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Phylogenetic relationships of bluetongue viruses based on gene S7

Wilson, W.C., Ma, H.C., Venter, E.H., Van Djik, A.A., Seal, B.S., Mecham, J.O.
Virus research 2000 v.67 no.2 pp. 141
Bluetongue virus, phylogeny, molecular systematics, genetic variation, amino acid sequences
Previous phylogenetic analyses based on bluetongue virus (BTV) gene segment L3, which encodes the inner core protein, VP3, indicated a geographical distribution of different genotypes. The inner core protein, VP7, of BTV has been identified as a viral attachment protein for insect cell infection. Because the inner core proteins are involved with infectivity of insect cells, we hypothesized that certain VP7 protein sequences are preferred by the insect vector species present in specific geographic locations. We compared the gene segment S7, which encodes VP7, from 39 strains of BTV isolated from Central America, the Caribbean Basin, the United States, South Africa and Australia. For comparison, the S7 sequences from strains of the related orbiviruses, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and African horse sickness virus (AHSV) were included. The S7 gene was highly conserved among BTV strains and fairly conserved among the other orbiviruses examined. VP7 sequence alignment suggests that the BTV receptor-binding site in the insect is also conserved. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the BTV S7 nucleotide sequences do not unequivocally display geographic distribution. The BTV strains can be separated into five clades based on the deduced VP7 amino acid sequence alignment and phylogeny but evidence for preferential selection by available gnat species for a particular VP7 clade is inconclusive. Differences between clades indicate allowable variation of the VP7 binding protein.