Phylogenetic investigation of partial G gene sequences in Lithuanian rabies virus field isolates.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the molecular epidemiology of rabies virus G-gene partial sequences in rabies positive field samples, isolated in different regions of Lithuania, and to compare the sequences phylogenetically with various rabies virus isolates of wild carnivores from the Baltic Sea region, Europe and Russia. Twenty brain samples of rabid animals, collected during the period 2006-2011, were investigated. Multiple alignments of 358 nt G gene (nt 3324-3682) sequences were performed using ClustalW with default settings. Phylogenetic and molecular evolutionary analyses were conducted using the Neighbor- Joining method (NJ) in MEGA version 4. The phylogenetic investigations of rabies virus glycoprotein indicate that the Lithuanian rabies virus isolates' G-sequences were closely related and showed 89.8-98.9% of nt identity. The G-sequences between Lithuanian raccoon dog and red fox rabies virus isolates were more conservative (97.2% nt identity) than the rabies virus isolates inside the raccoon dog group (95.1% nt identity). Two Lithuanian raccoon dog rabies virus isolate G-sequences were rather divergent (90.8 and 91.2% nt identity) and were closely associated with rabies virus isolate G-sequences from Estonia (92.5% nt identity), Russia (91.0%) and Poland (89.3%) respectively. The comparative investigation of G-sequences between the Lithuanian rabies virus isolates and different isolates from Germany, Slovenia and France indicated 84.2% nt identity, whereas the G-sequences of Lithuanian rabies virus isolates and rabies virus isolate G-sequences from Russia were 88.1% nt identical.