Positive selection pressure on the B/C domains of the E2-gene of classical swine fever virus in endemic areas under C-strain vaccination

Lester Josué Pérez, Heidy Díaz de Arce, Carmen Laura Perera, Rosa Rosell, Maria T. Frías, Maria I. Percedo, Joan Tarradas, Patricia Dominguez, Jose I. Núñez, Llilianne Ganges

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In Cuba, classical swine fever (CSF) has become an endemic disease with several outbreaks each year, despite the implemented vaccination program. Interestingly, a trend towards a milder presentation of the disease has been observed among the animals during the last years. This study aimed to assess positive selection pressure acting on partial E2 gene of CSF viruses to gain insights into the mechanisms governing virulence and the driving forces of classical swine fever virus (CSFV) evolution in swine populations under regular vaccination. Selection pressure analysis were performed to detect positive selection acting on a particular lineage as well as among sites of the E2-B/C-domain of CSFV nucleotide sequences, reported in a previous study and in the present work, several models, available in the CODEML module of PAML 4.3, were used. In addition, a representative Cuban CSF isolate was assessed in an experimental infection trial for their clinical virulence in order to expand the knowledge regarding CSF viruses circulating in pig populations. The viral genomes sequenced in this study were grouped in a defined cluster within the genotype 1.2, as it has been reported previously for Cuban CSF viruses. The selection pressure analysis didn't find evidence of positive selection (dN/dS of > 1) along any branch. The positive selective pressure analysis estimated six new sites under positive selection on E2 partial gene analysed. Besides, the clinical manifestations of the CSF-disease were related mainly to a mild course of the illness. The high number of positively selected sites suggests that these changes could be associated to viral evasion of the host-immune response. These observations highlight a possible association between escape viral variants and the alterations observed in the virulence and pathogenesis of the virus. Therefore, while the vaccination programs have not led to a genotype change, alterations in virulence were suggested to arise. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1405-1412
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Chronic diseases
  • Classical swine fever virus
  • Glycoprotein E2
  • Positive selective pressure


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