Molecular evolution and genetic analysis of the major capsid protein VP1 of duck hepatitis a viruses: Implications for antigenic stability

Xiuli Ma, Zizhang Sheng, Bing Huang, Lihong Qi, Yufeng Li, Kexiang Yu, Cunxia Liu, Zhuoming Qin, Dan Wang, Minxun Song, Feng Li, Chen Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The duck hepatitis A virus (DHAV), a member of the family Picornaviridae, is the major cause of outbreaks with high mortality rates in young ducklings. It has three distinctive serotypes and among them, serotypes 1 (DHAV-1) and 3 (DHAV-3) were recognized in China. To investigate evolutionary and antigenic properties of the major capsid protein VP1 of these two serotypes, a primary target of neutralizing antibodies, we determined the VP1 coding sequences of 19 DHAV-1 (spanning 2000-2012) and 11 DHAV-3 isolates (spanning 2008-2014) associated with disease outbreaks. By bioinformatics analysis of VP1 sequences of these isolates and other DHAV strains reported previously, we demonstrated that DHAV-1 viruses evolved into two genetic lineages, while DHAV-3 viruses exhibited three distinct lineages. The rate of nucleotide substitution for DHAV-1 VP1 genes was estimated to be 5.57 × 10-4 per site per year, which was about one-third times slower than that for DHAV-3 VP1 genes. The population dynamics analysis showed an upward trend for infection of DHAV-1 viruses over time with little change observed for DHAV-3 viruses. Antigenic study of representative DHAV-1 and DHAV-3 strains covering all observed major lineages revealed no detectable changes in viral neutralization properties within the serotype, despite the lack of cross-neutralization between serotypes 1 and 3 strains. Structural analysis identified VP1 mutations in DHAV-1 and DHAV-3 viruses that underpin the observed antigenic phenotypes. Results of our experiments described here shall give novel insights into evolution and antigenicity of duck picornaviruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132982
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 14 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Ma et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • General


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