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The genome of a Mesozoic paleovirus reveals the evolution of hepatitis B viruses
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology.
2013 (English)In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 4, 1791- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Paleovirology involves the identification of ancient endogenous viral elements within eukaryotic genomes. The evolutionary origins of the reverse-transcribing hepatitis B viruses, however, remain elusive, due to the small number of endogenized sequences present in host genomes. Here we report a comprehensively dated genomic record of hepatitis B virus endogenizations that spans bird evolution from > 82 to < 12.1 million years ago. The oldest virus relic extends over a 99% complete hepatitis B virus genome sequence and constitutes the first discovery of a Mesozoic paleovirus genome. We show that Hepadnaviridae are 463 million years older than previously known and provide direct evidence for coexistence of hepatitis B viruses and birds during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras. Finally, phylogenetic analyses and distribution of hepatitis B virus relics suggest that birds potentially are the ancestral hosts of Hepadnaviridae and mammalian hepatitis B viruses probably emerged after a bird-mammal host switch. Our study reveals previously undiscovered and multi-faceted insights into prehistoric hepatitis B virus evolution and provides valuable resources for future studies, such as in-vitro resurrection of Mesozoic hepadnaviruses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 4, 1791- p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-202981DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2798ISI: 000318872100148OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-202981DiVA: diva2:634742
Available from: 2013-07-01 Created: 2013-07-01 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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