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J Vet Res. 2018 Dec 31;62(4):405-412. doi: 10.2478/jvetres-2018-0057. eCollection 2018 Dec.

Genetic Analysis of the M Gene of Equine Influenza Virus Strains Isolated in Poland, in the Context of the Asian-like Group Formation.

Author information

Department of Virology, National Veterinary Research Institute, 24-100 Pulawy, Poland.



Traditionally, evolutionary analysis of equine influenza virus (EIV) is based on the HA gene. However, the specificity of the influenza virus enables the classification of viral strains into different phylogenetic groups, depending on the gene being analysed. The aim of the study was to analyse phylogenetic paths of EIV based on M gene with reference to the HA gene.

Material and Methods:

M gene of Polish isolates has been sequenced and analysed along with all M sequences of EIV available in GenBank database. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using BioEdit, ClustalW, and MEGA7 softwares.


The clustering of the strains isolated not only from Asia but also from Europe into one common Asian-like group of EIV was observed. Twelve nucleotide substitutions in the M gene of strains from the Asian-like group were crucial for the evolutionary analysis. We also observed homology in the M gene of the Asian-like and H7N7 strains.


M gene specific for the Asian-like group is present in strains recently isolated in Europe and Asia, which were classified previously in the Florida 2 clade based on HA. Therefore, Asian-like group does not seem to be assigned to a specific geographical region. Traces of H7N7 strains in more conservative genes like M of some contemporary EIV strains may indicate the link between the old phylogenetic group and recent H3N8 strains. Analysis of conservative genes may be more useful in tracking the direction of virus evolution than in the genes where the high variability rate may blur the original relationships.


M protein; equine influenza; influenza virus; phylogenetic analysis

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interests Statement: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this article.

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