Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Arctic and Arctic-like rabies viruses: distribution, phylogeny and evolutionary history

I. V. KUZMINa1 c1, G. J. HUGHESa2, A. D. BOTVINKINa3, S. G. GRIBENCHAa4 and C. E. RUPPRECHTa1

a1 Rabies Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a2 Institute of Evolutionary Biology, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

a3 State Medical University, Irkutsk, Russia

a4 Ivanovsky Institute of Virology, Moscow, Russia

Abstract

Forty-one newly sequenced isolates of Arctic and Arctic-like rabies viruses, were genetically compared to each other and to those available from GenBank. Four phylogenetic lineages of Arctic viruses were identified. Arctic-1 viruses circulate in Ontario, Arctic-2 viruses circulate in Siberia and Alaska, Arctic-3 viruses circulate circumpolarly, and a newly described lineage Arctic-4 circulates locally in Alaska. The oldest available isolates from Siberia (between 1950 and 1960) belong to the Arctic-2 and Arctic-3 lineages and share 98·6–99·2% N gene identity with contemporary viruses. Two lineages of Arctic-like viruses were identified in southern Asia and the Middle East (Arctic-like-1) and eastern Asia (Arctic-like-2). A time-scaled tree demonstrates that the time of the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of Arctic and Arctic-like viruses is dated between 1255 and 1786. Evolution of the Arctic viruses has occurred through a northerly spread. The Arctic-like-2 lineage diverged first, whereas Arctic viruses share a TMRCA with Arctic-like-1 viruses.

(Accepted May 26 2007)

(Online publication June 29 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr I. V. Kuzmin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Bldg 17, MS G-33, Atlanta, GA, 30333, USA. (Email: ibk3@cdc.gov)

Footnotes

Use of trade names and commercial sources are for identification only and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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