JOURNAL ARTICLE

Characterization of full-length enterovirus 71 strains from severe and mild disease patients in northeastern China

Xiaomei Wang, Chunfeng Zhu, Wanguo Bao, Ke Zhao, Junqi Niu, Xiao-Fang Yu, Wenyan Zhang
PloS One 2012, 7 (3): e32405
22479324
Human enterovirus 71 (EV71)-associated hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) has been a leading cause of childhood infection in China since 2008. Epidemic and molecular characteristics of HFMD have been examined in many areas of China, including the central and southern regions. However, clinical and genetic characterization of EV71 in the northeastern region of China is scarce. In this study, a series of analyses were performed on seven full-length EV71 sequences from HFMD patients who had either severe or mild disease. We have determined that these seven circulating EV71 viruses from Changchun, China are actually complex recombinant viruses involving multiple type A human enterovirus (HEV). Classified as EV71 subtype C4 (EV71 C4), these Changchun EV71 viruses contain genetic recombination events between the CA4, CA5, EV71B4 and EV71C1 strains. Most of the structural protein region (P1) of these viruses resembled that of the prototype EV71 C1 strains. The non-structural protein domains (P2 and P3) showed a high degree of similarity with CA4, CA5 and EV71 B4 in different regions. The 5'UTR had unclassified recombination,while partial 3D region of these viruses showed a high degree of similarity to CA16. Phylogenetic analysis of full-length or partial sequences of isolates from severe or mild disease patients in Changchun always formed a single cluster in various phylogenetic analyses of different genomic regions, suggesting that all seven strains originated from one single common ancestor. There was no correlation between viral genomic sequence and virulence. Thus, we found that circulating recombinant forms of EV71 are prevalent among HFMD patients in Northeastern China. The existence of a unique cluster of EV71 related viruses in Northeast China has important implications for vaccine development that would address the increasing prevalence of HFMD.

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