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【Featured research】
Even hedgehogs get infected with the virus

Hedgehogs are cute, aren‘t they? However, there have several spines. Schopenhauer, a German philosopher, described the love affair between hedgehogs as “the hedgehog’s dilemma.” The origin of the term was “the dilemma of the porcupine.” Every Little Thing’s “Love of the Harinezumi” is also famous. 

・ A novel species of adenovirus was discovered in a hedgehog with mild cold symptoms.
・ It was a member of the adenovirus that kills skunks.
・ The properties of hedgehog adenovirus are analyzed.

 Hedgehogs are likely to defend against any enemy or ally, but they can also develop viral infections. We found a fragment of the adenovirus genome in a hedgehog with mild cold symptoms. Adenovirus also causes colds in humans. It is also famous for causing pool fever in the summer. The analysis of the genome of this virus revealed that it was a member of the adenovirus that infects skunk. Skunk adenovirus kills skunk. However, hedgehog adenovirus does not kill hedgehogs. We are studying the mechanism by which hedgehog adenovirus causes disease in hedgehogs. Experiments infecting cultured cells with hedgehog adenovirus reveal the pathogenic mechanisms. This study aimed to clarify which viral protein defines the difference in pathogenicity between skunk and hedgehog adenoviruses. The genomes of the two viruses are 99% identical. Only 1% may decide to live or die. Alternatively, if a skunk infected with hedgehog adenovirus dies, then there is a problem with the skunk’s viral susceptibility. We are conducting a study with the desire to protect both hedgehogs and skunks from viral infection.
(Joint Research: Azabu University, Denenchohu Animal Hospital)