September 22, 2019  |  

The Egyptian rousette genome reveals unexpected features of bat antiviral immunity.

Authors: Pavlovich, Stephanie S and Lovett, Sean P and Koroleva, Galina and Guito, Jonathan C and Arnold, Catherine E and Nagle, Elyse R and Kulcsar, Kirsten and Lee, Albert and Thibaud-Nissen, Françoise and Hume, Adam J and Mühlberger, Elke and Uebelhoer, Luke S and Towner, Jonathan S and Rabadan, Raul and Sanchez-Lockhart, Mariano and Kepler, Thomas B and Palacios, Gustavo

Bats harbor many viruses asymptomatically, including several notorious for causing extreme virulence in humans. To identify differences between antiviral mechanisms in humans and bats, we sequenced, assembled, and analyzed the genome of Rousettus aegyptiacus, a natural reservoir of Marburg virus and the only known reservoir for any filovirus. We found an expanded and diversified KLRC/KLRD family of natural killer cell receptors, MHC class I genes, and type I interferons, which dramatically differ from their functional counterparts in other mammals. Such concerted evolution of key components of bat immunity is strongly suggestive of novel modes of antiviral defense. An evaluation of the theoretical function of these genes suggests that an inhibitory immune state may exist in bats. Based on our findings, we hypothesize that tolerance of viral infection, rather than enhanced potency of antiviral defenses, may be a key mechanism by which bats asymptomatically host viruses that are pathogenic in humans. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Journal: Cell
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.03.070
Year: 2018

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