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Virus survey of metagenomic samples of Amazonian bats

Grant number: 21/05209-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2021
Effective date (End): July 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Principal researcher:Arthur Gruber
Grantee:Nayara Almeida Amed
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The order Chiroptera (bats) is the second largest among mammals on the planet, after rodents, harboring more than 1,300 species. Brazil is home to about 15% of all the diversity of bat species on the planet, with a large part of the populations present in the Amazon biome. Bats can host a wide variety of viruses and act as reservoirs of infection that can spill over to humans, as was the case with a variety of major human infections such as rabies, SARS, MERS and, more recently, COVID-19. Virome surveys in Chiroptera revealed the presence of important viral families such as Adenoviridae, Coronaviridae, Parvoviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Herpesviridae, Arenaviridae and Retroviridae, among others. In the present project, we intend to assess the virome of samples of different tissues of Natalus macrourus, Lonchorhina aurita and Furipterus horrens, species of insectivorous bats that inhabit cavities in the region of Serra dos Carajás, in the State of Pará. Thus, profile HMMs representing all eukaryotic virus families will be used in similarity searches against metagenomic sequences from bats. Models that identify positive sequencing reads will be used as seeds for target-specific progressive assemblies. The reconstructed viral genomes will be submitted to an automatic functional annotation pipeline. Finally, protein sequences of viral molecular markers will be used for phylogenetic reconstruction of the main viruses detected. (AU)

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