Research Summary: Novel Arenavirus Sequences in Hylomyscus sp. and Mus (Nannomys) setulosus from Côte d’Ivoire: Implications for Evolution of Arenaviruses in Africa


This study aimed to identify new arenaviruses and gather insights in the evolution of arenaviruses in Africa. During 2003 through 2005, 1,228 small mammals representing 14 different genera were trapped in 9 villages in south, east, and middle west of Côte d’Ivoire. Specimens were screened by pan-Old World arenavirus RT-PCRs targeting S and L RNA segments as well as immunofluorescence assay. Sequences of two novel tentative species of the family Arenaviridae, Menekre and Gbagroube virus, were detected in Hylomyscus sp. and Mus (Nannomys) setulosus, respectively. Arenavirus infection of Mus (Nannomys) setulosus was also demonstrated by serological testing. Lassa virus was not found, although 60% of the captured animals were Mastomys natalensis. Complete S RNA and partial L RNA sequences of the novel viruses were recovered from the rodent specimens and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. Gbagroube virus is a closely related sister taxon of Lassa virus, while Menekre virus clusters with the Ippy/Mobala/Mopeia virus complex. Reconstruction of possible virus–host co-phylogeny scenarios suggests that, within the African continent, signatures of co-evolution might have been obliterated by multiple host-switching events.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 9-June-2011

Author(s): Coulibaly-N’Golo D., Allali B., Kouassi S., Fichet-Calvet E., Becker-Ziaja B., Rieger T., Ölschläger S., Dosso H., Denys C., Meulen J., Akoua-Koffi C., Günther S.


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