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  • Author or Editor: Tamás Görföl x
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Babesia vesperuginis is the only piroplasm known to infect bats. Unlike most members of the genus Babesia, it is probably transmitted by a soft tick species (i.e. Argas vespertilionis). Recently, two studies have been conducted to clarify the phylogenetic status of this species, and both agreed on placing it into a basal position among Babesia sensu stricto (s.s.). However, several important groups of piroplasms were not included in the already reported phylogenetic trees of B. vesperuginis isolates. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to amplify an approx. 950-bp fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene of B. vesperuginis from A. vespertilionis specimens, and to compare its sequences with those from other piroplasmid groups in a broader phylogenetic context. Sequence comparisons focusing on either 18S rRNA or cox1 genes, as well as phylogenetic analyses involving separate and concatenated 18S rRNA and cox1 sequences indicate that B. vesperuginis is more closely related to the phylogenetic group of Theileriidae than to Babesia s.s. In particular, B. vesperuginis clustered closest to Cytauxzoon felis and the ‘prototheilerid’ B. conradae. The results of this study highlight that B. vesperuginis is a unique and taxonomically important species, which should be included in future studies aimed at resolving the comprehensive phylogeny of Piroplasmida.

Open access
Authors: Brigitta Zana, Gábor Kemenesi, Péter Urbán, Fanni Földes, Tamás Görföl, Péter Estók, Sándor Boldogh, Kornélia Kurucz and Ferenc Jakab

The predominance of dietary viruses in bat guano samples had been described recently, suggesting a new opportunity to survey the prevalence and to detect new viruses of arthropods or even plant-infecting viruses circulating locally in the ecosystem. Here we describe the diversity of viruses belonging to the order Picornavirales in Hungarian insectivorous bat guano samples. The metagenomic analysis conducted on our samples has revealed the significant predominance of aphid lethal paralysis virus (ALPV) and Big Sioux River virus (BSRV) in Hungary for the first time. Phylogenetic analysis was used to clarify the relationship to previously identified ALPV strains infecting honey bees, showing that our strain possesses a close genetic relationship with the strains that have already been described as pathogenic to honey bees. Furthermore, studies have previously confirmed the ability of these viruses to replicate in adult honey bees; however, no signs related to these viruses have been revealed yet. With the identification of two recently described possibly honey bee infecting viruses for the first time in Hungary, our results might have importance for the health conditions of Hungarian honey bee colonies in the future.

Restricted access
Authors: Márton Z. Vidovszky, Claudia Kohl, Sándor Boldogh, Tamás Görföl, Gudrun Wibbelt, Andreas Kurth and Balázs Harrach

From over 1250 extant species of the order Chiroptera, 25 and 28 are known to occur in Germany and Hungary, respectively. Close to 350 samples originating from 28 bat species (17 from Germany, 27 from Hungary) were screened for the presence of adenoviruses (AdVs) using a nested PCR that targets the DNA polymerase gene of AdVs. An additional PCR was designed and applied to amplify a fragment from the gene encoding the IVa2 protein of mastadenoviruses. All German samples originated from organs of bats found moribund or dead. The Hungarian samples were excrements collected from colonies of known bat species, throat or rectal swab samples, taken from live individuals that had been captured for faunistic surveys and migration studies, as well as internal organs of dead specimens. Overall, 51 samples (14.73%) were found positive. We detected 28 seemingly novel and six previously described bat AdVs by sequencing the PCR products. The positivity rate was the highest among the guano samples of bat colonies. In phylogeny reconstructions, the AdVs detected in bats clustered roughly, but not perfectly, according to the hosts’ families (Vespertilionidae, Rhinolophidae, Hipposideridae, Phyllostomidae and Pteropodidae). In a few cases, identical sequences were derived from animals of closely related species. On the other hand, some bat species proved to harbour more than one type of AdV. The high prevalence of infection and the large number of chiropteran species worldwide make us hypothesise that hundreds of different yet unknown AdV types might circulate in bats.

Open access
Authors: Krisztin Szőke, Attila D. Sándor, Sándor A. Boldogh, Tamás Görföl, Jan Votýpka, Nóra Takács, Péter Estók, Dávid Kováts, Alexandra Corduneanu, Viktor Molnár, Jenő Kontschán and Sándor Hornok

Kinetoplastids are flagellated protozoa, including principally free-living bodonids and exclusively parasitic trypanosomatids. In the most species-rich genus, Trypanosoma, more than thirty species were found to infect bats worldwide. Bat trypanosomes are also known to have played a significant role in the evolution of T. cruzi, a species with high veterinary medical significance. Although preliminary data attested the occurrence of bat trypanosomes in Hungary, these were never sought for with molecular methods. Therefore, amplification of an approx. 900-bp fragment of the 18S rRNA gene of kinetoplastids was attempted from 307 ixodid and 299 argasid ticks collected from bats, and from 207 cimicid bugs collected from or near bats in Hungary and Romania. Three samples, one per each bat ectoparasite group, were PCR positive. Sequencing revealed the presence of DNA from free-living bodonids (Bodo saltans and neobodonids), but no trypanosomes were detected. The most likely source of bodonid DNA detected here in engorged bat ectoparasites is the blood of their bat hosts. However, how bodonids were acquired by bats, can only be speculated. Bats are known to drink from freshwater bodies, i.e. the natural habitats of B. saltans and related species, allowing bats to ingest bodonids. Consequently, these results suggest that at least the DNA of bodonids might pass through the alimentary mucosa of bats into their circulation. The above findings highlight the importance of studying bats and other mammals for the occurrence of bodonids in their blood and excreta, with potential relevance to the evolution of free-living kinetoplastids towards parasitism.

Open access