Genomic characterisation of Almpiwar virus, Harrison Dam virus and Walkabout Creek virus; three novel rhabdoviruses from northern Australia

Jane McAllister, Penelope J Gauci, Ian R Mitchell, David B Boyle, Dieter Mark Bulach, Richard Weir, Lorna Melville, Steven S Davis, Aneta J Gubala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Rhabdoviridae represent a diverse group of viruses with the potential to cause disease in humans, animals and plants. Currently there are nine genera in the family; however a large number of rhabdoviruses remain unassigned. Here we characterise three novel rhabdoviruses genomes. Almpiwar virus (ALMV), isolated from skinks in northern Queensland, is the first completely sequenced rhabdovirus from squamates, with serological studies indicating multiple animal host species. Harrison Dam virus (HARDV) and Walkabout Creek virus (WACV) were isolated from mosquitoes in the Northern Territory and biting midges in southern Queensland respectively and their vertebrate hosts remain unknown. Serological cross-neutralisation tests with other Australian rhabdoviruses indicate that ALMV, WACV and HARDV are distinct viruses with little antigenic cross-reactivity. Next-generation sequencing revealed that all viruses encode the core proteins common to rhabdoviruses (N, P, M, G and L), plus additional ORFs between the M and G genes. HARDV also contains a small ORF between the G and L genes. Phylogenetic analysis of N and L proteins suggests that HARDV and WACV share a common lineage with the tupaviruses and Sandjimba group, whereas ALMV is a distinct and divergent virus showing no clear relationship to any rhabdovirus except the recently characterised Niahka virus (NIAV).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 17
Number of pages17
JournalVirology Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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