Canine distemper virus (CDV; Paramyxoviridae, Morbillivirus) is the etiologic agent of a multisystemic infectious disease affecting all terrestrial carnivore families with high incidence and mortality in domestic dogs. Sequence analysis of the hemagglutinin (H) gene has been widely employed to characterize field strains, permitting the identification of nine CDV lineages worldwide. Recently, it has been established that the sequences of the fusion protein signal-peptide (Fsp) coding region are extremely variable, suggesting that analysis of its sequence might be useful for strain characterization studies. However, the divergence of Fsp sequences among worldwide strains and its phylogenetic resolution has not yet been evaluated. We constructed datasets containing the Fsp-coding region and H gene sequences of the same strains belonging to eight CDV lineages. Both datasets were used to evaluate their phylogenetic resolution. The phylogenetic analysis revealed that both datasets clustered the same strains into eight different branches, corresponding to CDV lineages. The inter-lineage amino acid divergence was fourfold greater for the Fsp peptide than for the H protein. The likelihood mapping revealed that both datasets display strong phylogenetic signals in the region of well-resolved topologies. These features indicate that Fsp-coding region sequence analysis is suitable for evolutionary studies as it allows for straightforward identification of CDV lineages.
Sarute, N., Calderón, M. G., Pérez, R., La Torre, J., Hernández, M., Francia, L., & Panzera, Y. (2013). The Fusion Protein Signal-Peptide-Coding Region of Canine Distemper Virus: A Useful Tool for Phylogenetic Reconstruction and Lineage Identification. PLoS ONE, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063595