Arch Virol (2007) 152: 191–198
Printed in The Netherlands
Characterisation of two enteroviruses isolated from Australian
brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in New Zealand
AgResearch Limited, Wallaceville Animal Research Centre, Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Received August 24, 2005; accepted July 12, 2006
Published online August 17, 2006
Summary. Two enteroviruses, designated W1 and W6, were isolated from in-
testinal contents of Australian brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula)inNew
Zealand. The genomic sequences of W1 and W6 were 7390 and 7391 nucleotides
(nt), respectively. Genetically, possum isolates W1 and W6 were related to bovine
enterovirus serotype 2 (BEV-2) strains, especially to the strain PS87/Belfast, based
on the capsid protein sequence. However, W1 and W6 formed a clade that was
distinct from PS87Belfast based on nucleotide sequences of the 3
translated region and in the amino acid sequences of 2A, 3C and 3D. Possum
isolates W1 and W6 grew more readily in possum kidney cells than in Madin-
Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells, suggesting that co-evolution of W1 and W6
with possums has made them more adapted to possum cells.
Australian brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were introduced into New
Zealand from Australia in the early 19th century to establish a fur industry .
They have since become the most important vertebrate pest in New Zealand .
While conventional control methods such as poisoning and trapping are effective,
the risks posed by the reliance on poisons (environmental, trade, public acceptance
and cost) threaten their continued long-term use and sustainability. Biological
management was identiﬁed as a research priority by the National Science Strategy
Committee for possum control in New Zealand. Viruses can be used as pathogens
or transmissible vectors to deliver bioactive molecules for possum management.
Considerable progress has been made in the past 10 years in research on possum
Nucleotide sequence data reported here are available in the GenBank database under the
accession numbers ofAY462106 andAY462107 for possum isolates W1 and W6, respectively.