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J Virol. 2007 Jan;81(2):1013-21. Epub 2006 Sep 27.

Analysis of a new human parechovirus allows the definition of parechovirus types and the identification of RNA structural domains.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, United Kingdom.


Human parechoviruses (HPeV), members of the Parechovirus genus of Picornaviridae, are frequent pathogens but have been comparatively poorly studied, and little is known of their diversity, evolution, and molecular biology. To increase the amount of information available, we have analyzed 7 HPeV strains isolated in California between 1973 and 1992. We found that, on the basis of VP1 sequences, these fall into two genetic groups, one of which has not been previously observed, bringing the number of known groups to five. While these correlate partly with the three known serotypes, two members of the HPeV2 serotype belong to different genetic groups. In view of the growing importance of molecular techniques in diagnosis, we suggest that genotype is an important criterion for identifying viruses, and we propose that the genetic groups we have defined should be termed human parechovirus types 1 to 5. Complete nucleotide sequence analysis of two of the Californian isolates, representing two types, confirmed the identification of a new genetic group and suggested a role for recombination in parechovirus evolution. It also allowed the identification of a putative HPeV1 cis-acting replication element, which is located in the VP0 coding region, as well as the refinement of previously predicted 5' and 3' untranslated region structures. Thus, the results have significantly improved our understanding of these common pathogens.

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