Complete genome analysis and virulence characteristics of the Louisiana West Nile virus strain LSU-AR01

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West Nile virus (WNV) is a member of the Flaviriridae family, which can cause significant morbidity and mortality in birds, horses, and humans. The WNV-LSU-AR01 strain was isolated from a dead blue jay in Louisiana in 2001. Phylogenetic analysis using 75 full WNV genomes revealed that the LSU-AR01 strain belongs to a distinct subclade among the North American strains. The LSU-AR01 strain differed from the NY-99 prototypic strain by 26 nucleotides causing six amino acid changes. An asparagine-to-lysine change was located immediately proximal to a known CD8+T cell epitope in NS4B, while a glutamine-to-lysine change was located within a predicted CD8+T cell epitope in NS5. The LSU-AR01 strain caused pronounced neuronal necrosis, perivascular cuffing and gliosis in comparison to the NY-99-infected mice. These results suggest that the previously identified Connecticut strains may contain highly neurovirulent strains such as the LSU-AR01 that have spread in North America. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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Virus Genes

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