Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) has emerged as the pathogen that poses the greatest risk of triggering epizootics in cetacean populations worldwide, and has a high propensity for interspecies transmission, including sporadic infection of seals. In this study, we investigated the evolutionary history of CeMV by deep sequencing wild-type viruses from tissue samples representing cetacean species with different spatiotemporal origins. Bayesian phylogeographic analysis generated an estimated evolutionary rate of 2.34 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions/site/year and showed that CeMV evolutionary dynamics are neither host-restricted nor location-restricted. Moreover, the dolphin morbillivirus strain of CeMV has undergone purifying selection without evidence of species-specific mutations. Cell-to-cell fusion and growth kinetics assays demonstrated that CeMV can use both dolphin and seal CD150 as a cellular receptor. Thus, it appears that CeMV can readily spread among multiple cetacean populations and may pose an additional spillover risk to seals.

doi.org/10.1038/s41426-018-0207-x, hdl.handle.net/1765/112875
Emerging Microbes and Infections
Department of Virology

Jo, W.K. (Wendy K.), Kruppa, J. (Jochen), Habierski, A., van de Bildt, M., Mazzariol, S., di Guardo, G., … Ludlow, M. (2018). Evolutionary evidence for multi-host transmission of cetacean morbillivirus. Emerging Microbes and Infections, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41426-018-0207-x