New Genetic Lineage of Tula Hantavirus in Microtus arvalis obscurus in Eastern Kazakhstan

Angelina Plyusnina1, Juha Laakkonen2, §, Jukka Niemimaa2, Heikki Henttonen2, Alexander Plyusnin*, 1
1 Department of Virology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland
2 Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa research Unit, Finland

2008 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

§ Current Address: Division of Veterinary Anatomy Department of Basic Veterinary Medicine P.O. Box 66, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Virology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 21 (Haartmaninkatu 3), FI-00014 Finland; Tel: +358-9-19126486; Fax: +358 9-19126491; E-mail:


Genomic sequences of Tula (TULV) hantavirus were recovered from tissue samples of European common voles Microtus arvalis (subspecies obscurus) captured in Kazakhstan, Central Asia. Phylogenetic analysis of the S genomic segment of Kazakh TULV strains showed that they form distinct, well supported genetic lineage and share a more ancient common ancestor with two Russian lineages of TULV. The deduced sequence of the nucleocapsid (N) protein of Kazakh TULV strains carried specific amino acid signature: T274Q276T281. The Microtus arvalis group includes several sibling species and/or subspecies in Eurasia, indicating recent and ongoing evolutionary radiation. Our data on TULV lineages in Central Asia, the region not studied for hantaviruses earlier, highlight the diversity of both Microtus host and the virus and also their co-evolution.