Phylogeography, population dynamics, and molecular evolution of European bat lyssaviruses

P.L. Davis, E.C. Holmes, F. Larrous, W.H.M. Van der Poel, Kirsten Tjørnehøj, W.J. Alonso, H. Bourhy

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    European bat lyssaviruses types I and 2 (EBLV-1 and EBLV-2) are widespread in Europe, although little is known of their evolutionary history. We undertook a comprehensive sequence analysis to infer the selection pressures, rates of nucleotide substitution, age of genetic diversity, geographical origin, and population growth rates of EBLV-1. Our study encompassed data from 12 countries collected over a time span of 35 years and focused on the glycoprotein (G) and nucleoprotein (N) genes. We show that although the two subtypes of EBLV-1-EBLV-1a and EBLV-lb-have both grown at a low exponential rate since their introduction into Europe, they have differing population structures and dispersal patterns. Furthermore, there were strong constraints against amino acid change in both EBLV-1 and EBLV-2, as reflected in a low ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions per site, particularly in EBLV-1b. Our inferred rate of nucleotide substitution in EBLV-1, approximately 5 X 10(-5) substitutions per site per year, was also one of the lowest recorded for RNA viruses and implied that the current genetic diversity in the virus arose 500 to 750 years ago. We propose that the slow evolution of EBLVs reflects their distinctive epidemiology in bats, where they occupy a relatively stable fitness peak.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Virology
    Issue number16
    Pages (from-to)10487-10497
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Phylogeography, population dynamics, and molecular evolution of European bat lyssaviruses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this