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The phenomenon of recombination has been widely described among noroviruses (NoVs)
in the past few years. In a NoV surveillance study conducted in western India, 3 novel
and 3 known combinations of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and capsid genes were
identified in genogroup (G) II NoV strains. The present study pertains to the characterization
of three novel intergenotype NoV GII recombinant strains. RT-PCRs were carried out
for the amplification of nearly complete RdRp and complete capsid genes spanning ORF1/2
overlap of three strains followed by sequencing of the amplicons. The recombination
event was confirmed by phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian MCMC approach, SimPlot
analysis and Maximum chi(2) method. Three novel intergenotype (GII) recombinations
of GII.b/GII.18, GII.1/GII.12 and GII.3/GII.13 specificities were identified respectively
in the strains PC03, PC24 and PC25 for the first time. The breakpoint in the novel
recombinants was placed in the vicinity of the 20 bp ORF1/2 overlap, a common hotspot
known to exist in NoV recombinants. The capsid genes of all of the 3 recombinants
were closely related to their counter parts in reference strains however, a high degree
of variation emerged in the polymerase genes especially of PC24 and PC25 in comparison
to the reference strains.
(c) 2009. Published by Elsevier B.V.