immunity are key factors shaping the genetic diversity of dengue virus diversity in this region. The importation of DENV by human movement from other populations is therefore an important generator of DENV diversity even in hyperendemic areas.
Despite the importance of migratory birds in the ecology and evolution of avian influenza virus (AIV), there is a lack of information on the patterns of AIV spread at the intra-continental scale. We applied a variety of statistical phylogeographic techniques to a plethora of viral genome sequence data to determine the strength, pattern, and determinants of gene flow in AIV sampled from wild birds in North America. These analyses revealed a clear isolation-by-distance of AIV among sampling localities. In addition, we show that phylogeographic models incorporating information on the avian flyway of sampling proved a better fit to the observed sequence data than those specifying homogeneous or random rates of gene flow among localities. In sum, these data strongly suggest that the intra-continental spread of AIV by migratory birds is subject to major ecological barriers, including spatial distance and avian flyway.
avian influenza; phylogeography; evolution; gene flow; ecological barriers; flyways; spatial distance
Genetic diversity in RNA viruses is shaped by a variety of evolutionary processes, including the bottlenecks that may occur at inter-host transmission. However, how these processes structure genetic variation at the scale of individual hosts is only partly understood. We obtained intra-host sequence data for the coat protein (CP) gene of Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) from two horizontally transmitted populations – one via aphid, the other without – and with multiple samples from individual plants. We show that although mutations are generated relatively frequently within infected plants, attaining similar levels of genetic diversity to that seen in some animal RNA viruses (mean intra-sample diversity of 0.02%), most mutations are likely to be transient, deleterious, and purged rapidly. We also observed more population structure in the aphid transmitted viral population, including the same mutations in multiple clones, the presence of a sub-lineage, and evidence for the short-term complementation of defective genomes.
evolution; intra-host diversity; Zucchini yellow mosaic virus; plant RNA virus; potyvirus; complementation
Although the rate at which proteins change is a key parameter in molecular evolution, its determinants are poorly understood in viruses. A variety of factors, including gene length, codon usage bias, protein abundance, protein function, and gene expression level, have been shown to affect the rate of protein evolution in a diverse array of organisms. However, the role of these factors in viral evolution has yet to be addressed. The polar 3′-5′ stepwise attenuation of transcription in the Mononegavirales, a group of single-strand negative-sense RNA viruses, provides a unique system to explore the determinants of protein evolution in viruses. We analyzed the relative importance of a variety of factors in shaping patterns of sequence variation in full-length genomes from 13 Mononegavirales species. Our analysis suggests that the level of gene expression, and by extension the relative genomic position of each gene, is a key determinant of the protein evolution in these viruses. This appears to be the consequence of selection for translational robustness, but not for translational accuracy, in highly expressed genes. The small genome size and number of proteins encoded by these viruses allowed us to identify other protein-specific factors that may also play a role in virus evolution, such as host-virus interactions and functional constraints. Finally, we explored the evolutionary pressures acting on noncoding regions in Mononegavirales genomes and observed that, despite being less constrained than coding regions, their evolutionary rates are also associated with genomic position.
The attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence. However, the evolutionary genetics of this profound change in host-pathogen relationship is unknown. We describe the genome-scale evolution of MYXV covering a range of virulence grades sampled over 49 years from the parallel Australian and European epidemics, including the high-virulence progenitor strains released in the early 1950s. MYXV evolved rapidly over the sampling period, exhibiting one of the highest nucleotide substitution rates ever reported for a double-stranded DNA virus, and indicative of a relatively high mutation rate and/or a continually changing selective environment. Our comparative sequence data reveal that changes in virulence involved multiple genes, likely losses of gene function due to insertion-deletion events, and no mutations common to specific virulence grades. Hence, despite the similarity in selection pressures there are multiple genetic routes to attain either highly virulent or attenuated phenotypes in MYXV, resulting in convergence for phenotype but not genotype.
