Evidence of recombination in Tula virus strains from Serbia
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Tula hantavirus (TULV) belongs to Bunyaviridae family, with negative sense RNA genome. Segmented nature of hantaviral genome allows for genetic reassortment, but the evidence of homologous recombination also exists. In this study we analyzed TULV sequences isolated in Serbia on different occasions and from different rodent hosts: 1987 strain from Microtus subterraneus and 2007 strain from Microtus arvalis. Phylogenetic analysis of both L and S segment sequences is suggestive of geographically related clustering, as previously shown for majority of hantaviruses. Reconstruction of phylogenetic tree for TULV S segment showed that both sequences from Serbia clustered together with sequences from East Slovakia, which had previously been shown to be recombinants (Kosice strain). Exploratory recombination analysis, supported by phylogenetic and amino acid pattern analysis, revealed the presence of recombination in the S segment sequences from Serbia, resulting in mosaic-like structure of TULV S segment similar to the one of Kosice strain. Although recombination is considered a rare event in molecular evolution of negative strand RNA viruses, obtained molecular data in this study support evidence of recombination in TULV, in geographically distant regions of Europe. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.