Specific genetic markers for detecting subtypes of dengue virus serotype-2 in isolates from the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz, Mexico

Catalina E Gardella-Garcia, Gerardo Perez-Ramirez, Joel Navarrete-Espinosa, Alejandro Cisneros, Fabiola Jimenez-Rojas, Luis R Ramírez-Palacios, Rocio Rosado-Leon, Minerva Camacho-Nuez, Maria de L Munoz
BMC Microbiology 2008, 8: 117

BACKGROUND: Dengue (DEN) is an infectious disease caused by the DEN virus (DENV), which belongs to the Flavivirus genus in the family Flaviviridae. It has a (+) sense RNA genome and is mainly transmitted to humans by the vector mosquito Aedes aegypti. Dengue fever (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are caused by one of four closely related virus serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4). Epidemiological and evolutionary studies have indicated that host and viral factors are involved in determining disease outcome and have proved the importance of viral genotype in causing severe epidemics. Host immune status and mosquito vectorial capacity are also important influences on the severity of infection. Therefore, an understanding of the relationship between virus variants with altered amino acids and high pathogenicity will provide more information on the molecular epidemiology of DEN. Accordingly, knowledge of the DENV serotypes and genotypes circulating in the latest DEN outbreaks around the world, including Mexico, will contribute to understanding DEN infections.

RESULTS: 1. We obtained 88 isolates of DENV, 27 from Oaxaca and 61 from Veracruz. 2. Of these 88 isolates, 16 were serotype 1; 62 serotype 2; 7 serotype 3; and 2 serotype 4. One isolate had 2 serotypes (DENV-2 and -1). 3. Partial nucleotide sequences of the genes encoding C- prM (14 sequences), the NS3 helicase domain (7 sequences), the NS5 S-adenosyl methionine transferase domain (7 sequences) and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) domain (18 sequences) were obtained. Phylogenetic analysis showed that DENV-2 isolates belonged to the Asian/American genotype. In addition, the Asian/American genotype was divided into two clusters, one containing the isolates from 2001 and the other the isolates from 2005-2006 with high bootstrap support of 94%.

CONCLUSION: DENV-2 was the predominant serotype in the DF and DHF outbreak from 2005 to 2006 in Oaxaca State as well as in the 2006 outbreak in Veracruz State, with the Asian/American genotype prevalent in both states. Interestingly, DENV-1 and DENV-2 were the only serotypes related to DHF cases. In contrast, DENV-3 and DENV-4 were poorly represented according to epidemiological data reported in Mexico. We found that isoleucine was replaced by valine at residue 106 of protein C in the isolates from these 2005-2006 outbreaks and in those from the 1997, 1998 and 2001 outbreaks in the Caribbean islands. We suggested that this amino acid change may be used as a signature for isolates arising in the Caribbean islands and pertaining to the Asian/American genotype. Other amino acid changes are specific for the Asian/American, Asian and American strains.

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