Early mesozoic coexistence of amniotes and hepadnaviridae.
ABSTRACT: Hepadnaviridae are double-stranded DNA viruses that infect some species of birds and mammals. This includes humans, where hepatitis B viruses (HBVs) are prevalent pathogens in considerable parts of the global population. Recently, endogenized sequences of HBVs (eHBVs) have been discovered in bird genomes where they constitute direct evidence for the coexistence of these viruses and their hosts from the late Mesozoic until present. Nevertheless, virtually nothing is known about the ancient host range of this virus family in other animals. Here we report the first eHBVs from crocodilian, snake, and turtle genomes, including a turtle eHBV that endogenized >207 million years ago. This genomic "fossil" is >125 million years older than the oldest avian eHBV and provides the first direct evidence that Hepadnaviridae already existed during the Early Mesozoic. This implies that the Mesozoic fossil record of HBV infection spans three of the five major groups of land vertebrates, namely birds, crocodilians, and turtles. We show that the deep phylogenetic relationships of HBVs are largely congruent with the deep phylogeny of their amniote hosts, which suggests an ancient amniote-HBV coexistence and codivergence, at least since the Early Mesozoic. Notably, the organization of overlapping genes as well as the structure of elements involved in viral replication has remained highly conserved among HBVs along that time span, except for the presence of the X gene. We provide multiple lines of evidence that the tumor-promoting X protein of mammalian HBVs lacks a homolog in all other hepadnaviruses and propose a novel scenario for the emergence of X via segmental duplication and overprinting of pre-existing reading frames in the ancestor of mammalian HBVs. Our study reveals an unforeseen host range of prehistoric HBVs and provides novel insights into the genome evolution of hepadnaviruses throughout their long-lasting association with amniote hosts.
Project description:Hepatitis B viruses (HBVs), which are enveloped viruses with reverse-transcribed DNA genomes, constitute the family Hepadnaviridae. An outstanding feature of HBVs is their streamlined genome organization with extensive gene overlap. Remarkably, the ?1,100 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding the envelope proteins is fully nested within the ORF of the viral replicase P. Here, we report the discovery of a diversified family of fish viruses, designated nackednaviruses, which lack the envelope protein gene, but otherwise exhibit key characteristics of HBVs including genome replication via protein-primed reverse-transcription and utilization of structurally related capsids. Phylogenetic reconstruction indicates that these two virus families separated more than 400 million years ago before the rise of tetrapods. We show that HBVs are of ancient origin, descending from non-enveloped progenitors in fishes. Their envelope protein gene emerged de novo, leading to a major transition in viral lifestyle, followed by co-evolution with their hosts over geologic eras.
Project description:Endogenous hepadnaviruses (hepatitis B viruses [HBVs]) were recently discovered in the genomes of passerine birds. We mined six additional avian genomes and discovered multiple copies of endogenous HBVs in the budgerigar (order Psittaciformes), designated eBHBV. A phylogenetic analysis reveals that the endogenous hepadnaviruses are more diverse than their exogenous counterparts and that the endogenous and exogenous hepadnaviruses form distinct lineages even when sampled from the same avian order, indicative of multiple genomic integration events.
Project description:Hepadnaviruses (hepatitis B viruses [HBVs]) are the only animal viruses that replicate their DNA by reverse transcription of an RNA intermediate. Until recently, the known host range of hepadnaviruses was limited to mammals and birds. We obtained and analyzed the first amphibian HBV genome, as well as several prototype fish HBVs, which allow the first comprehensive comparative genomic analysis of hepadnaviruses from four classes of vertebrates. Bluegill hepadnavirus (BGHBV) was characterized from in-house viral metagenomic sequencing. The African cichlid hepadnavirus (ACHBV) and the Tibetan frog hepadnavirus (TFHBV) were discovered using in silico analyses of the whole-genome shotgun and transcriptome shotgun assembly databases. Residues in the hydrophobic base of the capsid (core) proteins, designated motifs I, II, and III, are highly conserved, suggesting that structural constraints for proper capsid folding are key to capsid protein evolution. Surface proteins in all vertebrate HBVs contain similar predicted membrane topologies, characterized by three transmembrane domains. Most striking was the fact that BGHBV, ACHBV, and the previously described white sucker hepadnavirus did not form a fish-specific monophyletic group in the phylogenetic analysis of all three hepadnaviral genes. Notably, BGHBV was more closely related to the mammalian hepadnaviruses, indicating that cross-species transmission events have played a major role in viral evolution. Evidence of cross-species transmission was also observed with TFHBV. Hence, these data indicate that the evolutionary history of the hepadnaviruses is more complex than previously realized and combines both virus-host codivergence over millions of years and host species jumping.Hepadnaviruses are responsible for significant disease in humans (hepatitis B virus) and have been reported from a diverse range of vertebrates as both exogenous and endogenous viruses. We report the full-length genome of a novel hepadnavirus from a fish and the first hepadnavirus genome from an amphibian. The novel fish hepadnavirus, sampled from bluegills, was more closely related to mammalian hepadnaviruses than to other fish viruses. This phylogenetic pattern reveals that, although hepadnaviruses have likely been associated with vertebrates for hundreds of millions of years, they have also been characterized by species jumping across wide phylogenetic distances.
