[MARMAM] Two new papers on dolphin morbillivirus in the Mediterranean Sea

Sandro Mazzariol sandro.mazzariol at unipd.it
Mon Jan 30 11:45:49 PST 2017

Dear Collegues
we're pleased to inform you about two articles recently published on 
dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) found in fin and bealed whales.

PHYSALUS)" described investigations on the virus deemed to be 
responsible for a recent mortality cluster in the Mediterranean Sea in 
the last years. The abstract is here below reported:

Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) has been deemed as one of the most relevant 
threats for fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) being responsible for a 
mortality outbreak in the Mediterranean Sea in the last years. Knowledge 
of the complete viral genome is essential to understand any structural 
changes that could modify virus pathogenesis and viral tissue tropism. 
We report the complete DMV sequence of N, P/V/C, M, F and H genes 
identified from a fin whale and the comparison of primary to quaternary 
structure of proteins between this fin whale strain and some of those 
isolated during the 1990–‘92 and the 2006–‘08 epidemics. Some relevant 
substitutions were detected, particularly Asn52Ser located on F protein 
and Ile21Thr on N protein. Comparing mutations found in the fin whale 
DMV with those occurring in viral strains of other cetacean species, 
some of them were proven to be the result of diversifying selection, 
thus allowing to speculate on their role in host adaptation and on the 
way they could affect the interaction between the viral attachment and 
fusion with the target host cells.

Citation: Beffagna, G. et al. Genomic and structural investigation on 
dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) in Mediterranean fin whales (Balaenoptera 
physalus). Sci. Rep. 7, 41554

Download the full article here: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep41554

2) The second article describes the first identification of DMV in a 
Cuvier's beaked whale stranded in Italy in 2015. The paper reports also 
results of the constant monitoring along the Italian coastlines related 
to DMV. Here below the abstract and data for citation and downloading.

Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) has caused several mortality events in 
Mediterranean striped (Stenella coeruleoalba) and bottlenose (Tursiops 
truncatus) dolphins populations since nineties; in the last 5 years, the 
virus was reported to infect new hosts in this basin, such as fin whales 
(Balaenoptera physalus), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) and even 
a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). Very recently, a calf Cuvier’s beaked 
whale (Ziphius cavirostris) calf stranded on the Southern Italian 
coastline with mild pathological findings suggestive of morbilliviral 
infection, received the first confirmation of DMV infection in this 
species by biomolecular evidences on lung tissue. This new cross species 
infection report, along with 19% of the cetaceans specimens examined by 
the Italian Stranding Network being found positive to DMV, support the 
hypothesis of an endemic circulation of this virus among Mediterranean 

Citation: Centelleghe C, Beffagna G, Palmisano G, Franzo G, Casalone C, 
Pautasso A, Giorda F, Di Nocera F, Iaccarino D, Santoro M, Di Guardo G 
and Mazzariol S (2017). Dolphin morbillivirus in a Cuvier’s beaked whale 
(Ziphius cavirostris), Italy. Front. Microbiol. 8:111. doi: 


All the best

Sandro Mazzariol

Dr. Sandro Mazzariol, DVM, PhD
Dipartimento di Biomedicina Comparata e Alimentazione (BCA)
Università degli Studi di Padova
Cetaceans strandings Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Viale dell'Università 16
35020 - Legnaro (PD)

tel.: +39 049 827 2963
fax:  +39 049 827 2973
skype: smazzariol

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