In recent years, genotype I (GI) of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has displaced genotype III (GIII) as the dominant virus genotype throughout Asia. In this study, the largest collection of GIII and GI envelope gene-derived viral sequences assembled to date was used to reconstruct the spatiotemporal chronology of genotype displacement throughout Asia and to determine the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics underlying this significant event. GI consists of two clades, GI-a and GI-b, with the latter being associated with displacement of GIII as the dominant JEV genotype throughout Asia in the 1990s. Phylogeographic analysis indicated that GI-a diverged in Thailand or Cambodia and has remained confined to tropical Asia, whereas GI-b diverged in Vietnam and then dispersed northwards to China, where it was subsequently dispersed to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Molecular adaptation was detected by more than one method at one site (residue 15), and coevolution was detected at two pairs of sites (residues 89 to 360 and 129 to 141) within the GI E gene protein alignment. Viral multiplication and temperature sensitivity analyses in avian and mosquito cells revealed that the GI-b isolate JE-91 had significantly higher infectivity titers in mosquito cells from 24 to 48 h postinfection than did the GI-a and GIII isolates. If the JE-91 isolate is indeed representative of GI-b, an increased multiplicative ability of GI-b viruses compared to that of GIII viruses early in mosquito infection may have resulted in a shortened extrinsic incubation period that led to an increased number of GI enzootic transmission cycles and the subsequent displacement of GIII.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science