In Brazil, dengue has been a major public health problem since its introduction in the 1980s. Phylogenetic studies constitute a valuable tool to monitor the introduction and spread of viruses as well as to predict the potential epidemiological consequences of such events. Aiming to perform the molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of DENV-2 during twenty years of viral activity in the country, viral strains isolated from patients presenting different disease manifestations (n = 34), representing six states of the country, from 1990 to 2010, were sequenced. Partial genome sequencing (genes C/prM/M/E) was performed in 25 DENV-2 strains and full-length genome sequencing (coding region) was performed in 9 strains. The percentage of similarity among the DENV-2 strains in this study and reference strains available in Genbank identified two groups epidemiologically distinct: one represented by strains isolated from 1990 to 2003 and one from strains isolated from 2007 to 2010. No consistent differences were observed on the E gene from strains isolated from cases with different clinical manifestations analyzed, suggesting that if the disease severity has a genetic origin, it is not only due to the differences observed on the E gene. The results obtained by the DENV-2 full-length genome sequencing did not point out consistent differences related to a more severe disease either. The analysis based on the partial and/or complete genome sequencing has characterized the Brazilian DENV-2 strains as belonging to the Southeast Asian genotype, however a distinction of two Lineages within this genotype has been identified. It was established that strains circulating prior DENV-2 emergence (1990-2003) belong to Southeast Asian genotype, Lineage I and strains isolated after DENV-2 emergence in 2007 belong to Southeast Asian genotype, Lineage II. Furthermore, all DENV-2 strains analyzed presented an asparagine (N) in E390, previously identified as a probable genetic marker of virulence observed in DHF strains from Asian origin. The percentage of identity of the latter with the Dominican Republic strain isolated in 2001 combined to the percentage of divergence with the strains first introduced in the country in the 1990s suggests that those viruses did not evolve locally but were due to a new viral Lineage introduction in the country from the Caribbean.
Faria, N. R. da C., Nogueira, R. M. R., de Filippis, A. M. B., Simões, J. B. S., Nogueira, F. de B., da Rocha Queiroz Lima, M., & Santos, F. B. dos. (2013). Twenty Years of DENV-2 Activity in Brazil: Molecular Characterization and Phylogeny of Strains Isolated from 1990 to 2010. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002095