Hantaan virus (HV) of the genus causes a fatal disease in suckling mice following intraperitoneal or intracerebral infection. HV cl-1, which was obtained from the 76-118 strain of HV by growth in Vero E6 cells, exhibited high mortality rates in mice whereas mice infected with HV cl-2 survived without any clinical signs. To determine the molecular basis for the marked difference in virulence, we compared the nucleotide sequences of the large (L), medium (M) and small (S) segments of HV cl-1 genome with those of HV cl-2 and found that there was only one predicted amino acid substitution. This amino acid substitution was in position 1124 of the glycoprotein encoded by the M genome segment, in which serine in HV cl-1 was replaced by glycine in HV cl-2. Although there were several nucleotide and amino acid differences between the parental 76-118 strain and HV cl-1, the serine in position 1124 of the glycoprotein was common to the pathogenic parent and the pathogenic mutant. These results suggest that this substitution may be responsible for the virulence of this hantavirus.


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