An orbivirus designated Yunnan orbivirus (YUOV) was isolated from Culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquitoes collected in the Yunnan province of China. Electron microscopy showed particles with typical orbivirus morphology. The YUOV genome was sequenced completely and compared with previously characterized orbivirus genomes. Significant identity scores were detected between proteins encoded by the segments (Seg-1 to Seg-10) of YUOV and those encoded by their homologues in insect-borne and tick-borne orbiviruses. Analysis of VP1 (Pol) and VP2 (T2, which correlates with the virus serogroup) indicated that YUOV is a new species of the genus Orbivirus that is unrelated to the other insect-borne orbiviruses. The replication of YUOV in mosquito cell lines was restricted to Aedes albopictus cells and the virus failed to replicate in mammalian cell lines. However. intraperitoneal injection of virus into naïve mice resulted in productive, non-lethal virus replication and viraemia. Infected mice developed serum neutralizing antibodies and were protected against a new infection challenge. Sequence analysis of clones from the segments encoding outer coat proteins (Seg-3 and Seg-6) of YUOV recovered from mouse blood did not show significant changes in the sequences. The availability of the complete genome sequence will facilitate the development of sequence-specific PCR assays for the study of YUOV epidemiology in the field.
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