Bat stem cells reveal how bats survive in a virus-ridden environment


Bats live in diverse ecological niches, accounting for one-fifth of all living mammalian species. They feed on fruits, nectar, arthropods, leaves, fish, small vertebrates, and blood. Their unique ability to fly, combined with the ability to navigate in the dark using laryngeal echolocation, makes bats remarkable mammals.

Stady: Bat pluripotent stem cells reveal an unusual interplay between host and viruses. Image credit: Hugh Lansdown/Shutterstock


Many types of bats, eg Rhinolophidae, Hipposideridae, and Pteropodidae, he can withstand virus attacks and survive. Many of the viruses that are borne by bats, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), henipaviruses, Middle East respiratory virus (MERS-CoV) and Marburg, have High mortality rates among humans.

Bats are asymptomatic viral hosts and are primarily tolerant due to modulation of the innate immune response. Although bats have small genome sizes, they harbor a large diversity of ancient and contemporary viral insertions of both retroviral and non-viral origin. This is why bats show an evolutionary history that is tolerant to viral pathogens.

Because some of the combined retrovirus sequences are full-length and also non-origin, genetic sequencing of bats provides information about bat virulence and zoonotic spread risk. In addition, analysis of the bat’s genetic sequence provides mechanistic insights associated with virus resistance.

There have been few studies that explore the relationship between bats and viruses. Molecular and cellular analyzes are essential for understanding evolutionary adaptations in bats to tolerate harmful viral pathogens. Current studies support the hypothesis that bats tolerate many viruses by acquiring specific adaptations in the innate immune system.

It is interesting to note how the genomic adaptations in the bat immune system resemble the process of viruses in deconstructing host responses. Viruses can effectively alter host cell processes in their favor, turning host cells into virus-producing factories.

Pluripotent stem cells are the founder cells of the entire embryo. During epigenetic reconditioning, which occurs when a cell reprograms into pluripotency, it induces transcriptional reactivation of autoretrovirals. These cells help understand how viruses interact with host cell programs.

About the study

Based on the fact that the bat genome contains the evolutionary history of many intact, full-length viral elements, there is a possibility that these genomes may also contain blueprints for virus replication. newly cell A regular study tested the hypothesis that bats genetically trigger the virus to evade immunity and provide an ideal breeding ground. This hypothesis has been experimentally tested using pluripotent stem cells.

Currently, there are no reliable cell models to study the biology of bats or how they interact with viral infections. Therefore, the authors created Including pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from two species of bat, viz., Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (wild greater batshoe) and Mewtis Mewtis (The eared bat is the largest mouse).

Similar characteristics and gene expression profiles were observed in both types of bats in response to viral attacks. In addition, there were a large number of endogenous viral sequences, mainly retroviruses. These results indicate that bats have mechanically evolved to carry a large payload of viral sequences. Furthermore, it is possible that bats have a great deal of intertwined relationships with viruses, much more than previously assumed.

As mentioned above, viruses can rapidly adapt their replication cycles according to cell type. The present study suggested that in bats, the pluripotent state acts as an ‘umbrella’ that can host a highly variable viral population.

A bat stem cell transplant model provides important insights into bats’ tolerance to viral infection. This model also helps clarify the role of bats as a viral reservoir and reveal the relationship between bats and viruses. In addition, it provides rationales for virus persistence, symbiotic protection against other pathogens, immune modulation strategies, mammalian adaptive piRNA or CRISPR-like systems, and the evolution of evolutionary processes.


The present study revealed the presence of a potentially large range of endogenous and exogenous viral products in bat pluripotent stem cells without significantly compromising their ability to reproduce and grow. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that bat stem cells can be a puzzling model system that can help understand how bats tolerate a diversity of viruses asymptomatically.

In the future, bat iPSCs and their differentiated progeny will enable us to gather more information regarding the biology of bats and their relationship to viruses. This approach will also help understand the molecular basis behind bats’ ability to withstand virus attacks.


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