Genomic characterization of Alphacoronavirus from Mops condylurus bats in Nigeria

Uwem George, Oluwadamilola George, Judith Oguzie, Oluwadamilola Osasona, Babatunde Motayo, Joshua Kamani, Philomena Eromon, Onikepe Folarin, Anise Happi, Isaac Komolafe, Christian Happi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coronaviruses (CoVs) are responsible for sporadic, epidemic and pandemic respiratory diseases worldwide. Bats have been identified as the reservoir for CoVs. To increase the number of complete coronavirus genomes in Africa and to comprehend the molecular epidemiology of bat Alphacoronaviruses (AlphaCoVs), we used deep metagenomics shotgun sequencing to obtain three (3) near-complete genomes of AlphaCoVs from Mops condylurus (Angolan free-tailed) bat in Nigeria. Phylogenetic and pairwise identity analysis of open reading frame 1ab (ORF1ab), spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M) and nucleocapsid (N) genes of AlphaCoV in this study to previously described AlphaCoVs subgenera showed that the Nigerian AlphaCoVs may be members of potentially unique AlphaCoV subgenera circulating exclusively in bats in the Molossidae bat family. Recombination events were detected, suggesting the evolution of AlphaCoVs within the Molossidae family. The pairwise identity of the S gene in this study and previously published S gene sequences of other AlphaCoVs indicate that the Nigerian strains may have a genetically unique spike protein that is distantly related to other AlphaCoVs. Variations involving non-polar to polar amino acid substitution in both the Heptad Repeat (HR) regions 1 and 2 were observed. Further monitoring of bats to understand the host receptor use requirements of CoVs and interspecies CoV transmission in Africa is necessary to identify and prevent the potential danger that bat CoVs pose to public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number199174
JournalVirus Research
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Alphacoronavirus
  • Metagenomics
  • Molossidae
  • Nigeria
  • Recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research


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