Modeling Borna Disease Virus in Vitro Spread Reveals the Mode of Antiviral Effect Conferred by an Endogenous Bornavirus-Like Element

Kwang Su Kim, Yusuke Yamamoto, Shinji Nakaoka, Keizo Tomonaga, Shingo Iwami, Tomoyuki Honda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Endogenous retroviruses have demonstrated exaptation during long-term evolution with hosts, e.g., resulting in acquisition of antiviral effect on related extant viral infections. While empirical studies have found that an endogenous bornavirus-like element derived from viral nucleoprotein (itEBLN) in the ground squirrel genome shows antiviral effect on virus replication and de novo infection, the antiviral mechanism, dynamics, and quantitative effect of itEBLN remain unknown. In this study, we experimentally and theoretically investigated the dynamics of how an extant bornavirus, Borna disease virus 1 (BoDV-1), spreads and replicates in uninfected, BoDV-1-infected, and itEBLN-expressing cultured cells. Quantifying antiviral effect based on time course data sets, we found that the antiviral effects of itEBLN are estimated to be 75% and 34% on intercellular virus spread and intracellular virus replication, respectively. This discrepancy between intercellular virus spread and intracellular viral replication suggests that viral processes other than the replication of viral ribonucleoprotein complex (RNP) contributed to the suppression of virus spread in itEBLN-expressing cells. Because itEBLN binds to the BoDV-1 RNP, the suppression of viral RNP trafficking can be an attractive candidate explaining this discrepancy. IMPORTANCE Accumulating evidence suggests that some endogenous viral elements (EVEs), including endogenous retroviruses and endogenous nonretroviral virus elements, have acquired functions in the host as a result of long-term coevolution. Recently, an endogenous bornavirus-like element (itEBLN) found in the ground squirrel genome has been shown to have antiviral activity against exogenous bornavirus infection. In this study, we first quantified bornavirus spread in cultured cells and then calculated the antiviral activity of itEBLN on bornavirus infection. The calculated antiviral activity of itEBLN suggests its suppression of multiple processes in the viral life cycle. To our knowledge, this is the first study quantifying the antiviral activity of EVEs and speculating on a model of how some EVEs have acquired antiviral activity during host-virus arms races.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01204-20
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Oct 14 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Borna disease virus
  • Data analysis
  • Endogenous bornavirus-like element
  • Endogenous bornavirus-like nucleoproteins
  • Mathematical modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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