Project description:Because most extant viruses mutate rapidly and lack a true fossil record, their deep evolution and long-term substitution rates remain poorly understood. In addition to retroviruses, which rely on chromosomal integration for their replication, many other viruses replicate in the nucleus of their host's cells and are therefore prone to endogenization, a process that involves integration of viral DNA into the host's germline genome followed by long-term vertical inheritance. Such endogenous viruses are highly valuable as they provide a molecular fossil record of past viral invasions, which may be used to decipher the origins and long-term evolutionary characteristics of modern pathogenic viruses. Hepadnaviruses (Hepadnaviridae) are a family of small, partially double-stranded DNA viruses that include hepatitis B viruses. Here we report the discovery of endogenous hepadnaviruses in the genome of the zebra finch. We used a combination of cross-species analysis of orthologous insertions, molecular dating, and phylogenetic analyses to demonstrate that hepadnaviruses infiltrated repeatedly the germline genome of passerine birds. We provide evidence that some of the avian hepadnavirus integration events are at least 19 My old, which reveals a much deeper ancestry of Hepadnaviridae than could be inferred based on the coalescence times of modern hepadnaviruses. Furthermore, the remarkable sequence similarity between endogenous and extant avian hepadnaviruses (up to 75% identity) suggests that long-term substitution rates for these viruses are on the order of 10(-8) substitutions per site per year, which is a 1,000-fold slower than short-term rates estimated based on the sequences of circulating hepadnaviruses. Together, these results imply a drastic shift in our understanding of the time scale of hepadnavirus evolution, and suggest that the rapid evolutionary dynamics characterizing modern avian hepadnaviruses do not reflect their mode of evolution on a deep time scale.
Project description:Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of liver disease and cancer in humans. HBVs (family Hepadnaviridae) have been associated with mammals for millions of years. Recently, the Smc5/6 complex, known for its essential housekeeping functions in genome maintenance, was identified as an antiviral restriction factor of human HBV. The virus has, however, evolved to counteract this defense mechanism by degrading the complex via its regulatory HBx protein. Whether the antiviral activity of the Smc5/6 complex against hepadnaviruses is an important and evolutionarily conserved function is unknown. In this study, we used an evolutionary and functional approach to address this question. We first performed phylogenetic and positive selection analyses of the Smc5/6 complex subunits and found that they have been conserved in primates and mammals. Yet, Smc6 showed marks of adaptive evolution, potentially reminiscent of a virus-host "arms race." We then functionally tested the HBx proteins from six divergent hepadnaviruses naturally infecting primates, rodents, and bats. We demonstrate that despite little sequence homology, these HBx proteins efficiently degraded mammalian Smc5/6 complexes, independently of the host species and of the sites under positive selection. Importantly, all HBx proteins also rescued the replication of an HBx-deficient HBV in primary human hepatocytes. These findings point to an evolutionarily conserved requirement for Smc5/6 inactivation by HBx, showing that Smc5/6 antiviral activity has been an important defense mechanism against hepadnaviruses in mammals. It will be interesting to investigate whether Smc5/6 may further be a restriction factor of other, yet-unidentified viruses that may have driven some of its adaptation.IMPORTANCE Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) led to 887,000 human deaths in 2015. HBV has been coevolving with mammals for millions of years. Recently, the Smc5/6 complex, which has essential housekeeping functions, was identified as a restriction factor of human HBV antagonized by the regulatory HBx protein. Here we address whether the antiviral activity of Smc5/6 is an important evolutionarily conserved function. We found that all six subunits of Smc5/6 have been conserved in primates, with only Smc6 showing signatures of an "evolutionary arms race." Using evolution-guided functional analyses that included infections of primary human hepatocytes, we demonstrated that HBx proteins from very divergent mammalian HBVs could all efficiently antagonize Smc5/6, independently of the host species and sites under positive selection. These findings show that Smc5/6 antiviral activity against HBV is an important function in mammals. They also raise the intriguing possibility that Smc5/6 may restrict other, yet-unidentified viruses.
