Lineage diversification and recombination in type-4 human astroviruses

Vito Martella, Maria C. Medici, Valentina Terio, Cristiana Catella, Giancarlo Bozzo, Fabio Tummolo, Adriana Calderaro, Floriana Bonura, Marzia Di Franco, Krisztiàn Bányai, Giovanni M. Giammanco, Simona De Grazia

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Human astroviruses (HAstVs) are important enteric pathogens and can be classified genetically and antigenically into eight types. During surveillance of HAstVs in Italy, type-4 HAstVs were detected only sporadically and found to cluster into two distinct genetic groups. Upon sequence analysis of the 3' end of the polymerase gene (ORF1b) and of the full-length ORF2, the 2008 type-4 HAstV strains were characterised as a novel ORF2 genetic lineage, designated as 4c. The 2008 type-4 HAstVs also shared the ORF1b gene with similar HAstV-4c strains detected globally, thus displaying a conserved ORF1b/ORF2 asset. By interrogation of the databases, this novel lineage 4c accounted for 60.8% of the type-4 strains identified worldwide and the vast majority of recent type-4 HAstVs. The 2002 type-4 HAstVs displayed a type-4b ORF2, whereas in the ORF1b they resembled type-1 HAstVs. This inconsistency suggests a possible recombinant origin, with the RNA switch taking place upstream the ORF1b/ORF2 junction region. Also, recombination likely played a role in the diversification of the ORF2 of the three type-4 lineages. Multi-target analysis is required for appropriate characterisation and identification of recombinant HAstVs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-335
Number of pages6
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Astrovirus
  • Epidemiology
  • Genotyping
  • Italy
  • Viral gastroenteritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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    Martella, V., Medici, M. C., Terio, V., Catella, C., Bozzo, G., Tummolo, F., Calderaro, A., Bonura, F., Di Franco, M., Bányai, K., Giammanco, G. M., & De Grazia, S. (2013). Lineage diversification and recombination in type-4 human astroviruses. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 20, 330-335.