An RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene in bat genomes derived from an ancient negative-strand RNA virus

Masayuki Horie, Yuki Kobayashi, Tomoyuki Honda, Kan Fujino, Takumi Akasaka, Claudia Kohl, Gudrun Wibbelt, Kristin Mühldorfer, Andreas Kurth, Marcel A. Müller, Victor M. Corman, Nadine Gillich, Yoshiyuki Suzuki, Martin Schwemmle, Keizo Tomonaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Endogenous bornavirus-like L (EBLL) elements are inheritable sequences derived from ancient bornavirus L genes that encode a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) in many eukaryotic genomes. Here, we demonstrate that bats of the genus Eptesicus have preserved for more than 11.8 million years an EBLL element named eEBLL-1, which has an intact open reading frame of 1,718 codons. The eEBLL-1 coding sequence revealed that functional motifs essential for mononegaviral RdRp activity are well conserved in the EBLL-1 genes. Genetic analyses showed that natural selection operated on eEBLL-1 during the evolution of Eptesicus. Notably, we detected efficient transcription of eEBLL-1 in tissues from Eptesicus bats. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first report showing that the eukaryotic genome has gained a riboviral polymerase gene from an ancient virus that has the potential to encode a functional RdRp.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25873
JournalScientific reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 13 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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