Evolution of bovine ephemeral fever virus in the Australian episystem

Lee Trinidad, Kim R Blasdell, Albert Joubert, Steven S Davis, Lorna Melville, Peter D Kirkland, Fasseli Joseph Coulibaly, Edward C Holmes, Peter Walker

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Bovine ephemeral fever virus (BEFV) is an arthropod-borne rhabdovirus that causes a debilitating disease of cattle in Africa, Asia, and Australia; however, its global geodynamics are poorly understood. An evolutionary analysis of G gene (envelope glycoprotein) ectodomain sequences of 97 BEFV isolates collected from Australia during 1956 to 2012 revealed that all have a single common ancestor and are phylogenetically distinct from BEFV sampled in other geographical regions. The age of the Australian clade is estimated to be between 56 and 65 years, suggesting that BEFV has entered the continent on few occasions since it was first reported in 1936 and that the 1955-1956 epizootic was the source of all currently circulating viruses. Notably, the Australian clade has evolved as a single genetic lineage across the continent and at a high evolutionary rate of 10-3 nucleotide substitutions/ site/year. Screening of 66 isolates using monoclonal antibodies indicated that neutralizing antigenic sites G1, G2, and G4 have been relatively stable, although variations in site G3a/b defined four antigenic subtypes. A shift in an epitope at site G3a, which occurred in the mid-1970s, was strongly associated with a K218R substitution. Similarly, a shift at site G3b was associated primarily with substitutions at residues 215, 220, and 223, which map to the tip of the spike on the prefusion form of the G protein. Finally, we propose that positive selection on residue 215 was due to cross-reacting neutralizing antibody to Kimberley virus (KIMV).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525 - 1535
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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