A novel astrovirus identified in wild rhesus monkey feces in China.


National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC, Beijing, 100052, China. [Email]


The discovery and analysis of pathogens carried by non-human primates are important for understanding zoonotic infections in humans. We identified a highly divergent astrovirus (AstV) from fecal matter from a rhesus monkey in China, which has been tentatively named "monkey-feces-associated AstV" (MkAstV). The full-length genome of MkAstV was determined to be 7377 nt in length. It exhibits the standard genomic AstV organization of three open reading frames (ORFs) and is most closely related to duck AstV (28%, 49%, and 35% amino acid sequence identity in ORF1a, ORF1b, and ORF2, respectively). Coincidentally, while this report was being prepared, an astrovirus sequence from Hainan black-spectacled toad became available in the GenBank database, showing 95%, 94% and 92% aa sequence identity in ORF1a, ORF1b and ORF2, respectively, to the corresponding ORFs of MkAstV. Phylogenetic analysis of ORF1a, ORF1b, and ORF2 indicated that MkAstV and the amphibian-related astroviruses formed an independent cluster in the genus Avastrovirus. The host of MkAstV remains unknown. Epidemiological and serological studies of this novel virus should be undertaken in primates, including humans.