Rabovirus: a proposed new picornavirus genus that is phylogenetically basal to enteroviruses and sapeloviruses

We have sequenced the genome of a novel picornavirus, rabovirus A (rat-borne virus, RaBoV-A, NC_026314), which was present in the feces of a Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) from Berlin, Germany. This virus is related to members of the genera Enterovirus and Sapelovirus. RaboV-A contains a type II IRES that is unlike the type I IRES elements of enteroviruses and the type IV elements of sapeloviruses. Its genome is marked by an L protein and a chymotrypsin-like 2A protease. Our analysis of genome organization, pairwise identities, motif, phylogenic and UTR (GIMPU) indicates that RaBoV-A potentially represents a new picornavirus genus, for which we propose the name “Rabovirus”. Spread by their rodent hosts and detected in New York and Berlin rats, these viruses may have a wide geographic distribution.

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