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Virus Res. 2003 May;93(1):127-38.

VP7 gene polymorphism of serotype G9 rotavirus strains and its impact on G genotype determination by PCR.

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  • 1Departamento de Virologia, Instituto de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Universitária, CCS-Bl. I, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 21.941-590, Brazil.


Rotaviruses are the single most important etiologic agents of severe diarrhea of infants and young children worldwide. Surveillance of rotavirus serotypes/genotypes (both VP7[G] and VP4[P]) is in progress globally in which polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been the assay of choice. We investigated polymorphism of the VP7 gene of serotype G9 rotavirus strains and its impact on the determination of VP7 gene genotype by PCR assay. By VP7 gene sequence analysis, we and others have previously shown that the G9 rotavirus strains belong to one of three VP7 gene lineages. By PCR assay using three different sets of commonly used primers specific for G1-4, 8 and 9, 23 Brazilian G9 strains and 5 well-characterized prototype G9 strains which collectively represented all three VP7 gene lineages were typed as: (i) G3; (ii) G4; (iii) G9; (iv) G3 and G9; or (v) G9 and G4 depending on a primer pool employed. This phenomenon appeared to be due to: (i) a VP7 gene lineage-specific polymorphism, more specifically mutation(s) in the primer binding region of the VP7 gene of G9 strain; and (ii) the magnitude of difference in nucleotide homology at respective primer binding site between homotypic (G9) and heterotypic (G3 or G4) primers present in a primer pool employed.

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