The nucleotide sequence of the genomic segment encoding the major antigen, VP6, of human rotavirus strain RV3 was determined for the virus isolated from faeces. This was compared with the sequence of the cognate gene of tissue culture-adapted candidate vaccine virus that was derived from RV3 and had been passaged 30 times. A single silent nucleotide difference was detected between the two genes and the deduced amino acid sequence for both showed the highest degree of identity (≥ 97.5%) with the VP6 proteins of rotavirus strains belonging to the same subgroup. The amino acid residues that might affect VP6 subgroup epitope type from RV3 and other viruses of the same or different subgroups were compared. The commonality of particular amino acids among strains of different subgroups suggests that the presence of all subgroup-specific amino acids may be necessary for subgroup determination.


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