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1.  Genetic Variation in the HN and SH Genes of Mumps Viruses: A Comparison of Strains from Mumps Cases with and without Neurological Symptoms 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61791.
Background
It is known that mumps virus (MuV) strains may vary in their neurovirulent capacity, and certain MuV strains may be highly neurotropic. In animal models and epidemiological studies, mutations at specific amino acids (aa) have been proposed to be associated with neurovirulence. To assess whether these genetic variations can be observed in clinical samples from patients and if they correlate with neurovirulence as determined by clinical symptoms, 39 mumps patients with or without neurological symptoms were investigated.
Principal Findings
Respiratory samples, oral fluids, throat swabs, and neurological and cerebrospinal fluid samples were tested by RT-PCR and products sequenced. Sequences of the entire small hydrophobic (SH) gene and the partial hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene were compared.
Conclusions
The results showed there was no significant difference between the samples of the two groups of patients at the aa sites in either the HN protein or the SH protein, which have previously been hypothesized to be associated with neurovirulence or antigenicity. The occurrence of neurological symptoms of mumps does not appear to be due to a single point mutation in either the HN or SH gene.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061791
PMCID: PMC3634820  PMID: 23637906
2.  The Development and Application of the Two Real-Time RT-PCR Assays to Detect the Pathogen of HFMD 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61451.
Large-scale Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreaks have frequently occurred in China since 2008, affecting more than one million children and causing several hundred children deaths every year. The pathogens of HFMD are mainly human enteroviruses (HEVs). Among them, human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) are the most common pathogens of HFMD. However, other HEVs could also cause HFMD. To rapidly detect HEV71 and CVA16, and ensure detection of all HEVs causing HFMD, two real-time hybridization probe-based RT-PCR assays were developed in this study. One is a multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay, which was developed to detect and differentiate HEV71 specifically from CVA16 directly from clinical specimens within 1–2 h, and the other is a broad-spectrum real-time RT-PCR assay, which targeted almost all HEVs. The experiments confirmed that the two assays have high sensitivity and specificity, and the sensitivity was up to 0.1 TCID50/ml for detection of HEVs, HEV71, and CVA16, respectively. A total of 213 clinical specimens were simultaneously detected by three kinds of assays, including the two real-time RT-PCR assays, direct conventional RT-PCR assay, and virus isolation assay on human rhabdomyosarcoma cells (RD cells). The total positive rate of both HEV71 and CVA16 was 69.48% with real-time RT-PCR assay, 47.42% with RT-PCR assay, and 34.58% with virus isolation assay. One HFMD clinical specimen was positive for HEV, but negative for HEV71 or CVA16, which was identified as Echovirus 11 (Echo11) by virus isolation, RT-PCR, and sequencing for the VP1 gene. The two real-time RT-PCR assays had been applied in 31 provincial HFMD labs to detect the pathogens of HFMD, which has contributed to the rapid identification of the pathogens in the early stages of HFMD outbreaks, and helped to clarify the etiologic agents of HFMD in China.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061451
PMCID: PMC3630163  PMID: 23637836
3.  Complete Genome Analysis of the C4 Subgenotype Strains of Enterovirus 71: Predominant Recombination C4 Viruses Persistently Circulating in China for 14 Years 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56341.
Genetic recombination is a well-known phenomenon for enteroviruses. To investigate the genetic characterization and the potential recombination of enterovirus 71 (EV71) circulating in China, we determined the 16 complete genome sequences of EV71 isolated from Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) patients during the large scale outbreak and non-outbreak years since 1998 in China. The full length genome sequences of 16 Chinese EV71 in present study were aligned with 186 genome sequences of EV71 available from GenBank, including 104 China mainland and 82 international sequences, covering the time period of 1970–2011. The oldest strains of each subgenotype of EV71 and prototype strains of HEV-A were included to do the phylogenetic and Simplot analysis. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all Chinese strains were clustered into C4 subgenotype of EV71, except for HuB/CHN/2009 clustered into A and Xiamen/CHN/2009 clustered into B5 subgenotype. Most of C4 EV71 were clustered into 2 predominant evolutionary branches: C4b and C4a evolutionary brunches. Our comprehensive recombination analysis showed the evidence of genome recombination of subgenotype C4 (including C4a and C4b) sequences between structural genes from genotype C EV71 and non-structural genes from the prototype strains of CAV16, 14 and 4, but the evidence of intratypic recombination between C4 strains and B subgenotype was not enough strong. This intertypic recombination C4 viruses were first seen in 1998 and became the predominant endemic viruses circulating in China mainland for at least 14 years. A shift between C4a and C4b evolutionary brunches of C4 recombination viruses were observed, and C4a viruses have been associated with large scale nationwide HFMD outbreak with higher morbidity and mortality since 2007.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056341
PMCID: PMC3575343  PMID: 23441179
4.  Human Parainfluenza Virus-Associated Respiratory Tract Infection among Children and Genetic Analysis of HPIV-3 Strains in Beijing, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43893.
