Discovery and genome characterization of three new Jeilongviruses, a lineage of paramyxoviruses characterized by their unique membrane proteins

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Abstract

Background: In the past decade, many new paramyxoviruses that do not belong to any of the seven established genera in the family Paramyxoviridae have been discovered. Amongst them are J-virus (JPV), Beilong virus (BeiPV) and Tailam virus (TlmPV), three paramyxovirus species found in rodents. Based on their similarities, it has been suggested that these viruses should compose a new genus, tentatively called 'Jeilongvirus'. Results: Here we present the complete genomes of three newly discovered paramyxoviruses, one found in a bank vole (Myodes glareolus) from Slovenia and two in a single, co-infected Rungwe brush-furred rat (Lophuromys machangui) from Mozambique, that represent three new, separate species within the putative genus 'Jeilongvirus'. The genome organization of these viruses is similar to other paramyxoviruses, but like JPV, BeiPV and TlmPV, they possess an additional open reading frame, encoding a transmembrane protein, that is located between the F and G genes. As is the case for all Jeilongviruses, the G genes of the viruses described here are unusually large, and their encoded proteins are characterized by a remarkable amino acid composition pattern that is not seen in other paramyxoviruses, but resembles certain motifs found in Orthopneumovirus G proteins. Conclusions: The phylogenetic clustering of JPV, BeiPV and TlmPV with the viruses described here, as well as their shared features that set them apart from other paramyxoviruses, provide additional support for the recognition of the genus 'Jeilongvirus'.

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Vanmechelen, B., Bletsa, M., Laenen, L., Lopes, A. R., Vergote, V., Beller, L., … Maes, P. (2018). Discovery and genome characterization of three new Jeilongviruses, a lineage of paramyxoviruses characterized by their unique membrane proteins. BMC Genomics, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-018-4995-0

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