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J Virol Methods. 2004 Mar 15;116(2):109-17.

Development and application of a capsid VP1 (region D) based reverse transcription PCR assay for genotyping of genogroup I and II noroviruses.

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Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7431, USA.


Noroviruses (NoV), previously called "Norwalk-like viruses", have emerged as the single most important cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide. Most diagnostic reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays target the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; however, the major capsid protein (VP1) is the reference genomic region for establishing genotypes. In this study, we analyzed complete NoV VP1 sequences (n=100) and determined a region (region D) that was most suitable to differentiate between genotypes. Within region D, we designed two genogroup specific, broadly reactive, degenerate primer sets (GI and GII). The region D primers were evaluated in a single-tube one-step RT-PCR assay using a panel of 81 (31 GI, 50 GII) NoV strains from both outbreaks and sporadic cases. In total, 95% of the samples tested positive using the new region D primer sets. Phylogenetic analysis of region D sequences (36 deduced amino acids for GI, 56 deduced amino acids for GII), revealed 19 clusters (7 within GI and 12 within GII) including three new genetically distinct clusters, two of which were unresolved using region A sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete VP1 sequences revealed identical grouping of strains and confirmed the newly identified clusters using region D. In summary, we successfully developed and evaluated a broadly reactive RT-PCR assay for reliable genotyping of GI and GII noroviruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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