Partial Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequences of the Envelope and the Envelope/Nonstructural Protein-1 Gene Junction of Four Dengue-2 Virus Strains Isolated during the 1981 Cuban Epidemic

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  • Virology Department, Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute, Virology Department, Institut Pasteur, Havana, Cuba
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In 1981, an epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) caused by dengue-2 virus occurred in Cuba. This was the first DHF epidemic reported in the Western Hemisphere. In this study, we have analyzed four dengue-2 Cuba strains for two short genomic fragments: one on the envelope (E) glycoprotein and one at the E/nonstructural protein-1 (NS1) gene junction. The E segment of these 1981 Cuban isolates were more closely related to older dengue-2 virus strains such as New Guinea C 1944, Thailand 1964, Sri Lanka 1968, and Burma 1976 than to more recent isolates of this virus from Jamaica and Vietnam. More than 9% of the divergence with strains isolated from Jamaica and Vietnam was observed at the E/NS1 gene junction. One nucleotide change was observed between the first strain isolated during the epidemic and the rest of the Cuban strains. This mutation induced a nonconserved amino acid change from phenylalanine to leucine at position 43 that was not observed in any of the other strains with which it was compared.