Genome analysis of canine astroviruses reveals genetic heterogeneity and suggests possible inter-species transmission

Eszter Mihalov-Kovács, Vito Martella, Gianvito Lanave, Livia Bodnar, Enikő Fehér, Szilvia Marton, Gábor Kemenesi, Ferenc Jakab, Krisztián Bányai

Research output: Article

13 Citations (Scopus)


Canine astrovirus RNA was detected in the stools of 17/63 (26.9%) samples, using either a broadly reactive consensus RT-PCR for astroviruses or random RT-PCR coupled with massive deep sequencing. The complete or nearly complete genome sequence of five canine astroviruses was reconstructed that allowed mapping the genome organization and to investigate the genetic diversity of these viruses. The genome was about 6.6 kb in length and contained three open reading frames (ORFs) flanked by a 5′ UTR, and a 3′ UTR plus a poly-A tail. ORF1a and ORF1b overlapped by 43 nucleotides while the ORF2 overlapped by 8 nucleotides with the 3′ end of ORF1b. Upon genome comparison, four strains (HUN/2012/2, HUN/2012/6, HUN/2012/115, and HUN/2012/135) were more related genetically to each other and to UK canine astroviruses (88–96% nt identity), whilst strain HUN/2012/126 was more divergent (75–76% nt identity). In the ORF1b and ORF2, strains HUN/2012/2, HUN/2012/6, and HUN/2012/135 were related genetically to other canine astroviruses identified formerly in Europe and China, whereas strain HUN/2012/126 was related genetically to a divergent canine astrovirus strain, ITA/2010/Zoid. For one canine astrovirus, HUN/2012/8, only a 3.2 kb portion of the genome, at the 3′ end, could be determined. Interestingly, this strain possessed unique genetic signatures (including a longer ORF1b/ORF2 overlap and a longer 3′UTR) and it was divergent in both ORF1b and ORF2 from all other canine astroviruses, with the highest nucleotide sequence identity (68% and 63%, respectively) to a mink astrovirus, thus suggesting a possible event of interspecies transmission. The genetic heterogeneity of canine astroviruses may pose a challenge for the diagnostics and for future prophylaxis strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalVirus Research
Publication statusPublished - márc. 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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