Evolution analysis of the matrix (M) protein genes of 17 H9N2 chicken influenza viruses isolated in northern China during 1998–2008

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Abstract

Matrix (M) protein genes of 17 H9N2 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) isolated from chickens in northern China during the last 10 years were completely sequenced and phylogenetically analyzed. Homology of nucleotide sequences in the M gene of 17 isolates was 92.7–99.9%. Phylogenetic analysis showed that 11 of the tested M genes belong to the A/chicken/HongKong/Y280/97 (Y280)-like lineage, while the other six belong to the A/Quail/HongKong/G1/97 (G1)-like lineage. This is also the first time that a G1-like M gene of a H9N2 virus was detected in chicken flocks in northern China. These newly appearing changes in M genes may be due to reassortment events of AIVs, or they may have come from the H9N2 strains of southern China which surged in northern China after translocation. An analysis of the viral amino acid sequence of M2 protein has revealed substitution of S31N in two isolates, which is the molecular characterization of amantadine resistance in AIVs. Results of this study suggest that long-term monitoring should be continued to track the transmission and evolution of H9N2 AIVs in chickens in China.

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