The text-book example of the evolution of virulence is the attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe in the 1950s. However, the key work on this topic, most notably by Frank Fenner and his colleagues, occurred before the availability of genome sequence data. The evolutionary genetic basis to the major changes in virulence in both the Australian and European epidemics is therefore largely unknown. We provide, for the first time, key details on the genome-wide changes that underpin this landmark example of pathogen emergence and virulence evolution. By sequencing and comparing MYXV genomes, including the original strains released in the 1950s, we show that (i) MYXV evolved rapidly in both Australia and Europe, producing one of the highest rates of evolutionary change ever recorded for a DNA virus, (ii) that changes in virulence were caused by mutations in multiple genes, often involving losses of gene function due to insertions and deletions, and that (iii) strains of the same virulence were defined by different mutations, such that both attenuated and virulent MYXV strains are produced by a variety genetic pathways, and generating convergent evolution for phenotype but not genotype.
Co-divergence between host and parasites suggests that evolutionary processes act across similar spatial and temporal scales. Although there has been considerable work on the extent and correlates of co-divergence of RNA viruses and their mammalian hosts, relatively little is known about the extent to which virus evolution is determined by the phylogeographic history of host species. To test hypotheses related to co-divergence across a variety of spatial and temporal scales, we explored phylogenetic signatures in Andes virus (ANDV) sampled from Chile and its host rodent, Oligoryzomys longicaudatus. ANDV showed strong spatial subdivision, a phylogeographic pattern also recovered in the host using both spatial and genealogical approaches, and despite incomplete lineage sorting. Lineage structure in the virus seemed to be a response to current population dynamics in the host at the spatial scale of ecoregions. However, finer scale analyses revealed contrasting patterns of genetic structure across a latitudinal gradient. As predicted by their higher substitution rates, ANDV showed greater genealogical resolution than the rodent, with topological congruence influenced by the degree of lineage sorting within the host. However, despite these major differences in evolutionary dynamics, the geographic structure of host and virus converged across large spatial scales.
Chile; co-divergence; hantavirus; O. longicaudatus; phylogeography; spatial genetics
Safford virus; cardiovirus; evolution; phylogeny; co-circulation; persistence; Denmark; viruses; Suggested citation for this article: Christian A; Nielsen Y; Gyhrs ML; Holmes EC; Cui J. Co-circulation and persistence of genetically distinct Saffold viruses; Denmark. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2012 Oct [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1810.120793
Quantifying adaptive evolution at the genomic scale is an essential yet challenging aspect of evolutionary biology. Here, we develop a method that extends and generalizes previous approaches to estimate the rate of genomic adaptation in rapidly evolving populations and apply it to a large data set of complete human influenza A virus genome sequences. In accord with previous studies, we observe particularly high rates of adaptive evolution in domain 1 of the viral hemagglutinin (HA1). However, our novel approach also reveals previously unseen adaptation in other viral genes. Notably, we find that the rate of adaptation (per codon per year) is higher in surface residues of the viral neuraminidase than in HA1, indicating strong antibody-mediated selection on the former. We also observed high rates of adaptive evolution in several nonstructural proteins, which may relate to viral evasion of T-cell and innate immune responses. Furthermore, our analysis provides strong quantitative support for the hypothesis that human H1N1 influenza experiences weaker antigenic selection than H3N2. As well as shedding new light on the dynamics and determinants of positive Darwinian selection in influenza viruses, the approach introduced here is applicable to other pathogens for which densely sampled genome sequences are available, and hence is ideally suited to the interpretation of next-generation genome sequencing data.
influenza; McDonald–Kreitman test; neutrality tests; rate of adaptation
By screening 74 chordate genomes for endogenous lentiviruses using Pol sequences of exogenous lentiviruses as a reference, we identified a novel endogenous lentivirus in the genome of the ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the ferret endogenous lentivirus, denoted ELVmpf, diverged early in the evolution of the mammalian lentiviruses, although with a lack of resolution at key nodes. These data support the notion that lentiviruses have evolved on timescales of millions of years.
