Genetic diversity among sapoviruses
Norovirus and Sapovirus are two genera of the family Caliciviridae that contain viruses that can cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. Noroviruses (NOR) are genetically highly diverse but limited studies of the genetic diversity of sapoviruses (SAP) have been reported. In this study we characterized twenty-five SAP detected in our laboratory from outbreaks or sporadic cases of acute gastroenteritis in children from different geographical locations and in adults involved in a cruise ship outbreak investigation and a nursing home outbreak. Based on significant differences of partial RNA polymerase sequences (278–286 nt), the 25 strains were grouped into 12 genetic clusters, including 9 potential new clusters. Extended sequence analysis of the capsid gene of selected strains representing five potential new clusters supported this grouping. Four strains (Hou7-1181/90, Mex340/90, Cruise ship/00 and Argentina39) had <84% amino acid (aa) identity to each other and to the published sequences in the GenBank. Mex14917/00 was almost identical to Stockholm/97/SE whose RNA polymerase sequence was unknown. Phylogenetic and distance analyses of the capsid region of the four new strains showed that Hou7-1181/90 and Argentina39 represent two new genogroups and Mex340/90 and Cruise ship/00 belong to two new clusters within the London/92 genogroup. Thus, based on the capsid sequences we propose to classify the currently known SAP into nine genetic clusters within five genogroups, including one genogroup that is represented by an animal calicivirus, the porcine enteric calicivirus (PEC).