Novel polyomaviruses identified in fecal samples from four carnivore species

Simona Kraberger, Laurel E.K. Serieys, Seth P.D. Riley, Kara Schmidlin, Eric S. Newkirk, John R. Squires, Christopher B. Buck, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Polyomaviruses are oncogenic viruses that are generally thought to have co-evolved with their hosts. While primate and rodent polyomaviruses are increasingly well-studied, less is known about polyomaviruses that infect other mammals. In an effort to gain insight into polyomaviruses associated with carnivores, we surveyed fecal samples collected in the USA from bobcats (Lynx rufus), pumas (Puma concolor), Canada lynxes (Lynx canadensis), and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos). Using a viral metagenomic approach, we identified six novel polyomavirus genomes. Surprisingly, four of the six genomes showed a phylogenetic relationship to polyomaviruses found in prey animals. These included a putative rabbit polyomavirus from a bobcat fecal sample and two possible deer-trophic polyomaviruses from Canada lynx feces. One polyomavirus found in a grizzly bear sample was found to be phylogenetically distant from previously identified polyomaviruses. Further analysis of the grizzly bear fecal sample showed that it contained anelloviruses that are known to infect pigs, suggesting that the bear might have preyed on a wild or domestic pig. Interestingly, a polyomavirus genome identified in a puma fecal sample was found to be closely related both to raccoon polyomavirus 1 and to Lyon-IARC polyomavirus, the latter of which was originally identified in human saliva and skin swab specimens but has since been found in samples from domestic cats (Felis catus).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18
JournalArchives of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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