Among other Lyssaviruses, Daubenton’s and pond-bat-related European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) can cause human rabies. To investigate the diversity and evolutionary trends of EBLV-2, complete genome sequences of two Finnish isolates were analysed. One originated from a human case in 1985, and the other originated from a bat in 2009. The overall nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequence identity of the two Finnish isolates were high, as well as the similarity to fully sequenced EBLV-2 strains originating from the UK and the Netherlands. In phylogenetic analysis, the EBLV-2 strains formed a monophyletic group that was separate from other bat-type lyssaviruses, with significant support. EBLV-2 shared the most recent common ancestry with Bokeloh bat lyssavirus (BBLV) and Khujan virus (KHUV). EBLV-2 showed limited diversity compared to RABV and appears to be well adapted to its host bat species. The slow tempo of viral evolution was evident in the estimations of divergence times for EBLV-2: the current diversity was estimated to have built up during the last 2000 years, and EBLV-2 diverged from KHUV about 8000 years ago. In a phylogenetic tree of partial N gene sequences, the Finnish EBLV-2 strains clustered with strains from Central Europe, supporting the hypothesis that EBLV-2 circulating in Finland might have a Central European origin. The Finnish EBLV-2 strains and a Swiss strain were estimated to have diverged from other EBLV-2 strains during the last 1000 years, and the two Finnish strains appear to have evolved from a common ancestor during the last 200 years.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2015
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