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Reassortment events in the evolution of hantaviruses

, 1 , 2

Virus Genes

Springer US

Hantavirus, Reassortment, Evolution

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      Hantaviruses (order Bunyavirales, family Hantaviridae), known as important zoonotic human pathogens, possess the capacity to exchange genome segments via genetic reassortment due to their tri-segmented genome. Although not as frequent as in the arthropod-borne bunyaviruses, reports indicating reassortment events in the evolution of hantaviruses have been recently accumulating. The intra- and inter-lineage reassortment between closely related variants has been repeatedly reported for several hantaviruses including the rodent-borne human pathogens such as Sin Nombre virus, Puumala virus, Dobrava-Belgrade virus, or Hantaan virus as well as for the more recently recognized shrew-borne hantaviruses, Imjin and Seewis. Reassortment between more distantly related viruses was rarely found but seems to play a beneficial role in the process of crossing the host species barriers. Besides the findings based on phylogenetic studies of naturally occurring strains, hantavirus reassortants were generated also in in vitro studies. Interestingly, only reassortants with exchanged M segments could be generated suggesting that a high degree of genetic compatibility is required for the S and L segments while the exchange of M segment is better tolerated or is particularly beneficial. Altogether, the numerous reports on hantavirus reassortment, summarized in this review, clearly demonstrate that reassortment events play a significant role in hantavirus evolution and contributed to the currently recognized hantavirus diversity.

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          Pathogenic and nonpathogenic hantaviruses differentially regulate endothelial cell responses.

          Hantaviruses cause two human diseases: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Hantaviruses infect human endothelial cells but cause little or no damage to the infected endothelium. We analyzed with Affymetrix DNA Arrays (Santa Clara, CA) the endothelial cell transcriptional responses directed by hantaviruses associated with HPS [New York-1 virus (NY-1V)], HFRS [Hantaan virus (HTNV)], or by a hantavirus not associated with human disease [Prospect Hill virus (PHV)]. Hantavirus infections induced 117 cellular genes and repressed 25 genes by >3-fold, 4 days postinfection (p.i.). Although >80% of cells were infected by each virus 1 day p.i., PHV induced or repressed 67 genes at this early time compared with three genes altered by HTNV or NY-1V. The early high-level induction of 24 IFN-stimulated genes by PHV (4- to 229-fold) represents a fundamental difference in the temporal regulation of cellular responses by pathogenic and nonpathogenic hantaviruses. Because all hantaviruses induced >23 IFN-stimulated genes at late times p.i., pathogenic hantaviruses appear to suppress early cellular IFN responses that are activated by nonpathogenic hantaviruses. At late times p.i., 13 genes were commonly induced by HTNV and NY-1V that were not induced by PHV. In contrast to NY-1V, HTNV uniquely induced a variety of chemokines and cell adhesion molecules (i.e., IL-8, IL-6, GRO-beta, ICAM), as well as two complement cascade-associated factors that may contribute to immune components of HFRS disease. NY-1V failed to induce most cellular chemokines directed by HTNV (3/14) or genes primarily activated by NF-kappaB. However, NY-1V uniquely induced beta3 integrin-linked potassium channels, which could play a role in HPS-associated vascular permeability. These studies provide a basic understanding of hantavirus-directed cellular responses that are likely to differentiate pathogenic and nonpathogenic hantaviruses, contribute to HFRS and HPS pathogenesis, and provide insight into disease mechanisms and potential therapeutic interventions.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2180 9405, GRID grid.419303.c, Biomedical Research Center, Institute of Virology, , Slovak Academy of Sciences, ; Bratislava, Slovakia
            [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2218 4662, GRID grid.6363.0, Institute of Virology, , Charité University Hospital, ; Helmut-Ruska-Haus, Berlin, Germany
            Author notes

            Edited by Detlev H. Kruger.

            ORCID:, +421-2-59302465 ,
            Virus Genes
            Virus Genes
            Virus Genes
            Springer US (New York )
            25 July 2018
            25 July 2018
            : 54
            : 5
            : 638-646
            © The Author(s) 2018

            Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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            Award ID: APVV-15-0232
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            © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

            Microbiology & Virology

            evolution, reassortment, hantavirus


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