The relevance of human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) to the epidemiology of acute respiratory infections (ARI) in China is unclear. From May 2008 to September 2010, 443 nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) from hospitalized pediatric patients (age from 1 to 93 months) in Beijing were collected and screened for HPIVs and other common respiratory viruses by real-time RT-PCR. Sixty-two of 443 samples were positive for HPIVs with 4 positive for HPIV-2 and 58 positive for HPIV-3, indicating that HPIV-3 was the predominant virus present during the study period. A phylogenetic tree based on all the available HN (hemagglutinin-neuraminidase) sequences of HPIV-3 indicated that three distinct clusters (A,B, and C) were circulating with some temporal and regional clustering. Cluster C was further divided into sub-clusters, C1, C2, C3 and C4. HPIV-3 from Beijing isolates belonged to sub-cluster C3, and were grouped with the isolates from two Provinces of China and the neighboring country of Japan. Genetic analysis based on entire HN gene revealed that the HPIV-3 isolates from Beijing were highly similar with 97.2%–100% identity at the nucleotide level and these could be divided into two closely related lineages, C3a and C3b. These findings suggested that there was co-circulation of multiple lineages of HPIV-3 in the Beijing region during the study period. This is the first study to describe the epidemiology and molecular characterization of HPIVs in China.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043893
PMCID: PMC3429441  PMID: 22937119
5.  Emergence and Continuous Evolution of Genotype 1E Rubella Viruses in China 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(2):353-363.
In China, rubella vaccination was introduced into the national immunization program in 2008, and a rubella epidemic occurred in the same year. In order to know whether changes in the genotypic distribution of rubella viruses have occurred in the postvaccination era, we investigate in detail the epidemiological profile of rubella in China and estimate the evolutionary rate, molecular clock phylogeny, and demographic history of the predominant rubella virus genotypes circulating in China using Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo phylodynamic analyses. 1E was found to be the predominant rubella virus genotype since its initial isolation in China in 2001, and no genotypic shift has occurred since then. The results suggest that the global 1E genotype may have diverged in 1995 and that it has evolved at a mutation rate of 1.65 × 10−3 per site per year. The Chinese 1E rubella virus isolates were grouped into either cluster 1 or cluster 2, which likely originated in 1997 and 2006, respectively. Cluster 1 viruses were found in all provinces examined in this study and had a mutation rate of 1.90 × 10−3 per site per year. The effective number of infections remained constant until 2007, and along with the introduction of rubella vaccine into the national immunization program, although the circulation of cluster 1 viruses has not been interrupted, some viral lineages have disappeared, and the epidemic started a decline that led to a decrease in the effective population size. Cluster 2 viruses were found only in Hainan Province, likely because of importation.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01264-11
PMCID: PMC3264136  PMID: 22162559
6.  The Persistent Circulation of Enterovirus 71 in People's Republic of China: Causing Emerging Nationwide Epidemics Since 2008 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25662.
Emerging epidemics of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) associated with enterovirus 71 (EV71) has become a serious concern in mainland China. It caused 126 and 353 fatalities in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The epidemiologic and pathogenic data of the outbreak collected from national laboratory network and notifiable disease surveillance system. To understand the virological evolution of this emerging outbreak, 326 VP1 gene sequences of EV71 detected in China from 1987 to 2009 were collected for genetic analyses. Evidence from both traditional and molecular epidemiology confirmed that the recent HFMD outbreak was an emerging one caused by EV71 of subgenotype C4. This emerging HFMD outbreak is associated with EV71 of subgenotype C4, circulating persistently in mainland China since 1998, but not attributed to the importation of new genotype. Originating from 1992, subgenotype C4 has been the predominant genotype since 1998 in mainland China, with an evolutionary rate of 4.6∼4.8×10−3 nucleotide substitutions/site/year. The phylogenetic analysis revealed that the majority of the virus during this epidemic was the most recent descendant of subgenotype C4 (clade C4a). It suggests that the evolution might be one of the potential reasons for this native virus to cause the emerging outbreak in China. However, strong negative selective pressure on VP1 protein of EV71 suggested that immune escape might not be the evolving strategy of EV71, predicting a light future for vaccine development. Nonetheless, long-term antigenic and genetic surveillance is still necessary for further understanding.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025662
PMCID: PMC3181342  PMID: 21980521
7.  Rubella Virus Genotypes in the People's Republic of China between 1979 and 2007: a Shift in Endemic Viruses during the 2001 Rubella Epidemic▿ † 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1775-1781.
