In the 1950s and 1960s, alphaviruses in the Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) antigenic complex were the most frequently isolated arboviruses in Trinidad. Since then, there has been very little research performed with these viruses. Herein, we report on the isolation, sequencing, and phylogenetic analyses of Mucambo virus (MUCV; VEE complex subtype IIIA), including 6 recently isolated from Culex (Melanoconion) portesi mosquitoes and 11 previously isolated in Trinidad and Brazil. Results show that nucleotide and amino acid identities across the complete structural polyprotein for the MUCV isolates were 96.6-100% and 98.7-100%, respectively, and the phylogenetic tree inferred for MUCV was highly geographically- and temporally-structured. Bayesian analyses suggest that the sampled MUCV lineages have a recent common ancestry of approximately 198 years (with a 95% highest posterior density (HPD) interval of 63-448 years) prior to 2007, and an overall rate of evolution of 1.28 × 10- 4 substitutions/site/yr.
- Bayesian coalescent theory
- Venezuelan equine encephalitis
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