Alphacoronaviruses Detected in French Bats Are Phylogeographically Linked to Coronaviruses of European Bats

Anne Goffard, Christine Demanche, Laurent Arthur, Claire Pinçon, Johan Michaux, Jean Dubuisson
Viruses 2015, 7 (12): 6279-90
Bats are a reservoir for a diverse range of viruses, including coronaviruses (CoVs). To determine the presence of CoVs in French bats, fecal samples were collected between July and August of 2014 from four bat species in seven different locations around the city of Bourges in France. We present for the first time the presence of alpha-CoVs in French Pipistrellus pipistrellus bat species with an estimated prevalence of 4.2%. Based on the analysis of a fragment of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene, phylogenetic analyses show that alpha-CoVs sequences detected in French bats are closely related to other European bat alpha-CoVs. Phylogeographic analyses of RdRp sequences show that several CoVs strains circulate in European bats: (i) old strains detected that have probably diverged a long time ago and are detected in different bat subspecies; (ii) strains detected in Myotis and Pipistrellus bat species that have more recently diverged. Our findings support previous observations describing the complexity of the detected CoVs in bats worldwide.

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