Isolation and characterization of Kabuto Mountain virus, a new tick-borne phlebovirus from Haemaphysalis flava ticks in Japan

Hiroko Ejiri, Chang Kweng Lim, Haruhiko Isawa, Yukie Yamaguchi, Ryosuke Fujita, Mutsuyo Takayama-Ito, Ryusei Kuwata, Daisuke Kobayashi, Madoka Horiya, Guillermo Posadas-Herrera, Itoe Iizuka-Shiota, Satsuki Kakiuchi, Yukie Katayama, Toshihiko Hayashi, Toshinori Sasaki, Mutsuo Kobayashi, Shigeru Morikawa, Ken Maeda, Tetsuya Mizutani, Koki KakuMasayuki Saijo, Kyoko Sawabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


In Japan, indigenous tick-borne phleboviruses (TBPVs) and their associated diseases first became evident in 2013 by reported human cases of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS). In this study, we report a novel member of the genus Phlebovirus designated as Kabuto Mountain virus (KAMV), which was isolated from the ixodid tick Haemaphysalis flava in Hyogo, Japan. A complete viral genome sequencing and phylogenetic analyses showed that KAMV is a novel member of TBPVs, which is closely related to the Uukuniemi and Kaisodi group viruses. However, unlike the Uukuniemi group viruses, the 165-nt intergenic region (IGR) in the KAMV S segment was highly C-rich in the genomic sense and not predicted to form a secondary structure, which are rather similar to those of the Kaisodi group viruses and most mosquito/sandfly-borne phleboviruses. Furthermore, the NSs protein of KAMV was highly divergent from those of other TBPVs. These results provided further insights into the genetic diversity and evolutionary relationships of TBPVs. KAMV could infect and replicate in some rodent and primate cell lines. We evaluated the infectivity and pathogenicity of KAMV in suckling mice, where we obtained a virulent strain after two passages via intracerebral inoculation. This is the first report showing the existence of a previously unrecognized TBPV in Japan, other than the SFTS virus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
JournalVirus Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research
  • Virology


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