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A new Aura virus isolate in Brazil shows segment duplication in the variable region of the nsP3 gene

Mosimann, Ana Luiza Pamplona, de Siqueira, Mirian Krystel, Ceole, Ligia Fernanda, Nunes Duarte dos Santos, Claudia
Parasites & vectors 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 321
Aura virus, Culicidae, cell culture, complementary DNA, gene amplification, genes, genetic analysis, genetic variation, phenotype, protocols, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, transmission electron microscopy, vertebrates, viruses, Brazil
BACKGROUND: A new isolate of Aura virus serendipitously discovered as a cell culture contaminant is reported in this manuscript. Aura virus belongs to the family Togaviridae and is classified in the genus Alphavirus. There are only two reports of Aura virus isolation from mosquitoes in the scientific literature, and the existence of a vertebrate host is still unknown. The discovery of this new isolate was based on transmission electron microscopy and nucleic acid amplification through a non-specific RT-PCR amplification protocol followed by sequencing. RESULTS: Genetic analysis has shown that the new virus shares a high degree of identity with the previously described isolate (GenBank: AF126284.1). A major difference was observed in the nsP3 gene in which a 234-nucleotide duplication has been identified. Furthermore, a pronounced difference was observed in cell cultures compared to the data available for the previously described isolate. Cell permissiveness and phenotypic characteristics in C6/36, Vero and BHK-21 cells were found to differ from previous reports. This may be due to the genetic differences that have been observed. CONCLUSIONS: The genetic and biological characteristics of the new Aura virus isolate are suggestive of viral adaptation to the cell substrate. The development of a cDNA clone will lend a perspective and better understanding of these results as well as open avenues for its use as a biotechnological tool, as seen for other alphaviruses.