Isolation and characterization of new Puumala orthohantavirus strains from Germany
Orthohantaviruses are re-emerging rodent-borne pathogens distributed all over the world. Here, we report the isolation of a Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) strain from bank voles caught in a highly endemic region around the city Osnabrück, north-west Germany. Coding and non-coding sequences of all three segments (S, M, and L) were determined from original lung tissue, after isolation and after additional passaging in VeroE6 cells and a bank vole-derived kidney cell line. Different single amino acid substitutions were observed in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) of the two stable PUUV isolates. The PUUV strain from VeroE6 cells showed a lower titer when propagated on bank vole cells compared to VeroE6 cells. Additionally, glycoprotein precursor (GPC)-derived virus-like particles of a German PUUV sequence allowed the generation of monoclonal antibodies that allowed the reliable detection of the isolated PUUV strain in the immunofluorescence assay. In conclusion, this is the first isolation of a PUUV strain from Central Europe and the generation of glycoprotein-specific monoclonal antibodies for this PUUV isolate. The obtained virus isolate and GPC-specific antibodies are instrumental tools for future reservoir host studies.