A 1983 human Mississippi isolate of eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus (EEEV), recently identified as an antigenic subtype of the North American variety, was genetically characterized using oligonucleotide fingerprinting and sequencing of viral RNA. This strain was found to be very closely related to other North American EEEV isolates from the same time period. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that this subtype belongs to a single EEEV lineage in North America. Two amino acid substitutions in the E 2 envelope glycoprotein, not seen in eight other isolates sequenced, probably contributed to the antigenic difference with respect to other EEEV strains. These substitutions include threonine for lysine at position 71, resulting in the addition of a potential N-linked glycosylation site, and lysine for glutamic acid at position 147.
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