Evidence for the Presence of Two Novel Pestivirus Species

The genus Pestivirus of the family Flaviviridae comprises four species, namely Bovine viral diarrhea virus-1 (BVDV-1), BVDV-2Border disease virus (BDV), and Classical swine fever virus (CSFV). Comparative analyses of partial sequences have suggested that pestivirus isolates from giraffe (Giraffe-1) and reindeer (Reindeer-1) are distinct from the established species (Becher et al., Virology 262, 64–71, 1999). In this study, we report the complete genomic sequences of pestivirus strains Giraffe-1 and Reindeer-1. Comparative sequence analyses revealed considerable differences among Giraffe-1, Reindeer-1, and the currently recognized pestivirus species. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete coding sequences of these two strains, along with 13 other sequences representing the four established species, indicated that CSFV, BDV, and Reindeer-1 have bifurcated from one common branch and BVDV-1 and BVDV-2 from another. In the former branch BDV and the pestivirus from reindeer are more similar to each other than to CSFV. The giraffe pestivirus is equally distinct from both major branches. In addition, the antigenic relatedness of pestivirus isolates covering the observed major genetic groups was studied by cross-neutralization assays. A clustering procedure on the basis of antigenic differences indicated the presence of six major groups corresponding to the genetically defined groups. Taken together, the results of our analyses addressing both nucleotide sequence relatedness and serological relatedness argue for the inclusion of Giraffe-1 and Reindeer-1 as the first members of two separate novel species within the genus Pestivirus.

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January 26, 2021
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