Genetic diversity among Lassa virus strains

Michael D. Bowen, Pierre E. Rollin, Thomas Ksiazek, Heather L. Hustad, Daniel G. Bausch, Austin H. Demby, Mary D. Bajani, Clarence J. Peters, Stuart T. Nichol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

156 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The arenavirus Lassa virus causes Lassa fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever that is endemic in the countries of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea and perhaps elsewhere in West Africa. To determine the degree of genetic diversity among Lassa virus strains, partial nucleoprotein (NP) gene sequences were obtained from 54 strains and analyzed. Phylogenetic analyses showed that Lassa viruses comprise four lineages, three of which are found in Nigeria and the fourth in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Overall strain variation in the partial NP gene sequence was found to be as high as 27% at the nucleotide level and 15% at the amino acid level. Genetic distance among Lassa strains was found to correlate with geographic distance rather than time, and no evidence of a 'molecular clock' was found. A method for amplifying and cloning full-length arenavirus S RNAs was developed and used to obtain the complete NP and glycoprotein gene (GP1 and GP2) sequences for two representative Nigerian strains of Lassa virus. Comparison of full-length gene sequences for four Lassa virus strains representing the four lineages showed that the NP gene (up to 23.8% nucleotide difference and 12.0% amino acid difference) is more variable than the glycoprotein genes. Although the evolutionary order of descent within Lassa virus strains was not completely resolved, the phylogenetic analyses of full-length NP, GP1, and GP2 gene sequences suggested that Nigerian strains of Lassa virus were ancestral to strains from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Compared to the New World arenaviruses, Lassa and the other Old World arenaviruses have either undergone a shorter period of diverisification or are evolving at a slower rate. This study represents the first large-scale examination of Lassa virus genetic variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6992-7004
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume74
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes

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Lassa virus
nucleoproteins
Nucleoproteins
genetic variation
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Guinea
Arenaviridae
Arenavirus
Genes
nucleotide sequences
Nigeria
Old World Arenaviruses
fever
glycoproteins
Glycoproteins
New World Arenaviruses
Lassa Fever
Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers
Nucleotides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this

Bowen, M. D., Rollin, P. E., Ksiazek, T., Hustad, H. L., Bausch, D. G., Demby, A. H., ... Nichol, S. T. (2000). Genetic diversity among Lassa virus strains. Journal of Virology, 74(15), 6992-7004. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.74.15.6992-7004.2000

Genetic diversity among Lassa virus strains. / Bowen, Michael D.; Rollin, Pierre E.; Ksiazek, Thomas; Hustad, Heather L.; Bausch, Daniel G.; Demby, Austin H.; Bajani, Mary D.; Peters, Clarence J.; Nichol, Stuart T.

In: Journal of Virology, Vol. 74, No. 15, 08.2000, p. 6992-7004.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bowen, MD, Rollin, PE, Ksiazek, T, Hustad, HL, Bausch, DG, Demby, AH, Bajani, MD, Peters, CJ & Nichol, ST 2000, 'Genetic diversity among Lassa virus strains', Journal of Virology, vol. 74, no. 15, pp. 6992-7004. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.74.15.6992-7004.2000
Bowen MD, Rollin PE, Ksiazek T, Hustad HL, Bausch DG, Demby AH et al. Genetic diversity among Lassa virus strains. Journal of Virology. 2000 Aug;74(15):6992-7004. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.74.15.6992-7004.2000
Bowen, Michael D. ; Rollin, Pierre E. ; Ksiazek, Thomas ; Hustad, Heather L. ; Bausch, Daniel G. ; Demby, Austin H. ; Bajani, Mary D. ; Peters, Clarence J. ; Nichol, Stuart T. / Genetic diversity among Lassa virus strains. In: Journal of Virology. 2000 ; Vol. 74, No. 15. pp. 6992-7004.
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