Nucleotide sequences of the 5' non-coding region and the structural protein genes of the live, attenuated Japanese encephalitis vaccine virus strains SA14-2-8 and SA14-5-3 and the wild-type parental strain SA14/USA were determined. SA14-2-8 differed from SA14/USA by 13 nucleotides and eight amino acids whereas SA14-5-3 differed from SA14/USA by 15 nucleotides and eight amino acids. A comparison of the 5' noncoding region and amino acid sequences of the structural proteins of these two attenuated vaccine strains and of vaccine strains SA14-14-2/PHK and SA14-14-2/PDK with three sequences of their wild-type parent SA14 virus was performed. This revealed only two common amino acid substitutions at positions 138 and 176 in the envelope (E) protein. The substitution at E138 was predicted to cause a change in the secondary structure of the E protein. These two amino acid substitutions in the E protein may contribute to attenuation of the Japanese encephalitis vaccine viruses.
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