Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus ORF8 Protein Is Acquired from SARS-Related Coronavirus from Greater Horseshoe Bats through Recombination

Journal of Virology
Susanna K P LauPatrick C Y Woo


Despite the identification of horseshoe bats as the reservoir of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs), the origin of SARS-CoV ORF8, which contains the 29-nucleotide signature deletion among human strains, remains obscure. Although two SARS-related Rhinolophus sinicus bat CoVs (SARSr-Rs-BatCoVs) previously detected in Chinese horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus sinicus) in Yunnan, RsSHC014 and Rs3367, possessed 95% genome identities to human and civet SARSr-CoVs, their ORF8 protein exhibited only 32.2 to 33% amino acid identities to that of human/civet SARSr-CoVs. To elucidate the origin of SARS-CoV ORF8, we sampled 348 bats of various species in Yunnan, among which diverse alphacoronaviruses and betacoronaviruses, including potentially novel CoVs, were identified, with some showing potential interspecies transmission. The genomes of two betacoronaviruses, SARSr-Rf-BatCoV YNLF_31C and YNLF_34C, from greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), possessed 93% nucleotide identities to human/civet SARSr-CoV genomes. Although these two betacoronaviruses displayed lower similarities than SARSr-Rs-BatCoV RsSHC014 and Rs3367 in S protein to civet SARSr-CoVs, their ORF8 proteins demonstrated exceptio...Continue Reading


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