Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), the prototype member of the JEV serocomplex, genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae, is the most significant arthropod-borne encephalitis worldwide in terms of morbidity and mortality. At least four genotypes (GI-GIV) of the virus have been identified; however, to date, the genomic nucleotide sequence of only one GII virus has been determined (FU strain, Australia, 1995). This study sequenced three additional GII strains of JEV isolated between 1951 and 1978 in Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively, and compared them with the FU strain, as well as with virus strains representing the other three genotypes. Based on nucleotide and amino acid composition, the genotype II strains were the most similar to GI strains; however, these two genotypes are epidemiologically distinct. Selection analyses revealed that the strains utilized in this study are under predominantly purifying selection, and evidence of positive selection was detected at aa 24 of the NS4B protein, a protein that functions as an alpha/beta interferon signalling inhibitor.
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