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Proteotyping: A new approach studying influenza virus evolution at the protein level

Virologica Sinica


Phylogenetic methods have been widely used to detect the evolution of influenza viruses. However, previous phylogenetic studies of influenza viruses do not make full use of the genetic information at the protein level and therefore cannot distinguish the subtle differences among viral genes. Proteotyping is a new approach to study influenza virus evolution. It aimed at mining the potential genetic information of the viral gene at the protein level by visualizing unique amino acid signatures (proteotypes). Neuraminidase gene fragments of some H5N1 avian influenza viruses were used as an example to illustrate how the proteotyping method worked. Bayesian analysis confirmed that the NA gene tree was mainly divided into three lineages. The NA proteotype analysis further suggested there might be multiple proteotypes within these three lineages and even within single genotypes. At the same time, some proteotypes might even involve more than one genotype. In particular, it also discovered some amino acids of viruses of some genotypes might co-reassort. All these results proved this approach could provide additional information in contrast to results from standard phylogenetic tree analysis.

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Correspondence to Chao-dong Zhu.

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Foundation items: National Nature Science Funds (30670242, 30500056)

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Shi, Wf., Zhang, Z., Peng, L. et al. Proteotyping: A new approach studying influenza virus evolution at the protein level. Virol. Sin. 22, 405–411 (2007).

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