ScIentIfIc REPORTs | (2018) 8:4491 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-22826-4
Genetic variations in the fusion
protein of respiratory syncytial virus
isolated from children hospitalized
pneumonia in China
, Baoping Xu
, Jiayun Guo
, Changchong Li
, Shuhua An
, Yunlian Zhou
, Li Deng
, Zhou Fu
, Yun Zhu
, Chunyan Liu
, Lili Xu
, Wei Wang
& Zhengde Xie
To identify the variations in fusion (F) protein gene of RSV in China, a molecular epidemiological study
was conducted. A total of 553 RSV positive specimens were collected from 2338 pediatric patients
hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia during a multi-center study conducted during
2014–2016. A total of 252 samples (183 RSV A, 69 RSV B) were selected for F gene sequencing, and
analyzed together with 142 F gene sequences downloaded from GenBank. The result showed that all
the Chinese RSV A and RSV B strains could be divided respectively into three branches. Compared with
RSV A/B prototype sequences respectively, there were signicant amino acid (AA) mutations at multiple
antigenic sites. For RSV A, changes were found at AA residues 122, 124, 125, 276 and 384, and for RSV
B at AA residues 45, 116, 125, 172, 173 and 202. Variations in human histocompatibility leukocyte
antigen-restricted CTL epitopes were also observed. In total, 56 amino acid dierences for the complete
F protein were found between the RSV A and B groups in China, while several mutations were only
found in the RSV B strains during 2015–2016. The RSV F gene is relatively conserved in China, however,
limited mutations are still occurring with time.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading pathogen of acute lower respiratory tract infection (ALRTI)
among young children
. RSV caused about 33.8 million new episodes of ALRTI worldwide in children younger
than 5 years of age in 2005, which contained at least 3.4 (2.8–4.3) million severe cases necessitating hospital
admission. Among these patients, there were roughly 66,000–199,000 deaths, with 99% of them occurring in
. RSV associated illness is also the major cause of hospital admissions and mortality in
infants born prematurely or with particular congenital diseases
. In China, RSV was also the most frequently
detected virus (9.9%) in children younger than 2 years of age with ALRTI, accounting for 17.0%
Except for the therapeutic monoclonal antibody-palivizumab (MedImmune, Gaithersburg, MD, USA)
is no safe and eective vaccine or drugs against RSV available. A suitable vaccine available in the future could have
a large impact in public health.
Beijing Key Laboratory of Pediatric Respiratory Infectious Diseases, Beijing Pediatric Research Institute, Beijing,
Key Laboratory of Major Diseases in Children, Ministry of Education, National Clinical Research
Center for Respiratory Diseases, Beijing Children’s Hospital, Capital Medical University, National Center for
Children’s Health, Beijing, 10045, China.
The 2nd Aliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou
Medical University, Wenzhou, China.
Children’s Hospital of Hebei Province, Shijiazhuang, China.
Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.
The First Aliated Hospital of Guangzhou
Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center, Guangzhou, China.
Children’s Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China. Xiangpeng Chen, Baoping Xu and Jiayun
Guo contributed equally to this work. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to K.S. (email:
email@example.com) or Z.X. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Received: 10 November 2017
Accepted: 1 March 2018
Published: xx xx xxxx