Identification of diverse papillomaviruses in captive black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata)

Elise N. Paietta, Simona Kraberger, Joy M. Custer, Karla L. Vargas, Koenraad Van Doorslaer, Anne D. Yoder, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Papillomaviruses (PVs) are host-species-specific and tissue-specific viruses that infect a diverse array of vertebrate hosts, including humans and non-human primates, with varying pathogenic outcomes. Although primate PVs have been studied extensively, no complete genome sequences of PVs from lemurs have been determined to date. Saliva samples from three critically endangered, captive black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata) at the Duke Lemur Center (USA) were analyzed, using high-throughput sequencing, for the presence of oral papillomaviruses. We identified three PVs from two individuals, one of which had a coinfection with two different PVs. Two of the three PVs share 99.6% nucleotide sequence identity, and we have named these isolates "Varecia variegata papillomavirus 1" (VavPV1). The third PV shares ~63% nucleotide sequence identity with VavPV1, and thus, we have named it "Varecia variegata papillomavirus 2" (VavPV2). Based on their E1 + E2 + L1 protein sequence phylogeny, the VavPVs form a distinct clade. This clade likely represents a novel genus, with VavPV1 and VavPV2 belonging to two distinct species. Our findings represent the first complete genome sequences of PVs found in lemuriform primates, with their presence suggesting the potential existence of diverse PVs across the over 100 species of lemurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalArchives of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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