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Characterization of a filovirus (Měnglà virus) from Rousettus bats in China

An Author Correction to this article was published on 08 February 2019

This article has been updated


Filoviruses, especially Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV), are notoriously pathogenic and capable of causing severe haemorrhagic fever diseases in humans with high lethality1,2. The risk of future outbreaks is exacerbated by the discovery of other bat-borne filoviruses of wide genetic diversity globally3,4,5. Here we report the characterization of a phylogenetically distinct bat filovirus, named Měnglà virus (MLAV). The coding-complete genome of MLAV shares 32–54% nucleotide sequence identity with known filoviruses. Phylogenetic analysis places this new virus between EBOV and MARV, suggesting the need for a new genus taxon. Importantly, despite the low amino acid sequence identity (22–39%) of the glycoprotein with other filoviruses, MLAV is capable of using the Niemann–Pick C1 (NPC1) as entry receptor. MLAV is also replication-competent with chimeric MLAV mini-genomes containing EBOV or MARV leader and trailer sequences, indicating that these viruses are evolutionally and functionally closely related. Finally, MLAV glycoprotein-typed pseudo-types transduced cell lines derived from humans, monkeys, dogs, hamsters and bats, implying a broad species cell tropism with a high risk of interspecies spillover transmission.

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Fig. 1: Genetic characterization of MLAV.
Fig. 2: Usage of NPC1 for MLAV entry and transduction.
Fig. 3: Chimeric MLAV mini-genome assay.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request. The GenBank accession number for the genome sequence of MLAV is KX371887.

Change history

  • 08 February 2019

    In the version of this Letter originally published, in the ‘Phylogenetic analysis’ section of the Methods, the authors mistakenly stated that the GenBank accession number for the Ravn virus genome sequence was FJ750958. The correct accession number is DQ447649 for Ravn virus, Kenya, 1987. Accordingly, the label ‘RAVN2007’ in Fig. 1b should have been ‘RAVV1987’. This mistake does not change any conclusions in this study. This statement and figure have now been amended in all versions of the Letter, and the Supplementary Information file has been updated accordingly.


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This study was supported in part by the strategic priority research programme of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (no. XDB29010000 to Z-L.S.), Singapore National Research Foundation grants (nos. NRF2012NRF-CRP001-056 and NRF2016NRF-NSFC002-013 to L.-F.W.) and a Singapore MINDEF grant (no. MINDEF-NUS-DIRP/2015/04 to L.-F.W. and D.E.A.). X.L.Y. is supported by the Visiting Scientist Fellowship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We thank T. Hoenen and H. Feldmann for providing plasmids from which the relevant EBOV genes were derived for this study.

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Authors and Affiliations



X.-L.Y., L.-F.W. and Z.-L.S. conceived the study. X.-L.Y., C.W.T., R.-D.J., B.L., W.Z., Y.Z., X.F.L., P.Z., X.-L.L., L.Z., S.-Y.L. and Y.-Z.Z. conducted the experiments. W.G., Z.-L.S. and L.-F.W. provided resources and reagents. X.-L.Y., C.W.T. and D.E.A. analysed the data. X.-L.Y., C.W.T., D.E.A., Z.-L.S. and L.-F.W. prepared the manuscript. All authors read, edited and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lin-Fa Wang or Zheng-Li Shi.

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Supplementary Figures 1–5, and Supplementary Tables 1 and 2.

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Yang, XL., Tan, C.W., Anderson, D.E. et al. Characterization of a filovirus (Měnglà virus) from Rousettus bats in China. Nat Microbiol 4, 390–395 (2019).

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