ABSTRACT To amplify the NS, NP, PB1, PB2 and PA internal genes of two equine H3N8 influenza A viruses isolated in Greece in 2003 and 2007 five primer pairs were designed. The derived sequences were analysed from a phylogenetic point of view and compared with the evolutionary patters of the HA and NA proteins. Comparison of nucleotide sequences of the five internal genes of the Greek strains showed high similarity (99.3% - 99.7%) to strains isolated from outbreaks in Europe and Asia during 2002-2008. A total of 11 amino acid substitutions of the surface protein NA and the RNP complex proteins were identified in the Greek strains compared to those of progenitor viruses circulating up to 2003. These substitutions were repeated in Chinese and Mongolian isolates from outbreaks in 2007-2008. Notably NS1 protein did not acquired amino acid substitutions and moreover, a stop codon introduced at position 220 was stably maintained in the Greek strains. Phylogenetic trees of the five internal genes did not show the same separation in clades. Greek strains classified them into the American sublineage (as for the PA) Florida clade II (as for the NP, NS1 and PB1) and among Chinese strains of 2007-2008 outbreaks (as for the PB2). Additionally, evolutionary profiles of these internal proteins, except PB2, indicated a parallel evolution fashion to the HA protein, suggesting the possible occurrence of genetic reassortment between H3N8 viruses of district evolutionary lineages. In conclusion, phylogenetic analysis of the internal genes reported in this study could establish a candidate framework for future scientific communications on the phylogenetic diversity and evolution of the equine influenza viruses.
Cite this paper
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