A porcine rotavirus strain, CN86, originally isolated from rotavirus-infected piglets in Argentina, has been shown to possess unique characteristics. It was the first animal strain described to be antigenically related to human serotype G1 and the standard counterpart of another porcine strain showing rearrangement of genome segment 11. Owing to these features, molecular characterization of this virus seemed relevant. The gene encoding the major inner capsid protein, VP6, was cloned and its nucleotide sequence was determined. Comparative analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence of CN86 VP6 with those representing the four different subgroups showed that it is more closely related to subgroup II human Wa and porcine Gottfried strains, albeit to a lesser extent than they are to each other. Despite exhibiting sequence divergence, CN86 VP6 has 12 out of the 14 residues expected to be conserved in strains bearing subgroup II specificity. Interestingly, CN86 VP6 shows a high degree of homology with VP6 of porcine strain YM rotavirus which, although being closely related to subgroup II strains, has been serologically characterized as subgroup I. Subgroup II reactivity of CN86 strain, predicted by sequence analysis, was confirmed by ELISA with subgroup-specific monoclonal antibodies. Taken together, our results provide evidence for the existence of a human-pig lineage for rotavirus gene 6.


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