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The coronavirus strain HECV‐4408 was isolated from diarrhea fluid of a 6‐year‐old child with acute diarrhea and propagated in human rectal tumor (HRT‐18) cells. Electron microscopy revealed coronavirus particles in the diarrhea fluid sample and the infected HRT‐18 cell cultures. This virus possessed hemagglutinating and acetylesterase activities and caused cytopathic effects in HRT‐18 cells but not in MDBK, GBK and FE cells. One of four S‐specific monoclonal antibodies reacted in Western blots with HECV‐4408, BCV‐L9 and BCV‐LY138 but not with HCV‐OC43, and two reacted with BCV‐L9 but not with HECV‐4408, BCV‐LY138 and HCV‐OC43. One S‐specific and two N‐specific monoclonal antibodies reacted with all of these strains. cDNA encompassing the 3′ 8.5 kb of the viral RNA genome was isolated by reverse transcription followed by polymerase chain reaction amplification had size and restriction endonuclease patterns similar to those of BCV‐L9 and BCV‐LY138. In contrast, the M gene of HCV‐OC43 differed in restriction patterns from HECV‐4408 and BCV. A genomic deletion located between the S and M within the nonstructural genes of HCV‐OC43 was not detected in HECV‐4408. DNA sequence analyses of the S and HE genes revealed more than 99% nucleotide and deduced amino acid homologies between HECV‐4408 and the virulent wild‐type BCV. Forty‐nine nucleotide and 22 amino acid differences were found between the HE genes of HECV‐4408 and HCV‐OC43, while only 16 nucleotide and 3 amino acid differences occurred between the HE genes of HECV‐4408 and BCVLY138. We thus conclude that the strain HECV‐4408 is a hemagglutinating enteric coronavirus that is biologically, antigenically and genomically more closely related to the virulent BCVLY138 than to HCV‐OC43. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc. Copyright © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

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Journal of Medical Virology

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