Molecular characterization and pathogenicity potential of novel hantavirus isolates
Hantaviruses are worldwide distributed pathogens which are mainly carried by rodents. When transmitted to humans, they can cause two significant diseases: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) or hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS). Depending on the virus strain, the case fatality rates of hantavirus diseases are ranging from 0.1% up to 50%. In Europe Dobrava-Belgrade virus (DOBV) is the most life-threatening hantavirus leading to HFRS with case fatality rates of up to 12%.
... f up to 12%. According to its natural hosts, mice of the genus Apodemus, DOBV forms distinct phylogenetic lineages. DOBV-Af associated with A. flavicollis (Af) causes severe HFRS cases in the Balkan region. DOBV-Aa, found in A. agrarius (Aa), is typical for Central Europe and Central European Russia where it causes mild/moderate disease. Moderate to severe HFRS cases in South European Russia have been associated with virus strains of the DOBV-Ap lineage, transmitted by A. ponticus (Ap). In Germany, DOBV is endemic in the northern part of the country. Seroepidemiological studies involving fine serotyping by neutralization assay as well as phylogenetic analyses of patient-associated virus sequences showed that strains of DOBV-Aa lineage are responsible for HFRS cases in this geographical region. However, the causative agent of human disease from Germany was not isolated in cell culture. Within the current study, we have generated the first cell culture isolate of DOBV from Germany, called Greifswald virus (GRW/Aa), and determined its complete genomic nucleotide sequence. Phylogenetic analyses revealed close clustering of GRW/Aa with sequences derived from Northern German HFRS patients. Consequently, GRW/Aa can be taken as a representative of DOBV strains causing HFRS in Germany. We have demonstrated that in cultivated host cells GRW/Aa exhibits properties similar to pathogenic Hantaan virus; it recognizes b3 integrins and Decay Accelerating Factor (DAF) as cellular entry receptors and induces late expression of innate immunity markers (IFN-b, [...]