Nucleotide and amino acid changes in West Nile virus strains exhibiting renal tropism in hamsters

Xiaohua Ding, Xiaoyan Wu, Tao Duan, Marina Siirin, Hilda Guzman, Zhanqiu Yang, Robert B. Tesh, Shu Yuan Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Recent studies have shown that West Nile virus (WNV) can induce an asymptomatic persistent infection in the kidneys of experimentally infected hamsters. The chronically infected rodents shed virus in their urine for up to 8 months, despite the disappearance of viremia and the development of high levels of neutralizing antibodies. WNV, like most members of the Japanese encephalitis virus complex (Flavivirus; Flaviviridae), is assumed to be mainly neurotropic; little is known about the genetic basis for its renal tropism. In this study, complete sequence analyses were done to compare four WNV isolates from the urines of persistently infected hamsters with the wild-type parent virus (NY 385-99). Nucleotide changes, ranging from 0.05% to 0.09%, were identified in all of the WNV isolates from urine; most of the changes were in coding regions, causing amino acid substitutions in the E, NS1, NS2B, and NS5 proteins. The genetic changes associated with renal tropism were also accompanied by a loss of virulence for hamsters and a change in plaque morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-807
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nucleotide and amino acid changes in West Nile virus strains exhibiting renal tropism in hamsters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this