Hao (2011) reported that the PB2 genes of three swine influenza A viruses were likely generated through homologous recombination between two closely related parental strains. However, we show that Hao’s observation is an artifact of incorrect taxon sampling arising through the lack of an appropriate evolutionary context. Through rigorous phylogenetic analyses we explain the evolutionary origins of these stains and confirm the lack of any statistical support for intra-segmental recombination.
Influenza A virus; Pandemic influenza; Swine influenza; Genome
The adaptation of viruses to new hosts is a poorly understood process likely involving a variety of viral structures and functions that allow efficient replication and spread. Canine parvovirus (CPV) emerged in the late 1970s as a host-range variant of a virus related to feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). Within a few years of its emergence in dogs, there was a worldwide replacement of the initial virus strain (CPV type 2) by a variant (CPV type 2a) characterized by four amino acid differences in the capsid protein. However, the evolutionary processes that underlie the acquisition of these four mutations, as well as their effects on viral fitness, both singly and in combination, are still uncertain. Using a comprehensive experimental analysis of multiple intermediate mutational combinations, we show that these four capsid mutations act in concert to alter antigenicity, cell receptor binding, and relative in vitro growth in feline cells. Hence, host adaptation involved complex interactions among both surface-exposed and buried capsid mutations that together altered cell infection and immune escape properties of the viruses. Notably, most intermediate viral genotypes containing different combinations of the four key amino acids possessed markedly lower fitness than the wild-type viruses.
Understanding the mechanisms of cross-species virus transmission is critical to anticipating emerging infectious diseases. Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) emerged as a variant of a feline parvovirus when it acquired mutations that allowed binding to the canine transferrin receptor type 1 (TfR). However, CPV-2 was soon replaced by a variant virus (CPV-2a) that differed in antigenicity and receptor binding. Here we show that the emergence of CPV involved an additional host range variant virus that has circulated undetected in raccoons for at least 24 years, with transfers to and from dogs. Raccoon virus capsids showed little binding to the canine TfR, showed little infection of canine cells, and had altered antigenic structures. Remarkably, in capsid protein (VP2) phylogenies, most raccoon viruses fell as evolutionary intermediates between the CPV-2 and CPV-2a strains, suggesting that passage through raccoons assisted in the evolution of CPV-2a. This highlights the potential role of alternative hosts in viral emergence.
Paramyxoviruses are responsible for considerable disease burden in human and wildlife populations: measles and mumps continue to affect the health of children worldwide, while canine distemper virus causes serious morbidity and mortality in a wide range of mammalian species. Although these viruses have been studied extensively at both the epidemiological and the phylogenetic scales, little has been done to integrate these two types of data. Using a Bayesian coalescent approach, we infer the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics of measles, mumps and canine distemper viruses. Our analysis yielded data on viral substitution rates, the time to common ancestry, and elements of their demographic history. Estimates of rates of evolutionary change were similar to those observed in other RNA viruses, ranging from 6.585 to 11.350 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions per site, per year. Strikingly, the mean Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) was both similar and very recent among the viruses studied, ranging from only 58 to 91 years (1908 to 1943). Worldwide, the paramyxoviruses studied here have maintained a relatively constant level of genetic diversity. However, detailed heterchronous samples illustrate more complex dynamics in some epidemic populations, and the relatively low levels of genetic diversity (population size) in all three viruses is likely to reflect the population bottlenecks that follow recurrent outbreaks.
Paramyxovirus; Coalescent; Population bottleneck; Measles virus; Mumps virus; Canine distemper virus
Revealing the factors that shape the genetic structure of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in wild bird populations is essential to understanding their evolution. However, the relationship between epidemiological dynamics and patterns of genetic diversity in AIV is not well understood, especially at the continental scale. To address this question, we undertook a phylogeographic analysis of complete genome sequences of AIV sampled from wild birds in North America. In particular, we asked whether host species, geographic location or sampling time played the major role in shaping patterns of viral genetic diversity. Strikingly, our analysis revealed no strong species effect, yet a significant viral clustering by time and place of sampling, as well as the circulation of multiple viral lineages in single locations. These results suggest that AIVs can readily infect many of the bird species that share breeding/feeding areas.
