Discovery of novel alphacoronaviruses in European rodents and shrews

Theocharis Tsoleridis, Okechukwu Onianwa, Emma Horncastle, Emma Dayman, Miaoran Zhu, Taechasit Danjittrong, Marta Wachtl, Jerzy M. Behnke, Sarah Chapman, Victoria Strong, Phillipa Dobbs, Jonathan K. Ball*, Rachael E. Tarlinton, C. Patrick McClure

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Eight hundred and thirteen European rodents and shrews encompassing seven different species were screened for alphacoronaviruses using PCR detection. Novel alphacoronaviruses were detected in the species Rattus norvegicus, Microtus agrestis, Sorex araneus and Myodes glareolus. These, together with the recently described Lucheng virus found in China, form a distinct rodent/shrew-specific clade within the coronavirus phylogeny. Across a highly conserved region of the viral polymerase gene, the new members of this clade were up to 22% dissimilar at the nucleotide level to the previously described Lucheng virus. As such they might represent distinct species of alphacoronaviruses. These data greatly extend our knowledge of wildlife reservoirs of alphacoronaviruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number84
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Alphacoronavirus
  • Coronaviruses
  • Rodents
  • Shrews


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