Noroviruses are important human enteric pathogens and monitoring their genetic diversity is important for epidemiological surveillance, vaccine development, and understanding of RNA viruses evolution. Epidemiological investigations have revealed that genogroup II, genotype 6 noroviruses (GII.6) are common agents of gastroenteritis. Upon sequencing of the ORF2 (encoding the viral capsid), GII.6 viruses have been distinguished into three variants. Sentinel hospital-based surveillance in Italy revealed that GII.6 noroviruses were the second most common capsid genotype in 2015, mostly in association with a GII.P7 ORF1 (encoding the viral polymerase). Upon molecular characterization of the ORF1 and ORF2, the GII.P7_GII.6 epidemic viruses circulating in 2014–2015 (variant GII.6b) were different from those that circulated sporadically in 2011–2013 (variant GII.6a). Analysis of the ORF1 (GII.P7) and ORF2 (GII.6) sequences available in the databases unveiled marked genetic diversity and peculiarities in the phylogenetic segregation patterns, suggesting multiple recombination events. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that recent GII.P7_GII.6b viruses were circulating as early as 2008, and formed a genetically homogenous group that emerged globally.
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases