Diversification of mammalian deltaviruses by host shifting

Bergner, L. M. , Orton, R. J. , Broos, A. , Tello, C., Becker, D. J., Carrera, J. E., Patel, A. H. , Biek, R. and Streicker, D. G. (2020) Diversification of mammalian deltaviruses by host shifting. Working Paper. bioRxiv. (doi: 10.1101/2020.06.17.156745).

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.17.156745


Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is an unusual RNA agent that replicates using host machinery but exploits hepatitis B virus (HBV) to mobilize its spread within and between hosts. In doing so, HDV enhances the virulence of HBV. How this seemingly improbable hyper-parasitic lifestyle emerged is unknown, but underpins the likelihood that HDV and related deltaviruses may alter other host-virus interactions. Here, we show that deltaviruses diversify by transmitting between mammalian species. Among 96,695 RNA sequence datasets, deltaviruses infected bats, rodents and an artiodactyl from the Americas, but were absent from geographically overrepresented Old World representatives of each mammalian order, suggesting a relatively recent diversification within the Americas. Consistent with diversification by host shifting, both bat and rodent-infecting deltaviruses were paraphyletic and co-evolutionary modeling rejected co-speciation with mammalian hosts. In addition, a two-year field study showed common vampire bats in Peru were infected by two divergent deltaviruses, indicating multiple introductions to a single host species. One vampire bat-associated deltavirus was detected in the saliva of up to 35% of individuals, formed phylogeographically compartmentalized clades, and infected a sympatric bat, illustrating horizontal transmission within and between species on ecological timescales. Consistent absence of HBV-like viruses in two deltavirus-infected bat species indicated acquisitions of novel viral associations during the divergence of bat and human-infecting deltaviruses. Our analyses support an American zoonotic origin of HDV and reveal prospects for future cross-species emergence of deltaviruses. Given their peculiar life history, deltavirus host shifts will have different constraints and disease outcomes compared to ordinary animal pathogens.

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Working Paper)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Orton, Dr Richard and Biek, Professor Roman and Broos, Ms Alice and Streicker, Professor Daniel and Bergner, Dr Laura and Patel, Professor Arvind
Authors: Bergner, L. M., Orton, R. J., Broos, A., Tello, C., Becker, D. J., Carrera, J. E., Patel, A. H., Biek, R., and Streicker, D. G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity > Centre for Virus Research
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Published Online:18 June 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
169793Managing viral emergence at the interface of bats and livestockDaniel StreickerWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)102507/Z/13/ZRInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine