Molecular characterization of a novel recombinant strain of human astrovirus associated with gastroenteritis in children
We report a naturally occurring human astrovirus (HAstV) strain detected in two different geographic locations. We identified two isolates of this strain in a diarrhea outbreak at a child care center in Houston, Texas; and two isolates in diarrhea stool samples from two children in Mexico City. All four isolates were detected in stool samples by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). One of the Mexican isolates was typed by EIA and all four isolates were HAstV-5 by typing RT-PCR. The four isolates were >97% nucleotide-identical in two different genomic regions: ORF1a (246nt), and the 3′ end of the genome (471nt). One isolate from each geographic location was further sequenced in the transition region from ORF1b to ORF2 (1255nt) and this region of the two isolates showed ≥ 99% nt identity. Phylogenetic analyses of sequences of eight HAstV antigenic types and the novel strain in the transition region demonstrated the new strain being closely related to HAstV-3 in ORF1b, but closest to HAstV-5 in ORF2. These results and high sequence identity among all HAstV antigenic types in the transition region and RNA structural predictions supported a potential recombination site at the ORF1b/ORF2 junction. This is the first evidence that recombination occurs among human astroviruses.
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