Phenotypic divergence of p proteins of australian bat lyssavirus lineages circulating in microbats and flying foxes

Celine Deffrasnes, Meng Xiao Luo, Linda Wiltzer-Bach, Cassandra T. David, Kim G. Lieu, Lin-Fa Wang, David A. Jans, Glenn A. Marsh, Gregory W. Moseley

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Bats are reservoirs of many pathogenic viruses, including the lyssaviruses rabies virus (RABV) and Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV). Lyssavirus strains are closely associated with particular host reservoir species, with evidence of specific adaptation. Associated phenotypic changes remain poorly understood but are likely to involve phosphoprotein (P protein), a key mediator of the intracellular virus–host interface. Here, we examine the phenotype of P protein of ABLV, which circulates as two defined lineages associated with frugivorous and insectivorous bats, providing the opportunity to compare proteins of viruses adapted to divergent bat species. We report that key functions of P protein in the antagonism of interferon/signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 (STAT1) signaling and the capacity of P protein to undergo nuclear trafficking differ between lineages. Molecular mapping indicates that these differences are functionally distinct and appear to involve modulatory effects on regulatory regions or structural impact rather than changes to defined interaction sequences. This results in partial but significant phenotypic divergence, consistent with “fine-tuning” to host biology, and with potentially distinct properties in the virus–host interface between bat families that represent key zoonotic reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number831
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Adaptation
  • Australian bat lyssavirus
  • Bats
  • Immune evasion
  • Interferon
  • Lyssavirus
  • Nuclear trafficking
  • Rabies virus
  • STAT1
  • Virus reservoirs

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