Group C orthobunyaviruses (family Bunyaviridae, genus Orthobunyavirus), discovered in the 1950s, are vector-borne human pathogens in the Americas. Currently there is a gap in genomic information for group C viruses. In this study, we obtained complete coding region sequences of reference strains of Caraparu (CARV), Oriboca (ORIV), Marituba (MTBV) and Madrid (MADV) viruses, and five clinical isolates from Peru and Bolivia, using an unbiased de novo approach consisting of random reverse transcription, random anchored PCR amplification, and high throughput pyrosequencing. The small, medium, and large segments encode for a 235 amino acid nucleocapsid protein, an approximately 1430 amino acid surface glycoprotein polyprotein precursor, and a 2248 amino acid RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, respectively. Additionally, the S segment encodes for an 83 amino acid non-structural protein, although this protein is truncated or silenced in some isolates. Phylogenetically, three clinical isolates clustered with CARV, one clustered with MTBV, and one isolate appeared to be a reassortant or a genetic drift resulted from the high variability of the medium segment which was also seen in a few other orthobunyaviruses. These data represent the first complete coding region sequences for this serocomplex of pathogenic orthobunyaviruses. The genome-wide phylogeny of reference strains is consistent with the antigenic properties of the viruses reported in the original serological studies conducted in the 1960s. Comparative analysis of conserved protein regions across group C virus strains and the other orthobunyavirus groups revealed that these group C viruses contain characteristic domains of potential structural and functional significance. Our results provide the basis for the developments of diagnostics, further genetic analyses, and future epidemiologic studies of group C viruses.
J., H., B.M., F., Y., Y., V., F. S., R.A., K., E.S., H., & R.G., J. (2014). Genomic characterization of group C orthobunyavirus reference strains and recent South American clinical isolates. PLoS ONE, 9(3), e92114. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092114