Project description:The white sucker Catostomus commersonii is a freshwater teleost often utilized as a resident sentinel. Here, we sequenced the full genome of a hepatitis B-like virus that infects white suckers from the Great Lakes Region of the United States. Dideoxy sequencing confirmed that the white sucker hepatitis B virus (WSHBV) has a circular genome (3,542 bp) with the prototypical codon organization of hepadnaviruses. Electron microscopy demonstrated that complete virions of approximately 40 nm were present in the plasma of infected fish. Compared to avi- and orthohepadnaviruses, sequence conservation of the core, polymerase, and surface proteins was low and ranged from 16 to 27% at the amino acid level. An X protein homologue common to the orthohepadnaviruses was not present. The WSHBV genome included an atypical, presumptively noncoding region absent in previously described hepadnaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses confirmed WSHBV as distinct from previously documented hepadnaviruses. The level of divergence in protein sequences between WSHBV and other hepadnaviruses and the identification of an HBV-like sequence in an African cichlid provide evidence that a novel genus of the family Hepadnaviridae may need to be established that includes these hepatitis B-like viruses in fishes. Viral transcription was observed in 9.5% (16 of 169) of white suckers evaluated. The prevalence of hepatic tumors in these fish was 4.9%, and only 2.4% of fish were positive for both virus and hepatic tumors. These results are not sufficient to draw inferences regarding the association of WSHBV and carcinogenesis in white sucker.We report the first full-length genome of a hepadnavirus from fishes. Phylogenetic analysis of this genome indicates divergence from genomes of previously described hepadnaviruses from mammalian and avian hosts and supports the creation of a novel genus. The discovery of this novel virus may better our understanding of the evolutionary history of hepatitis B-like viruses of other hosts. In fishes, knowledge of this virus may provide insight regarding possible risk factors associated with hepatic neoplasia in the white sucker. This may also offer another model system for mechanistic research.
Project description:Limited sampling means that relatively little is known about the diversity and evolutionary history of mammalian members of the Hepadnaviridae (genus Orthohepadnavirus). An important case in point are shrews, the fourth largest group of mammals, but for which there is limited knowledge on the role they play in viral evolution and emergence. Here, we report the discovery of a novel shrew hepadnavirus. The newly discovered virus, denoted shrew hepatitis B virus (SHBV), is divergent to be considered a new species of Orthohepadnavirus. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that these viruses were usually most closely related to TBHBV (tent-making bat hepatitis B virus), known to be able to infect human hepatocytes, and had a similar genome structure, although SHBV fell in a more basal position in the surface protein phylogeny. In sum, these data suggest that shrews are natural hosts for hepadnaviruses and may have played an important role in their long-term evolution.
Project description:The hepatitis B virus (HBV), family Hepadnaviridae, is one of most relevant human pathogens. HBV origins are enigmatic, and no zoonotic reservoirs are known. Here, we screened 3,080 specimens from 54 bat species representing 11 bat families for hepadnaviral DNA. Ten specimens (0.3%) from Panama and Gabon yielded unique hepadnaviruses in coancestral relation to HBV. Full genome sequencing allowed classification as three putative orthohepadnavirus species based on genome lengths (3,149-3,377 nt), presence of middle HBV surface and X-protein genes, and sequence distance criteria. Hepatic tropism in bats was shown by quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization. Infected livers showed histopathologic changes compatible with hepatitis. Human hepatocytes transfected with all three bat viruses cross-reacted with sera against the HBV core protein, concordant with the phylogenetic relatedness of these hepadnaviruses and HBV. One virus from Uroderma bilobatum, the tent-making bat, cross-reacted with monoclonal antibodies against the HBV antigenicity determining S domain. Up to 18.4% of bat sera contained antibodies against bat hepadnaviruses. Infectious clones were generated to study all three viruses in detail. Hepatitis D virus particles pseudotyped with surface proteins of U. bilobatum HBV, but neither of the other two viruses could infect primary human and Tupaia belangeri hepatocytes. Hepatocyte infection occurred through the human HBV receptor sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide but could not be neutralized by sera from vaccinated humans. Antihepadnaviral treatment using an approved reverse transcriptase inhibitor blocked replication of all bat hepadnaviruses. Our data suggest that bats may have been ancestral sources of primate hepadnaviruses. The observed zoonotic potential might affect concepts aimed at eradicating HBV.
Project description:Bats have been identified as the hosts of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in recent years and bats HBV can infect human hepatocyte. We investigated the prevalence and genetic diversity of HBV in bats in China. In this study, a total of 197 insectivorous bats belonging to 10 bat species were captured from karst caves in Mengyin County, Shandong Province and Xianning City, Hubei Province, China. PCR amplification indicated that in total 6.6% (13/197) bats were positive to HBVs. The HBV positive rate in bats was 7.1% (9/127) and 5.7% (4/70) in Shandong Province and Hubei Province, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that HBV from the two places were in the same cluster with 90.5%-99.5% homology, but distinct from bat HBVs from other places in China and other countries. We concluded that HBV was prevalent and genetic diversified in bats, supporting the hypothesis that bats may be the origin of primate hepadnaviruses.
Project description:Hepatitis B viruses (HBV) and related viruses, classified in the Hepadnaviridae family, are found in a wide variety of mammals and birds. Although the chimpanzee has been the primary experimental model of HBV infection, this species has not been considered a natural host for the virus. Retrospective analysis of 13 predominantly wild-caught chimpanzees with chronic HBV infection identified a unique chimpanzee HBV strain in 11 animals. Nucleotide and derived amino acid analysis of the complete HBV genome and the gene coding for the hepatitis B surface antigen (S gene) identified sequence patterns that could be used to reliably identify chimpanzee HBV. This analysis indicated that chimpanzee HBV is distinct from known human HBV genotypes and is closely related to HBVs previously isolated from a chimpanzee, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans.