Publication details

Three arenaviruses in three subspecific Natal multimammate mouse taxa in Tanzania: same host specificity, but different spatial genetic structure?


CUYPERS Laura N. BAIRD Stuart J.E. HÁNOVÁ Alexandra LOCUS Tatjana KATAKWEBA Abdul S. GRYSEELS Sophie BRYJA Josef LEIRS Herwig DE BELLOCQ Joëlle Goüy

Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Virus Evolution
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Arenavirus host specificity; Gairo mammarenavirus; Luna mammarenavirus; Morogoro mammarenavirus; Regional prevalence differences; Spatial genetic structure
Description Mastomys natalensis is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and hosts several arenavirus species, including the pathogenic zoonotic Lassa virus in West Africa. Mitochondrial lineages sub-divide the range of M. natalensis and have been associated with cryptic structure within the species. To test specificity of arenaviruses to hosts carrying these lineages, we screened 1772 M. natalensis in a large area of Tanzania where three mitochondrial lineages meet. We detected fifty-two individuals that were positive for one of three arenaviruses: Gairo, Morogoro, and Luna virus. This is the first record of Luna virus in Tanzania. We confirmed the specificity of each arenavirus to a distinct host mitochondrial lineage except for three cases in one locality at the centre of a host hybrid zone. No arenaviruses were detected in a large part of the study area. Morogoro and Gairo virus showed differences in prevalence (Morogoro virus lower than Gairo virus) and in genetic structure (Morogoro virus more structured than Gairo virus). However, both viruses have genetic neighbourhood size estimates of the same order of magnitude as Lassa virus. While differences in arenavirus and/or host evolutionary and ecological dynamics may exist, Tanzanian arenaviruses could be suited to model Lassa virus dynamics in M. natalensis.
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