Ljungan/Sebokele-like picornavirus in birds of prey, common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and red-footed falcon (F. vespertinus)

Péter Pankovics, Ákos Boros, Róbert Mátics, Beatrix Kapusinszky, Eric Delwart, Gábor Reuter

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Ljungan and Sebokele viruses are thought to be rodent-borne (picorna)viruses in the genus Parechovirus. Using random amplification and next generation sequencing method a novel Ljungan/Sebokele-like picornavirus was identified in birds of prey. Viral RNA was detected in total of 1 (9%) of the 11 and 2 (28.6%) of the 7 faecal samples from common kestrels and red-footed falcons in Hungary, respectively. High faecal viral RNA load (4.77 × 106 genomic copies/ml) measured by qPCR. The complete genome of picornavirus strain falcon/HA18_080/2014/HUN (KY645497) is 7964-nucleotide (nt) long including a 867-nt 5'end and a 101-nt 3'end (excluding the poly(A)-tail). Falcon/HA18_080/2014/HUN has type-II IRES related to hunnivirus IRES, encodes a polyprotein lacking a leader protein, a VP0 maturation cleavage site and it predicted to encode three 2A proteins (2A1NPG↓P, 2A2NPG↓P and 2A3H-Box/NC), two of them end with ‘ribosome-skipping’ sites (DxExNPGP). Sequence analyses indicated that the ORF1 (6996 nt) polyprotein (2331 amino acid - aa) of falcon/HA18_080/2014/HUN shares the highest aa identity, 59% and 57%, to the corresponding polyproteins of Ljungan and Sebokele viruses. This study reports the identification and complete genome characterization of a novel Ljungan/Sebokele-like picornavirus in faeces of birds of prey which suggests that the genetic diversity and the potential host species spectrum of Ljungan/Sebokele-like viruses in genus Parechovirus are wider than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017



  • Bird
  • Ljungan virus
  • Parechovirus
  • Picornavirus
  • Sebokele virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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