Avian metapneumovirus (AMPV) attachment protein involvement in probable virus evolution concurrent with mass live vaccine introduction
Avian metapneumoviruses detected in Northern Italy between 1987 and 2007 were sequenced in their fusion (F) and attachment (G) genes together with the same genes from isolates collected throughout western European prior to 1994. Fusion protein genes sequences were highly conserved while G protein sequences showed much greater heterogeneity. Phylogenetic studies based on both genes clearly showed that later Italian viruses were significantly different to all earlier virus detections, including early detections from Italy. Furthermore a serine residue in the G proteins and lysine residue in the fusion protein were exclusive to Italian viruses, indicating that later viruses probably arose within the country and the notion that these later viruses evolved from earlier Italian progenitors cannot be discounted. Biocomputing analysis applied to F and G proteins of later Italian viruses predicted that only G contained altered T cell epitopes. It appears likely that Italian field viruses evolved in response to selection pressure from vaccine induced immunity.