The primary amino acid sequence of the VP4 proteins of human rotavirus strain AU-1 and feline rotavirus strain FRV-1 was deduced from nucleotide sequence analysis of full-length genome segment 4 cDNAs produced by a combined reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The VP4 genes were 2359 nucleotides in length and contained one long open reading frame capable of encoding a protein of 775 amino acids. Strain AU-1 and FRV-1 VP4s were 98.8% similar at both the nucleotide sequence and amino acid level. Given that most of the genome segments of strains AU-1 and FRV-1 formed hybrids under stringent hybridization conditions, the relationship between their VP4 gene sequences is best explained by feline rotavirus being transmitted to human hosts as whole virions relatively recently. Of added interest is that AU-1 and FRV-1 VP4 both exhibit high degrees of similarity (96.0% nucleotide identity and 97.2 to 97.5% amino acid identity) with serotype G1 human rotavirus strain K8 VP4, which is distinct from any other sequenced VP4 allele. This suggests that strain K8 VP4 was derived by natural gene reassortment from a feline rotavirus or a strain AU-1-like human rotavirus.


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