Archives of Virology

, Volume 163, Issue 11, pp 3065–3072 | Cite as

Genetic diversity and phylogenetic analysis of newly discovered bat astroviruses in Korea

  • Sook-Young Lee
  • Ki-Dong Son
  • Kim Yong-Sik
  • Seung-Jun Wang
  • Yong-Kwan Kim
  • Weon-Hwa Jheong
  • Jae-Ku OemEmail author
Original Article


Bats have been identified as a natural reservoir for several potentially zoonotic viruses. Recently, astroviruses have been reported in bats in many countries, but not Korea. We collected 363 bat samples from thirteen species at twenty-nine sites in Korea across 2016 and tested them for astrovirus. The detection of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene in bat astroviruses was confirmed in thirty-four bats across four bat species in Korea: twenty-five from Miniopterus fuliginosusi, one from Myotis macrodactylus, four from M. petax, and four from Rhinolophus ferrumequinum. The highest detection rates for astrovirus were found in Sunchang (61.5%, 8/13 bats), and in the samples collected in April (63.2%, 12/19 bats). The amino acid identity of astroviral sequences identified from bat samples was ≥ 46.6%. More specifically, the amino acid identity within multiple clones from individual bats was ≥ 50.8%. Additionally, the phylogenetic topology between astroviruses from different bat families showed a close relationship. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of the partial ORF2 sequence of bat astroviruses was found to have a maximum similarity of 73.3–74.8% with available bat astrovirus sequences. These results indicate potential multiple-infection by several bat astrovirus species in individual bats, or hyperpolymorphism in the astrovirus strains, as well as the transmission of astroviruses across bat families; furthermore, our phylogenetic analysis of the partial ORF2 implied that a novel astrovirus may exist. However, the wide diversity of astroviral sequences appeared to have no significant correlation with bat species or the spatiotemporal distribution of Korean bat astroviruses.



We thank Dr. C. W. Jeong and his colleagues for their assistance in the collection of wild bat samples.


This study was supported by research funds for newly appointed professors of Chonbuk National University in 2017. This research was also supported by the National Institute of Environmental Research of the Republic of Korea (Grant number 2016-01-033). This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (Grant Number NRF-2018R1D1A1B07041764).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the case and use of animals were followed.

Informed consent

Not applicable (Human subjects were not involved in this study).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sook-Young Lee
    • 1
  • Ki-Dong Son
    • 1
  • Kim Yong-Sik
    • 2
  • Seung-Jun Wang
    • 1
  • Yong-Kwan Kim
    • 1
  • Weon-Hwa Jheong
    • 1
  • Jae-Ku Oem
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Health Research DepartmentNational Institution of Environmental ResearchIncheonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Laboratory of Veterinary Infectious Disease, College of Veterinary MedicineChonbuk National UniversityIksanRepublic of Korea

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