Avian influenza virus; migration; phylogeny; population structure; epidemiology
The increasing availability of complete genome sequences of RNA viruses has the potential to shed new light on fundamental aspects of their biology. Here, I use case studies of 3 RNA viruses to explore the impact of genomic sequence data, with particular emphasis on influenza A virus. Notably, the studies of RNA virus genomics undertaken to date largely focused on issues of evolution and epidemiology, and they have given these disciplines new impetus. However, genomic data have so far made fewer inroads into areas of more direct importance for disease, prevention, and control; thus, harnessing their full potential remains an important goal.
Despite their close phylogenetic relationship, type A and B influenza viruses exhibit major epidemiological differences in humans, with the latter both less common and less often associated with severe disease. However, it is unclear what processes determine the evolutionary dynamics of influenza B virus, and how influenza viruses A and B interact at the evolutionary scale. To address these questions we inferred the phylogenetic history of human influenza B virus using complete genome sequences for which the date (day) of isolation was available. By comparing the phylogenetic patterns of all eight viral segments we determined the occurrence of segment reassortment over a 30-year sampling period. An analysis of rates of nucleotide substitution and selection pressures revealed sporadic occurrences of adaptive evolution, most notably in the viral hemagglutinin and compatible with the action of antigenic drift, yet lower rates of overall and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution compared to influenza A virus. Overall, these results led us to propose a model in which evolutionary changes within and between the antigenically distinct ‘Yam88’ and ‘Vic87’ lineages of influenza B virus are the result of changes in herd immunity, with reassortment continuously generating novel genetic variation. Additionally, we suggest that the interaction with influenza A virus may be central in shaping the evolutionary dynamics of influenza B virus, facilitating the shift of dominance between the Vic87 and the Yam88 lineages.
Influenza B virus; Phylogeny; Reassortment; Coalescent; Antigenic drift; Epidemiology
Rabies is a progressively fatal and incurable viral encephalitis caused by a lyssavirus infection. Almost all of the 55 000 annual rabies deaths in humans result from infection with dog rabies viruses (RABV). Despite the importance of rabies for human health, little is known about the spread of RABV in dog populations, and patterns of biodiversity have only been studied in limited geographical space. To address these questions on a global scale, we sequenced 62 new isolates and performed an extensive comparative analysis of RABV gene sequence data, representing 192 isolates sampled from 55 countries. From this, we identified six clades of RABV in non-flying mammals, each of which has a distinct geographical distribution, most likely reflecting major physical barriers to gene flow. Indeed, a detailed analysis of phylogeographic structure revealed only limited viral movement among geographical localities. Using Bayesian coalescent methods we also reveal that the sampled lineages of canid RABV derive from a common ancestor that originated within the past 1500 years. Additionally, we found no evidence for either positive selection or widespread population bottlenecks during the global expansion of canid RABV. Overall, our study reveals that the stochastic processes of genetic drift and population subdivision are the most important factors shaping the global phylogeography of canid RABV.
Parvoviruses are small single-stranded DNA viruses that are ubiquitous in nature. Infections with both autonomous and helper-virus dependent parvoviruses are common in both human and animal populations, and many animals are host to a number of different parvoviral species. Despite the epidemiological importance of parvoviruses, the presence and role of genome recombination within or among parvoviral species has not been well characterized. Here we show that natural recombination may be widespread in these viruses. Different genome regions of both porcine parvoviruses and Aleutian mink disease viruses have conflicting phylogenetic histories, providing evidence for recombination within each of these two species. Further, the rodent parvoviruses show complex evolutionary histories for separate genomic regions, suggesting recombination at the interspecies level.