Matrix (M) and nonstructural (NS) genes of thirteen equine H3N8 and H7N7 influenza viruses were sequenced and analyzed from an evolutionary point of view. The M and NS genes of H3N8 viruses isolated between 1989 and 1993 evolved into two minor branch clusters, including isolates from Europe and the American continent, respectively. It was noteworthy to reveal that the nucleotide sequences of the M and NS genes of an earlier American strain showed highest homology to those of recent European viruses. “Frozen evolution” was observed in the M and NS genes of A/eq/LaPlata/1/88. It was also evident that the NS gene of an H7N7 virus from 1977 was very similar to that of a 1979-H3N 8 virus, while the M gene was closest phylogenetically to that of the earliest H7N7 virus isolated in 1956. Furthermore, the M2 protein of A/eq/Newmarket/1/77 virus contained a carboxyl terminal deletion of three amino acids. The evolutionary rates of the M and NS genes of H3N8 equine influenza viruses were estimated to be 5.4 × 10 −4 and 5.1 × 10 −4 substitutions per site per year, respectively, which were slower than those of human viruses.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 1998
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