New antigenic variants of B/Yamagata/16/88-like lineage which appeared in the season of 1997 as a minor strain tended to predominate in the following season. Also, we could observe for the first time, three peaks of activity caused by H3N2 virus and two variants of B influenza virus. Antigenic and phylogenetic analyses revealed that B/Victoria/2/87-like variants appeared again in Japan in 1997 after a nine-year absence. Influenza B viruses evolved into three major lineages, including the earliest strain (I), B/Yamagata/16/88-like variants (II), which comprised of three sublineages (II-(i), II-(ii), II-(iii)), and B/Victoria/2/87-like variants (III). Evolution of influenza B virus hemagglutinin was apparently distinguishable from that of influenza A virus, showing a systematic mechanism of nucleotide deletion and insertion. This phenomenon was observed to be closely related to evolutionary pathways of I, II-(i), II-(ii), II-(iii) and III lineages. It was noteworthy to reveal that the nucleotide deletion and insertion mechanism of influenza B virus completed one cycle over a fifty-year period, and that a three nucleotide deletion was again observed in 1997 strains belonging to lineage II-( iii). It was evident that amino acid substitutions accompanying nucleotide insertions were highly conserved.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 1998
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