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      Characterization of the Complete Genome of Chikungunya in Zhejiang, China, Using a Modified Virus Discovery Method Based on cDNA-AFLP


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          Chikungunya (CHIK) virus is a mosquito-borne emerging pathogen presenting great health challenges worldwide, particularly in tropical zones. Here we report a newly detected strain of CHIK, Zhejiang/chik-sy/2012, in China, a nonindigenous region for CHIK, using a modified approach based on the classic cDNA-AFLP. We then performed etiological and phylogenetic analyses to better understand its molecular characterization and phylogenetic pattern, and also to aid in further evaluating its persistence in Southeast Asia.


          By using this modified procedure, we determined for the first time the complete genome sequence of the chikungunya virus strain, Zhejiang/chik-sy/2012, isolated in 2012 from a patient in Zhejiang, China. Sequence analyses revealed that this positive single strand of RNA is 12,017 bp long. We found no single amino acid mutation in A226V, D284E and A316V. Phylogenetic analysis showed that our strain shared the greatest homology with a strain isolated in Taiwan, which was derived from a strain from Indonesia. Chik-sy/2012 is in a different clade from other CHIK viruses found in China previously.


          A modified cDNA-AFLP in virus discovery was used to isolate the first CHIK and the first complete genome sequence of virus strain chik-sy/2012 in 2012 from a patient with CHIK fever in Zhejiang, China. The infection displayed great phylogenetic distance from viruses detected in Guangdong, China, in 2008 and 2010, since they were derived from another evolutionary lineage. Additional molecular epidemiology data are needed to further understand, monitor and evaluate CHIK in China.

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          Chikungunya virus emergence is constrained in Asia by lineage-specific adaptive landscapes.

          Adaptation of RNA viruses to a new host or vector species often results in emergence of new viral lineages. However, lineage-specific restrictions on the adaptive processes remain largely unexplored. Recently, a Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) lineage of African origin emerged to cause major epidemics of severe, persistent, debilitating arthralgia in Africa and Asia. Surprisingly, this new lineage is actively replacing endemic strains in Southeast Asia that have been circulating there for 60 y. This replacement process is associated with adaptation of the invasive CHIKV strains to an atypical vector, the Aedes albopictus mosquito that is ubiquitously distributed in the region. Here we demonstrate that lineage-specific epistatic interactions between substitutions at amino acid positions 226 and 98 of the E1 envelope glycoprotein, the latter of which likely resulted from a founder effect, have for 60 y restricted the ability of endemic Asian CHIKV strains to adapt to this new vector. This adaptive constraint appears to be allowing invasion of the unoccupied vector niche by Ae. albopictus-adapted African strains. These results underscore how different adaptive landscapes occupied by closely related viral genotypes can profoundly affect the outcome of viral evolution and disease emergence.
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            Genetic divergence of Chikungunya viruses in India (1963-2006) with special reference to the 2005-2006 explosive epidemic.

            Re-emergence of Chikungunya (CHIK), caused by CHIK virus, was recorded in India during 2005-2006 after a gap of 32 years, causing 1.3 million cases in 13 states. Several islands of the Indian Ocean reported similar outbreaks in the same period. These outbreaks were attributed to the African genotype of CHIK virus. To examine relatedness of the Indian isolates (IND-06) with Reunion Island isolates (RU), full-genome sequences of five CHIK virus isolates representative of different Indian states were determined. In addition, an isolate obtained from mosquitoes in the year 2000 (Yawat-2000), identified as being of the African genotype, and two older strains isolated in 1963 and 1973 (of the Asian genotype), were sequenced. The IND-06 isolates shared 99.9 % nucleotide identity with RU isolates, confirming involvement of the same strain in these outbreaks. The IND-06 isolates shared 98.2 % identity with the Yawat-2000 isolate. Of two crucial substitutions reported for RU isolates in the E1 region, M269V was noted in the Yawat-2000 and IND-06 isolates, whereas D284E was seen only in the IND-06 isolates. The A226V shift observed with the progression of the epidemic in Reunion Island, probably associated with adaptation to the mosquito vector, was absent in all of the Indian isolates. Three unique substitutions were noted in the IND-06 isolates: two (T128K and T376M) in the Nsp1 region and one (P23S) in the capsid protein. The two Asian strains showed 99.4 % nucleotide identity to each other, indicating relative stability of the virus. No evidence of recombination of the Asian and African genotypes, or of positive selection was observed. The results may help in understanding the association, if any, of the unique mutations with the explosive nature of the CHIK outbreak.
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              Chikungunya virus with E1-A226V mutation causing two outbreaks in 2010, Guangdong, China

              Background CHIKV is a mosquito-borne emerging pathogen that has a major health impact in humans in tropical zones around the globe. A new variant of the virus, E1-A226V caused a large outbreak in the Indian Ocean islands and India from 2004–2007. CHIKV outbreak was initially reported in Dongguan region of Guangdong in 2010 in China, another smaller CHIKV outbreak was found in Yangjiang region of Guangdong two weeks later. The viral agent causing the two outbreaks was inferred to be the new E1-A226V variant and Yangjiang CHIKV might be introduced from Dongguan. To confirm the hypothesis and determine the origin of CHIKV causing the outbreaks, we described Yangjiang outbreak in this study, and the molecular characterization of CHIKV from Yangjiang and Dongguang outbreaks were analyzed. Results 27 clinical cases of CHIK fever were reported in outbreak in Yangjiang region. Sera sample from 12 clinical cases were collected from the outbreak, and nucleic acid and antibody tests for CHIKV were performed using Real-time RT-PCR and indirect immunofluorescence. Positive samples of Real-time RT-PCR were subjected to viral isolation. The results showed 3/12 samples positive for Real-time RT-PCR. 7/12 and 4/12 samples were positive for IgM and IgG against CHIKV respectively, two virus strains were isolated. Four viral genomes from Dongguan and Yangjiang were sequenced, characterized and phylogeneticly analyzed. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the four seqeunced viruses had the closest relationship (99.4~99.6% identify) with the Singapore 2008 isolate belonging to the Indian ocean clade. A common mutation at the site of the E1-A226V was observed among four viruses. Four and three aa substitutions were detected in the CHIKV sequence from the Dongguan and Yangjiang outbreak strains respectively. Conclusion CHIKV with an E1-A226V mutation that originated from Southeast Asia isolates caused two outbreaks in China in 2010, and originated from two different infectious sources.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                18 December 2013
                : 8
                : 12
                : e83014
                [1 ]Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, P.R.China
                [2 ]Zhejiang International Travel Healthcare Center, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, P.R.China
                [3 ]Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, Zhejiang, P.R.China
                University of Kansas Medical Center, United States of America
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: YS JYY HYM YJZ. Performed the experiments: YS JYY CF. Analyzed the data: YS JYY CF. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: QFL ZHW WZ LZ YJZ. Wrote the paper: YS.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 22 July 2013
                : 7 November 2013
                Page count
                Pages: 6
                This work was funded by Zhejiang Provincial Program for the Cultivation of High-level Innoative Health talents, Youth Project of Zhejiang CDC Foundation and General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of P.R.C (20100043). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article



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