Mice (Mus musculus) are the most commonly used laboratory animals. Viral metagenomics on tissues of immunodeficient mice revealed sequences of a novel mammalian astrovirus. Using PCR, we screened mice from 4 breeders, 4 pharmaceutical companies, 14 research institutes and 30 universities in the US and Japan. Mice from one US breeder tested positive while none from Japanese breeders were positive for MuAstV. Mice in over half of the universities (19/30), institutes (7/14) and pharmaceutical animal facilities (2/4) investigated revealed the presence of MuAstV. Nine mice strains tested positive including both immunodeficient strains (NSG, NOD-SCID, NSG-3GS, C57BL6-Timp-3-/-, and uPA-NOG) and immunocompetent strains (B6J, ICR, Bash2, BALB/c). Our data indicates that MuAstV has a wide geographical, institutional and host strain distribution. Comparison of the MuAstV RdRp sequences showed numerous mutations indicating ongoing viral divergence in different facilities. This study demonstrates the need for metagenomic screening of laboratory animals to identify adventitious infections that may affect experimental outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)