2004 Volume 66 Issue 7 Pages 747-753
Genetic and phylogenetic analyses of the region containing the glycoprotein (G) gene, which is related to pathogenicity and antigenicity, and the G-L intergenic region were carried out in 14 Brazilian rabies virus isolates. The isolates were classified as dog-related rabies virus (DRRV) or vampire bat-related rabies virus (VRRV), by nucleoprotein (N) analysis. The nucleotide and amino acid (AA) homologies of the area containing the G protein gene and G-L intergenic region were generally lower than those of the ectodomain. In both regions, nucleotide and deduced AA homologies were lower among VRRVs than among DRRVs. There were AA differences between DRRV and VRRV at 3 antigenic sites and epitopes (IIa, WB+ and III), suggesting that DRRV and VRRV can be distinguished by differences of antigenicity. In a comparison of phylogenetic trees between the ectodomain and the area containing the G protein gene and G-L intergenic region, the branching patterns of the chiropteran and carnivoran rabies virus groups differed, whereas there were clear similarities in patterns within the DRRV and VRRV groups. Additionally, the VRRV isolates were more closely related to chiropteran strains isolated from Latin America than to Brazilian DRRV. These results indicate that Brazilian rabies virus isolates can be classified as DRRV or VRRV by analysis of the G gene and the G-L intergenic region, as well as by N gene analysis.