Analysis of the restriction site polymorphism (RSP) of human parvovirus B19 using 12 restriction endonucleases (REs) recognizing four or five bp sequences (4- or 5-bp REs) revealed a significant difference between strains previously classified as being of the same genome type, and a relationship between two strains of different genome types, thereby indicating a global spread of B19 virus strains. These findings demonstrated the advantage of this set of 4- and 5-bp REs for the calculation of the degree of genetic diversity and clearly it is necessary to amend the taxonomy of B19 virus strains using these REs. We examined the nucleotide (nt) sequence between nt 3141 and 3411, at the N terminus of the VP2 protein coding region, in 12 B19 virus strains. The pattern of distribution of nucleotide differences between the strains confirmed the classification by RSP analysis. Between nt 3293 and nt 3364, a region in which an antigenic epitope may be encoded, there was no evidence of a nucleotide change causing an amino acid change. Thus, the amino acid sequence in this potential epitope is probably conserved.


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