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J Med Virol. 2005 Jun;76(2):241-7.

A phylogenetic study of human respiratory syncytial viruses group A and B strains isolated in two cities in Japan from 1980-2002.

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Department of Pediatrics, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Japan.


The circulation pattern and genetic evolution of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Japan were examined based on 109 RSV field strains isolated over 20 seasons (1980-2002) in two cities, Sapporo and Tokyo. The second hypervariable region of the large glycoprotein (G) gene was amplified by RT-PCR and the products sequenced directly. The nucleotide sequences were compared to those representatives of RSV genotypes identified previously. Japanese group A and B isolates clustered into five and four genotypes defined previously, respectively. Another one group A and one group B genotypes, which could not be assigned to previous genotypes, were also identified. Although different genotypes usually co-circulated in each season, the isolates in proximate seasons from two communities were usually located in the same branches. Moreover, the strains with genotypes defined previously were usually isolated at the same time as each reference strain of Western countries. Several mutant group B strains with 1-20 longer amino acid G proteins were newly identified in Sapporo. These findings suggest that Japanese RSV strains underwent geographical and also temporal clustering while participating in RSV genetic evolution in a global setting. In addition, Japanese strains, especially group B, might have evolved individually in each community, sometimes changing the length of the G protein.

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