The incidence of rubella cases in China from 1991 to 2007 was reviewed, and the nucleotide sequences from 123 rubella viruses collected during 1999 to 2007 and 4 viral sequences previously reported from 1979 to 1984 were phylogenetically analyzed. Rubella vaccination was not included in national immunization programs in China before 2007. Changes in endemic viruses were compared with incidences of rubella epidemics. The results showed that rubella epidemics occur approximately every 6 to 8 years (1993/1994, 2001, and 2007), and a shift of disease burden to susceptible young adults was observed. The Chinese rubella virus sequences were categorized into 5 of the 13 rubella virus genotypes, 1a, 1E, 1F, 2A, and 2B; cocirculations of these different genotypes were found in China. In Anhui province, a shift in the predominant genotype from 1F and 2B to 1E coincided with the 2001 rubella epidemic. This shift may have occurred throughout China during 2001 to 2007. This study investigated the genotype distribution of rubella viruses in China over a 28-year period to establish an important genetic baseline in China during its prevaccination era.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02055-09
PMCID: PMC2863877  PMID: 20351211
8.  An emerging recombinant human enterovirus 71 responsible for the 2008 outbreak of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease in Fuyang city of China 
Virology Journal  2010;7:94.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), a common contagious disease that usually affects children, is normally mild but can have life-threatening manifestations. It can be caused by enteroviruses, particularly Coxsackieviruses and human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) with highly variable clinical manifestations. In the spring of 2008, a large, unprecedented HFMD outbreak in Fuyang city of Anhui province in the central part of southeastern China resulted in a high aggregation of fatal cases. In this study, epidemiologic and clinical investigations, laboratory testing, and genetic analyses were performed to identify the causal pathogen of the outbreak. Of the 6,049 cases reported between 1 March and 9 May of 2008, 3023 (50%) were hospitalized, 353 (5.8%) were severe and 22 (0.36%) were fatal. HEV71 was confirmed as the etiological pathogen of the outbreak. Phylogenetic analyses of entire VP1 capsid protein sequence of 45 Fuyang HEV71 isolates showed that they belong to C4a cluster of the C4 subgenotype. In addition, genetic recombinations were found in the 3D region (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, a major component of the viral replication complex of the genome) between the Fuyang HEV71 strain and Coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16), resulting in a recombination virus. In conclusion, an emerging recombinant HEV71 was responsible for the HFMD outbreak in Fuyang City of China, 2008.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-94
PMCID: PMC2885340  PMID: 20459851
9.  An outbreak of aseptic meningitis caused by coxsackievirus A9 in Gansu, the People's Republic of China 
Virology Journal  2010;7:72.
Background
An outbreak of aseptic meningitis occurred in Tianshui city of Gansu Province, the People's Republic of China, from March to June 2005. A total of 85 patients were clinical confirmed as aseptic meningitis in this outbreak.
Results
CVA9 was mainly responsible for this outbreak supported by the clinical manifestations of the patients, epidemiological data of the outbreak, the results of RT-PCR and complete VP1 sequence determination, conventional neutralization assays, IgM serological assays, viral isolation and phylogenetics analysis. Through phylogenetic analysis and homogeneity analysis for partial VP1 gene, the nucleotide and amino acid homologies between Gansu isolates and former Chinese CVA9 strains were 88.2%-96.1% and 97.2%-99.2%, respectively. Multiple transmission chains of CVA9 occurred in different provinces or years in China. Moreover, in order to clarify the genotype of CVA9, Gansu CVA9 strains isolated in this outbreak were compared with other CVA9 isolates based on VP1/2A junction regions (genotyping region) and they might belong to a new genotype of CVA9, which could be assigned for genotype XIII,
Conclusions
CVA9 was confirmed as the pathogen responsible for this outbreak. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that the CVA9 strains isolated in this outbreak might belong to a new genotype.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-72
PMCID: PMC2907575  PMID: 20367886

Results 1-9 (9)