Bats are the second largest group of mammals on earth and act as reservoirs of many emerging viruses. In this study, a novel bat adenovirus (AdV) (BtAdV-TJM) was isolated from bat fecal samples by using a bat primary kidney cell line. Infection studies indicated that most animal and human cell lines are susceptible to BtAdV-TJM, suggesting a possible wide host range. Genome analysis revealed 30 putative genes encoding proteins homologous to their counterparts in most known AdVs. Phylogenetic analysis placed BtAdV-TJM within the genus Mastadenovirus, most closely related to tree shrew and canine AdVs. PCR analysis of 350 bat fecal samples, collected from 19 species in five Chinese provinces during 2007 and 2008, indicated that 28 (or 8%) samples were positive for AdVs. The samples were from five bat species, Hipposideros armiger, Myotis horsfieldii, M. ricketti, Myotis spp., and Scotophilus kuhlii. The prevalence ranged from 6.25% (H. armiger in 2007) to 40% (M. ricketti in 2007). Comparison studies based on available partial sequences of the pol gene demonstrated a great genetic diversity among bat AdVs infecting different bat species as well as those infecting the same bat species. This is the first report of a genetically diverse group of DNA viruses in bats. Our results support the notion, derived from previous studies based on RNA viruses (especially coronaviruses and astroviruses), that bats seem to have the unusual ability to harbor a large number of genetically diverse viruses within a geographic location and/or within a taxonomic group.
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