Viruses are ubiquitous in nature, however, very few have been identified that are associated with Antarctic animals. Here we report the identification of a polyomavirus in the kidney tissue of a deceased Weddell seal from the Ross Sea, Antarctica. The circular genome (5186 nt) has typical features of polyomaviruses with a small and larger T-antigen open reading frames (ORFs) and three ORFs encoding VP1, VP2 and VP3 capsid proteins. The genome of the Weddell seal polyomavirus (WsPyV) shares 85.4% genome-wide pairwise identity with a polyomavirus identified in a California sea lion. To our knowledge WsPyV is the first viral genome identified in Antarctic pinnipeds and the third polyomavirus to be identified from an Antarctic animal, the other two being from Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) and a sharp-spined notothen (Trematomus pennellii), both sampled in the Ross sea. The GenBank accession number: KX533457.
ASJC Scopus subject areas