Complementary DNAs were synthesized from the envelope protein genes of two isolates of dengue virus (TH-36 and TH-Sman, previously suggested as possible dengue virus type 5 and dengue virus type 6 respectively) and amplified by the polymerase chain reaction using sense and antisense primers designed from conserved dengue virus gene sequences. The amplified cDNA clones were sequenced in both directions by double-stranded dideoxynucleotide sequencing. Alignment with published dengue virus sequences enabled us to assign these viruses accurately to classified serotypes, confirming that TH-36 and TH-Sman are strains of dengue virus type 2 and dengue virus type 1 respectively. Amino acid changes between the proteins encoded by these two isolates and strains of their respective serotypes may account for the significant antigenic differences observed during previous serological typing of these viruses. Moreover, sequence alignment of flavivirus envelope proteins revealed a hypervariable region, within which members of the dengue and tick-borne virus antigenic complexes show unique peptide sequences. This type-specific hypervariable domain may be useful as a genetic marker for typing dengue and tick-borne flaviviruses.


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