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Antigenic variation of bovine ephemeral fever viruses isolated in Iran, 2012–2013

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Bovine ephemeral fever virus (BEFV) is an economic arthropod-borne virus distributed in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Based on the sequence of the gene encoding the surface glycoprotein G, the viral antigenic determinant, BEFV has been phylogenetically classified into three clusters, including Australia, East Asia, and the Middle East. Here, we provide evidence for antigenic variations among the BEFV isolates in Iran during the period of 2012 to 2013 and also the exotic YHL strain, which are all classified into the East Asian cluster of the virus. For this propose, the entire length of the G gene of the viruses were sequenced and phylogenetically compared. The corresponding antigenic sites (G1–G4) were analyzed and antigenic relatedness among these viruses was measured. The two Iranian viruses, which displayed substitutions at residues E503K in the site G1 and E461K in the predicted site G4, were partially neutralized by each other’s antisera (R value = 63.23%); however, these two viruses exhibited much lower cross-neutralization that measured by R value as 28.28% and 22.82%, respectively. The crucial substitution at amino acid R218K in the site G3a is believed to be the foremost cause of these declines. The data emphasize the frequent evolution of BEFV in different time periods and geographic regions, in which the new variants can emerge and likely escape from the pre-existing immunities. Thus, continuous monitoring of the circulating viruses is necessary for understanding the viral evolution and evaluation of protective immunity induced by the heterologous viruses.

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The authors thank Razi Vaccine and Serum Institute for financial support of this work.

Author information

SA carried out the experiment and analyzed the data. MB designed the study and wrote the manuscript.

Correspondence to Mehran Bakhshesh.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

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All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Almasi, S., Bakhshesh, M. Antigenic variation of bovine ephemeral fever viruses isolated in Iran, 2012–2013. Virus Genes 55, 654–659 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11262-019-01688-6

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  • BEFV
  • Genetic variation
  • Iran
  • Protectiveness