A novel papillomavirus in Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) faeces sampled at the Cape Crozier colony, Antarctica

Arvind Varsani, Simona Kraberger, Scott Jennings, Elizabeth Porzig, Laurel Julian, Melanie Massaro, Annie Pollard, Grant Ballard, David Ainley

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Papillomaviruses are epitheliotropic viruses that have circular dsDNA genomes encapsidated in non-enveloped virions. They have been found to infect a variety of mammals, reptiles and birds, but so far they have not been found in amphibians. Using a next-generation sequencing de novo assembly contig-informed recovery, we cloned and Sanger sequenced the complete genome of a novel papillomavirus from the faecal matter of Ade´lie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) nesting on Ross Island, Antarctica. The genome had all the usual features of a papillomavirus and an E9 ORF encoding a protein of unknown function that is found in all avian papillomaviruses to date. This novel papillomavirus genome shared ~60 % pairwise identity with the genomes of the other three known avian papillomaviruses: Fringilla coelebs papillomavirus 1 (FcPV1), Francolinus leucoscepus papillomavirus 1 (FlPV1) and Psittacus erithacus papillomavirus 1. Pairwise identity analysis and phylogenetic analysis of the major capsid protein gene clearly indicated that it represents a novel species, which we named Pygoscelis adeliae papillomavirus 1 (PaCV1). No evidence of recombination was detected in the genome of PaCV1, but we did detect a recombinant region (119 nt) in the E6 gene of FlPV1 with the recombinant region being derived from ancestral FcPV1-like sequences. Previously only paramyxoviruses, orthomyxoviruses and avian pox viruses have been genetically identified in penguins; however, the majority of penguin viral identifications have been based on serology or histology. This is the first report, to our knowledge, of a papillomavirus associated with a penguin species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1352-1365
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


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