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Virus Res. 1994 Jan;31(1):67-87.

Heterogeneity of the L2 gene of field isolates of bluetongue virus serotype 17 from the San Joaquin Valley of California.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


Genome segment 2 (L2) from six field isolates of bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 17 was sequenced by cycling sequencing after the amplification of the viral cDNA by the polymerase chain reaction. The viruses were isolated from sheep, cattle and a goat in the San Joaquin Valley of California during the years 1981 and 1990. These viruses exhibit divergent patterns of neutralization with BTV 17-specific monoclonal antibodies. The six L2 genes of the BTV 17 field isolates all encode a protein of 955 amino acids. Similarity of the nucleotide sequences of the L2 genes with respect to the prototype strain ranges between 93.8% and 95.1%, whereas the similarity between the field isolates ranges from 96.8% to 99.1%. Although very closely related, the L2 gene of each virus is distinct. Furthermore, mutations in the L2 gene of field isolates of BTV do not consistently follow a linear pattern of accumulation over time. Some amino acid changes in the VP2 protein of field strains were conserved over time, whereas others were not correlated with the year of isolation and some substitutions were unique to individual viruses. The predicted VP2s constitute a group of non-identical, but closely related proteins. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that the viral variants which co-circulate in the San Joaquin Valley could evolve by different evolutionary pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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