A Novel Hantavirus of the European Mole, Bruges Virus, Is Involved in Frequent Nova Virus Coinfections

Laenen, L.1, Vergote, V.1, Kafetzopoulou, L. E.1, Wawina, T. B.1, Vassou, D.2, Cook, J. A.3, Hugot, J. P.4, Deboutte, W.5, Kang, H. J.6, Witkowski, P. T.7, Köppen-Rung, P.7, Krüger, D. H.7, Licková, M.8, Stang, A.9, Striešková, L.10, Szemeš, T.10, Markowski, J.11, Hejduk, J.11, Kafetzopoulos, D.2, Van Ranst, M.1, Yanagihara, R.6, Klempa, B.7,8, Maes, P.1

1Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Belgium
2Genomics Facility, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (IMBB-FORTH), Heraklion, Greece
3Department of Biology, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico
4Department of Systematics and Evolution, L’Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France
5Laboratory of Viral Metagenomics, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Belgium
6Department of Pediatrics, and Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa
7Charité School of Medicine, Institute of Medical Virology, Berlin, Germany
8Biomedical Research Center, Institute of Virology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
9Department of Molecular and Medical Virology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
10Department of Molecular Biology, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
11Department of Teacher Training and Biodiversity Studies, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Lódz, Poland



Hantaviruses are zoonotic viruses with a complex evolutionary history of virus-host coevolution and cross-species transmission. Although hantaviruses have a broad reservoir host range, virus-host relationships were previously thought to be strict, with a single virus species infecting a single host species. Here, we describe Bruges virus, a novel hantavirus harbored by the European mole (Talpa europaea), which is the well-known host of Nova virus. Phylogenetic analyses of all three genomic segments showed tree topology inconsistencies, suggesting that Bruges virus has emerged from cross-species transmission and ancient reassortment events. A high number of coinfections with Bruges and Nova viruses was detected, but no evidence was found for reassortment between these two hantaviruses. These findings highlight the complexity of hantavirus evolution and the importance of further investigation of hantavirus-reservoir relationships.