Of the five currently recognized alleles of the human rotavirus VP4 gene, the AU-1 allele has captured attention because of its possible non-human origin. The 5′ 750 nucleotide region of the VP4 gene, encoding the VP8* fragment [amino acids (aa) 1 to 241] and the connecting peptide (aa 242 to 247), from 13 human and two feline rotavirus strains possessing the AU-1 allele was highly conserved both at the nucleotide sequence (93·8 to 99·7% identity) and amino acid level (95·5 to 100% identity) irrespective of the year and the place of isolation or of the host species from which these viruses were isolated. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the AU-1 allele of the VP4 gene has been maintained in both human and feline rotavirus gene pools.


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