Screening for and comparative molecular characterization of adenoviruses in South American and European wildlife to reveal geographic and evolutionary differences

Project ID
OTKA NN107632
Project leader
2013 - 2017

We were interested in the diversity of adenoviruses occurring in South American vertebrates compared to those identified in Europe to understand better also their phylogeny.

Adenoviruses (AdVs) were found in man and in representatives of the majority of vertebrate species. Virus–host coevolution can be supposed through the whole evolution of the vertebrates as we could find phylogenetically distinct AdVs in fish, frog, squamate reptiles, birds and mammals (genera Ichtadenovirus, Siadenovirus, Atadenovirus, Aviadenovirus and Mastadenovirus). At the same time, also several intergenus host switches could be identified, like the atadenoviruses of squamate reptiles switched to birds and ruminants, the siadenoviruses adapted to birds and a tortoise species. With this, even the origin of siadenoviruses questioned. Coevolutionary signs can be seen also in the vertebrate classes, like remarkably different AdVs from apes and monkeys. But also host switches were revealed, e.g. from monkey to man, from bat to dog. To understand better the AdV evolution, there would be a need to find and phylogenetically characterize the AdVs of almost all vertebrate species but no AdV was detected yet from several important groups, e.g. from  prosimians, exotic rodents or certain tropical birds living only in South America, thus in the Amazon basin. But we know only a single AdV also from fish and frog, and very few from New World monkeys. Thus we are interested in studying exotic frogs, like poison dart frog, prosimian, New World monkey, South American rodent, bird and other mammalian samples. Our interest covers also the animal samples from South Chile (penguins) to Mexico (bat samples).  There is an extreme need to study South American species beside species collected in Europe, thus our aim is to conduct a wide scale screening for AdVs in samples mainly from Brazilian animals with our collaborators from Brazil, followed by molecular and phylogenetic characterization of the found AdVs to either confirm of correct our coevolution and host switch hypotheses.

Further collaborators
Charlotte M. Harsi, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazília
Pénzes Judit, Université du Québec, Laval, Kanada
Iva (Skrinjar) Podgorski, Szent István Egyetem, Budapest
Görföl Tamás, Magyar Természettudományi Múzeum, Budapest