Short report: genetic heterogeneity of Japanese encephalitis virus assessed via analysis of the full-length genome sequence of a Korean isolate.

J H Nam Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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S L Chae Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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S Y Won Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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E J Kim Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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K S Yoon Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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B I Kim Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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Y S Jeong Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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H W Cho Department of Virology, Korea National Institute of Health, Seoul.

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We determined the full-length genome sequence of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) K94P05 isolated in Korea. Sequence analysis showed that the 10,963-nucleotide-long RNA genome of K94P05 was 13 or 14 nucleotides shorter than the genome of other JEV isolates because of a deletion in the 3' noncoding region of K94P05. Compared with sequences of other JEV isolates, the full-length nucleotide sequence showed 89.0-89.6% homology, and the deduced amino acid sequence showed between 96.4-97.3% homology. A region of approximately 60 nucleotides immediately downstream of the open reading frame stop codon of K94P05 showed high sequence variability as compared with other JEV isolates. K94P05 formed a distinct group within a phylogenetic tree established with the full-length genome sequences. Cross-neutralization studies showed that polyclonal antibodies to Korean isolates were 3 times better at neutralizing the Korean isolates than antibodies to Nakayama-NIH. These findings suggest that Korean JEV K94P05 is genetically and antigenically distinct from other Asian JEV isolates.

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