Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18446239
PLoS ONE 2008 Apr;3(4):e2057
Lyssaviruses are RNA viruses with single-strand, negative-sense genomes responsible for rabies-like diseases in mammals. To date, genomic and evolutionary studies have most often utilized partial genome sequences, particularly of the nucleoprotein and glycoprotein genes, with little consideration of genome-scale evolution. Herein, we report the first genomic and evolutionary analysis using complete genome sequences of all recognised lyssavirus genotypes, including 14 new complete genomes of field isolates from 6 genotypes and one genotype that is completely sequenced for the first time. In doing so we significantly increase the extent of genome sequence data available for these important viruses. Our analysis of these genome sequence data reveals that all lyssaviruses have the same genomic organization. A phylogenetic analysis reveals strong geographical structuring, with the greatest genetic diversity in Africa, and an independent origin for the two known genotypes that infect European bats. We also suggest that multiple genotypes may exist within the diversity of viruses currently classified as ‘Lagos Bat’. In sum, we show that rigorous phylogenetic techniques based on full length genome sequence provide the best discriminatory power for genotype classification within the lyssaviruses.