Group A human rotavirus genomics: evidence that gene constellations are influenced by viral protein interactions.
Group A human rotaviruses (HRVs) are the major cause of severe viral gastroenteritis in infants and young children. To gain insight into the level of genetic variation among HRVs, we determined the genome sequences for 10 strains belonging to different VP7 serotypes (G types). The HRVs chosen for this study, D, DS-1, P, ST3, IAL28, Se584, 69M, WI61, A64, and L26, were isolated from infected persons and adapted to cell culture to use as serotype references. Our sequencing results revealed that most of the individual proteins from each HRV belong to one of three genotypes (1, 2, or 3) based on their similarities to proteins of genogroup strains (Wa, DS-1, or AU-1, respectively). Strains D, P, ST3, IAL28, and WI61 encode genotype 1 (Wa-like) proteins, whereas strains DS-1 and 69M encode genotype 2 (DS-1-like) proteins. Of the 10 HRVs sequenced, 3 of them (Se584, A64, and L26) encode proteins belonging to more than one genotype, indicating that they are intergenogroup reassortants. We used amino acid sequence alignments to identify residues that distinguish proteins belonging to HRV genotype 1, 2, or 3. These genotype-specific changes cluster in definitive regions within each viral protein, many of which are sites of known protein-protein interactions. For the intermediate viral capsid protein (VP6), the changes map onto the atomic structure at the VP2-VP6, VP4-VP6, and VP7-VP6 interfaces. The results of this study provide evidence that group A HRV gene constellations exist and may be influenced by interactions among viral proteins during replication.