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Virus Res. 1995 Dec;39(2-3):237-50.

Genetic variation in Tula hantaviruses: sequence analysis of the S and M segments of strains from Central Europe.

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Department of Virology, University of Helsinki, Finland. Alexander.Plyusnin@Helsinki.FI


Hantavirus carried by the European common vole Microtus arvalis from Moravia (Czech Republic) was analyzed by RT-PCR-sequencing and by reactivity with a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Sequencing of the full-length S segment and the proximal part of the M segment showed that the virus belonged to genotype Tula (TUL) we discovered earlier in Microtus arvalis from Central Russia. This finding supported the concept of host dependence of hantaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses suggested a similar evolutionary history for S and M genes of TUL strains; thus far there is no evidence for reassortment in TUL. Geographic clustering of TUL genetic variants was observed and different levels of the genetic variability were revealed resembling those estimated for another hantavirus, Puumala (PUU). Comparison of the deduced N protein sequence from Russia and from Moravia showed that genetic drift in TUL occurred not only by accumulation of point mutations but also by the deletion of a nucleotide triplet. It encoded Ser252 which was located within a highly variable hydrophilic part of the N protein carrying B-cell epitopes and presumably forming a loop. Analysis of naturally expressed TUL N-antigen derived from lung tissue of infected voles with MAbs indicated antigenic heterogeneity among TUL strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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