Tofla virus: A newly identified Nairovirus of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever group isolated from ticks in Japan.
Ixodid ticks transmit several important viral pathogens. We isolated a new virus (Tofla virus: TFLV) from Heamaphysalis flava and Heamaphysalis formsensis in Japan. The full-genome sequences revealed that TFLV belonged to the genus Nairovirus, family Bunyaviridae. Phylogenetic analyses and neutralization tests suggested that TFLV is closely related to the Hazara virus and that it is classified into the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever group. TFLV caused lethal infection in IFNAR KO mice. The TFLV-infected mice exhibited a gastrointestinal disorder, and positron emission tomography-computed tomography images showed a significant uptake of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose in the intestinal tract. TFLV was able to infect and propagate in cultured cells of African green monkey-derived Vero E6 cells and human-derived SK-N-SH, T98-G and HEK-293 cells. Although TFLV infections in humans and animals are currently unknown, our findings may provide clues to understand the potential infectivity and to develop of pre-emptive countermeasures against this new tick-borne Nairovirus.