Unusual influenza A viruses in bats

Mehle A (2014). Viruses 6(9):3438-49.
PubMed Record

Influenza A viruses infect a remarkably diverse number of hosts. Two completely new influenza A virus subtypes were recently discovered in bats, dramatically expanding the host range of the virus. These bat viruses are extremely divergent from all other known strains and likely have unique replication cycles. Phylogenetic analysis indicates long-term, isolated evolution in bats. This is supported by a high seroprevalence in sampled bat populations. As bats represent ~20% of all classified mammals, these findings suggests the presence of a massive cryptic reservoir of poorly characterized influenza A viruses. Here, we review the exciting progress made on understanding these newly discovered viruses, and discuss their zoonotic potential.


Altered receptor-binding pocket in the bat-origin H17 and H18 hemagglutinins.
The structures highlighted here are from other groups (see review for details)