Infection with alphaviruses is common in the Chinese population. Here we report the isolation of a Sindbis-like virus from a pool of mosquitoes collected in Xinjiang, China during an arbovirus survey. This virus, designated XJ-160, rapidly produced cytopathic effects on mosquito and hamster cells. In addition, it was lethal to neonatal mice if inoculated intracerebrally. Serologically, XJ-160 reacted with and was neutralized by an anti-Sindbis antibody. Anti-XJ-160 antibodies were found in several cohorts of Chinese subjects. The complete 11626-base nucleotide sequence of XJ-160 was determined. XJ-160 has diverged significantly from the prototype Sindbis virus, with an 18% difference in nucleotide sequence and an 8·6% difference in amino acids; there are 11 deletions and 2 insertions, involving 99 nucleotides in total. XJ-160 is most closely linked to Kyzylagach virus isolated in Azerbaijan. Both belong to the African/European genetic lineage of Sindbis virus, albeit more distantly related to other members.


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