Rotavirus strains belonging to G types 1 to 4 and having a P3 genotype (M37-like VP4) were recovered from children with symptomatic and asymptomatic infections. Partial sequences of their VP4 genes were determined in an attempt to characterize these strains further. The genomic regions encoding VP8*, the connecting and putative fusion peptides and three other regions in VP5* were sequenced. The deduced amino acid sequences were compared with rotavirus strains belonging to different P genotypes that had been previously reported. High degrees of identity were found between the VP8* fragment of all human P3 strains (92.7 to 99.7%) suggesting that they belong to the same genotype, regardless of differences in their virulence. Furthermore, based on comparative sequence analysis, we did not identify any amino acid(s) that differ appreciably between symptomatic and asymptomatic strains and could therefore be associated with virulence. The results suggest that the P3 genotype, although frequently associated with asymptomatic infections, may not be the single determining factor in attenuation of symptoms.


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