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Marked genomic heterogeneity of rat hepatitis E virus strains in Indonesia demonstrated on a full-length genome analysis

Mulyanto,, Suparyatmo, Joseph Benedictus, Andayani, I Gusti Ayu Sri, Khalid,, Takahashi, Masaharu, Ohnishi, Hiroshi, Jirintai, Suljid, Nagashima, Shigeo, Nishizawa, Tsutomu, Okamoto, Hiroaki
Virus research 2014 v.179 pp. 102-112
Hepatitis E virus, RNA, Rattus rattus, antibodies, genome, genomics, nucleotide sequences, polyphyly, rats, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, sequence analysis, Germany, Indonesia, Vietnam
Rat hepatitis E virus (HEV) strains have recently been isolated in several areas of Germany, Vietnam, the United States, Indonesia and China. However, genetic information regarding these rat HEV strains is limited. A total of 369 wild rats (Rattus rattus) captured in Central Java (Solo) and on Lombok Island, Indonesia were tested for the presence of rat HEV-specific antibodies and RNA. Overall, 137 rats (37.1%) tested positive for rat anti-HEV antibodies, while 97 (26.3%) had rat HEV RNA detectable on reverse transcription-PCR with primers targeting the ORF1-ORF2 junctional region. The 97 HEV strains recovered from these viremic rats were 76.3–100% identical to each other in an 840-nucleotide sequence and 75.4–88.4% identical to the rat HEV strains reported in Germany and Vietnam. Five representative Indonesian strains, one from each of five phylogenetic clusters, whose entire genomic sequence was determined, were segregated into three genetic groups (a German type, Vietnamese type and novel type), which differed from each other by 19.5–23.5 (22.0±1.7)% over the entire genome. These results suggest the presence of at least three genetic groups of rat HEV and indicate the circulation of polyphyletic strains of rat HEV belonging to three distinct genetic groups in Indonesia.