Phylogenetic analysis of human group C rotavirus circulating in Brazil reveals a potential unique NSP4 genetic variant and high similarity with Asian strains
Group C rotaviruses (RVC) cause gastroenteritis in humans and animals worldwide, and the evidence for a possible zoonotic role has been recently provided. To gain information on the genetic diversity and relationships between human and animal RVC, we sequenced the VP4, VP7, and NSP4 genes of 12, 19, and 15 human strains, respectively, detected in São Paulo state during historical (1988 and 1993) and recent (2007 and 2008) Brazilian rotavirus surveillance. All RVC strains analyzed in the present study grouped into human genotype (G4-P-E2), and did not show any evidence of animal ancestry. Phylogenetic analysis showed that RVC samples detected in 1988 and 1993 clustered together with strains from distinct continents, indicating that historical RVC strains circulating in São Paulo were closely related to those strains circulating worldwide. All three genes (VP7, VP4 and NSP4) of São Paulo RVC strains isolated in 2007–2008 exhibited close phylogenetic relationship with human RVC strains isolated in China and Japan, suggesting that they are genetically linked, and that a gene flow could be occurring between this Asian countries and Brazil. We identified two distinct clusters in the NSP4 phylogenetic tree. One cluster formed exclusively by human Brazilian strains detected in 1997 and 2003–2004 in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Rio Grande do Sul states (Subgroup II) previously described in a different study, that displayed low sequence identities to other human strains formerly published, and to the Brazilian RVC strains (Subgroup I) characterized in the present study. These data suggests the circulation of two genetic profiles of the NSP4 gene in Brazil. High sequence diversity in NSP4 gene was previously reported in Asia, and additional diversity in NSP4 RVC strains spreading in the world should be expected. More in-depth molecular and epidemiological analysis of human RVC throughout the world will be needed to understand their diversity and clarify their evolution, as well as to develop classifications schemes.
KeywordsHuman group C Brazil Gastroenteritis Sequence analysis
We thank Marli Ueda and Jonas José Kisielius, Electronic Microscopy Laboratory of Adolfo Lutz Institute for their assistance with the electronic microscopy analysis. We are especially thankful to Enteric Diseases Laboratory staff, Audrey Cilli and Simone Guadagnucci Morillo for technical assistance, and Rita de Cássia Compagnoli Carmona for laboratory supervision.
Conflict of interest
Previous ethics committee approval was granted by Adolfo Lutz Institute—São Paulo—Brazil (CCD-BM 18/09). This was an anonymous unlinked study and informed consent was not required according to the resolution 466/12 concerning research evolving humans beings—Conselho Nacional de Saúde (CNS)/Ministério da Saúde (MS), Brasília, 2012.
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