An African Tick Flavivirus Forming an Independent Clade Exhibits Unique Exoribonuclease-Resistant RNA Structures in the Genomic 3′-Untranslated Region [post]

Hayato Harima, Yasuko Orba, Shiho Torii, Yongjin Qiu, Masahiro Kajihara, Yoshiki Eto, Naoya Matsuta, Bernard Hang'ombe, Yuki Eshita, Kentaro Uemura, Keita Matsuno, Michihito Sasaki (+8 others)
2020 unpublished
Tick-borne flaviviruses (TBFVs) infect mammalian hosts through tick bites and can cause various serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and hemorrhagic fevers, both in humans and animals. Despite their importance to public health, there is limited epidemiological information on TBFV infection in Africa is limited. Herein, we report that a novel flavivirus, Mpulungu flavivirus (MPFV), was discovered in a Rhipicephalus muhsamae tick in Zambia. MPFV was found to be genetically related to Ngoye
more » ... elated to Ngoye virus detected in ticks in Senegal, and these viruses formed a unique lineage in the genus Flavivirus. Analyses of dinucleotide contents of flaviviruses indicated that MPFV was similar to those of other TBFVs with a typical vertebrate genome signature, suggesting that MPFV may infect vertebrate hosts leading to significant public health problems. Bioinformatic analyses of the secondary structures in the 3′-untranslated regions (UTRs) revealed that MPFV exhibits unique exoribonuclease-resistant RNA (xrRNA) structures. Utilizing biochemical approaches, we clarified that two xrRNA structures of MPFV in the 3′-UTR could prevent exoribonuclease activity. In summary, our findings provide new information regarding the geographical distribution of TBFV and xrRNA structures in the 3′-UTR of flaviviruses.
doi:10.21203/ fatcat:2yzgoonjvzcdbizjrc27em365a