First report and genetic characterization of porcine astroviruses of lineage 4 and 2 in diarrhoeic pigs in India.
Porcine astroviruses (PAstVs) have extended their distribution globally and have a high prevalence; however, their clinical significance is still under investigation. Thus far, information about their prevalence and diversity in the Indian pig population is unknown. This study is the first report on the prevalence and genetic characterization of PAstVs in diarrhoeic piglets in India. From January 2013 to December 2017, 757 samples were screened using an RT-PCR assay and PAstV infection was detected in 17.6% (133/757) pigs. Of the 133 positive samples, 79 (59.4%) were positive for PAstV alone, whereas 54 (40.6%) were found to be co-infected with porcine rotavirus A (PoRVA). Phylogenetic analysis of RdRp/capsid gene region revealed high genetic heterogeneity among PAstV sequences, with a predominance of PAstV lineage 4 and detection of lineage 2. The lineage 4 PAstVs exhibited 61.2%-94.5% sequence similarity at the nucleotide level to other reported sequences, whereas lineage 2 strain shared 66.0%-71.6% sequence identity with cognate sequences of the same lineage. This is the first report on PAstV and circulation of lineages 4 and 2 in India. Further, phylogenetic analysis indicates a multiphyletic origin of PAstV strains and suggests cross-border circulation of PAstVs with a similar genetic configuration in Asian countries.