Novel adenoviruses in wild primates: A high level of genetic diversity and evidence of zoonotic transmissions

Diana Wevers, Sonja Metzger, Fred Babweteera, Marc Bieberbach, Christophe Boesch, Kenneth Cameron, Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann, Mike Cranfield, Maryke Gray, Laurie A. Harris, Josephine Head, Kathryn Jeffery, Sascha Knauf, Felix Lankester, Siv Aina J Leendertz, Elizabeth Lonsdorf, Lawrence Mugisha, Andreas Nitsche, Patricia Reed, Martha RobbinsDominic A. Travis, Zinta Zommers, Fabian H. Leendertz, Bernhard Ehlers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Adenoviruses (AdVs) broadly infect vertebrate hosts, including a variety of nonhuman primates (NHPs). In the present study, we identified AdVs in NHPs living in their natural habitats, and through the combination of phylogenetic analyses and information on the habitats and epidemiological settings, we detected possible horizontal transmission events between NHPs and humans. Wild NHPs were analyzed with a pan-primate AdV-specific PCR using a degenerate nested primer set that targets the highly conserved adenovirus DNA polymerase gene. A plethora of novel AdV sequences were identified, representing at least 45 distinct AdVs. From the AdV-positive individuals, 29 nearly complete hexon genes were amplified and, based on phylogenetic analysis, tentatively allocated to all known human AdV species (Human adenovirus A to Human adenovirus G [HAdV-A to -G]) as well as to the only simian AdV species (Simian adenovirus A [SAdV-A]). Interestingly, five of the AdVs detected in great apes grouped into the HAdV-A, HAdV-D, HAdV-F, or SAdV-A clade. Furthermore, we report the first detection of AdVs in New World monkeys, clustering at the base of the primate AdV evolutionary tree. Most notably, six chimpanzee AdVs of species HAdV-A to HAdV-F revealed a remarkably close relationship to human AdVs, possibly indicating recent interspecies transmission events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10774-10784
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2011


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