Full-length genome sequences of two SARS-like coronaviruses in horseshoe bats and genetic variation analysis

Wuze Ren
Wendong Li
Meng Yu


Bats were recently identified as natural reservoirs of SARS-like coronavirus (SL-CoV) or SARS coronavirus-like virus. These viruses, together with SARS coronaviruses (SARS-CoV) isolated from human and palm civet, form a distinctive cluster within the group 2 coronaviruses of the genus Coronavirus, tentatively named group 2b (G2b). In this study, complete genome sequences of two additional group 2b coronaviruses (G2b-CoVs) were determined from horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (G2b-CoV Rf1) and Rhinolophus macrotis (G2b-CoV Rm1). The bat G2b-CoV isolates have an identical genome organization and share an overall genome sequence identity of 88–92 % among themselves and between them and the human/civet isolates. The most variable regions are located in the genes encoding nsp3, ORF3a, spike protein and ORF8 when bat and human/civet G2b-CoV isolates are compared. Genetic analysis demonstrated that a diverse G2b-CoV population exists in the bat habitat and has evolved from a common ancestor of SARS-CoV.