European brown hare syndrome (EBHS) is characterised by high mortality of European brown hares ( Lepus europaeus ) and mountain hares ( Lepus timidus ). European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV) and the closely related rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) comprise the genus Lagovirus , family Caliciviridae. In contrast to RHDV, which is well studied, with more than 30 complete genome sequences available, the only complete genome sequence available for EBHSV was obtained from a strain isolated in 1989 in France. EBHS was originally diagnosed in Sweden in 1980. Here, we report the complete coding sequences of two EBHSV strains isolated from European brown hares that died with liver lesions characteristic of EBHS in Sweden in 1982. These sequences represent the oldest complete coding sequences of EBHSV isolated from the original area of virus diagnosis. The genomic organisation is similar to that of the published French sequence. Comparison with this sequence revealed several nucleotide substitutions, corresponding to 6 % divergence. At the amino acid level, the Swedish strains are 2 % different from the French strain. Most amino acid substitutions were located within the major capsid protein VP60, but when considering the amino acid sequence length of each protein, VP10 is the protein with the highest percentage of amino acid differences. The same result was obtained when Swedish strains were compared. This evolutionary pattern has not been described previously for members of the genus Lagovirus .
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2013
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