Sequence and phylogenetic analysis of surface protein genes of emerging H9N2 influenza viruses isolated from poultry in two geographical regions of China
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Subtype H9N2 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) circulating in China have aroused increasing concerns for their impact on poultry and risk to public health. The present study was an attempt to elucidate the phylogenetic relationship of H9N2 AIVs in two geographically distinct regions of China where vaccination is routinely practiced. A total of 18 emerging H9N2 isolates were identified and genetically characterized. Phylogenetic analysis of hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes confirmed that the isolates belonged to the Y280 lineage. Based on the HA genes, the isolates were subdivided into two subgroups. The viruses from Zhejiang Province were clustered together in Group I, while the isolates from Guangdong Province were clustered together in Group II. Antigenic characterization showed that the tested viruses were antigenically different when compared to the current used vaccine strain. It was notable that 14 out of total 18 isolates had an amino acid exchange (Q→L) at position 216 (226 by H3 Numbering) in the receptor-binding site, which indicated that the virus had potential affinity of binding to human like receptor. These results suggest that the emerging viruses have potential risk to public health than previously thought. Therefore, continuous surveillance studies of H9N2 influenza virus are very important to the prognosis and control of future influenza pandemics.
KeywordsPhylogenetic analysis H9N2 subtype Avian influenza virus Surface protein
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