Image_1_Analysis of an Imported Subgenotype C2 Strain of Human Enterovirus 71 in Beijing, China, 2015.JPEG

Background: Subgenotype C4 of enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the predominant agent of Hand Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) circulating in the mainland of China. For the first time, a subgenotype C2 of EV71 named SY30-2 was isolated from a HFMD case in Beijing, China. Since it is uncertain whether antibodies raised against subgenotype C4 of EV71 can protect C2 EV71, it is important to monitor and check the presence of cross-reactive antibodies against new EV71 subgenotypes. To find out the causes for the different NtAb, this study is to investigate the relationships between amino acid residue variations and cross-reactive antibodies against EV71 subgenotypes C2 and C4.

Methods: Nucleotide and amino acid sequences from full-length genome sequence of SY30-2 were compared to EV71 reference strains. A microneutralization test was used to detect neutralizing antibody (NTAb) in the sera of subgenotype C4 of EV71 infected cases against SY30-2 and FY17 (a C4 isolate). The 3D structure of the viral capsid protein of SY30-2 was constructed.

Results: Genome sequence and similarity plot analyses showed that SY30-2 shared the highest identity with subgenotype C2 of EV71 strains in every fragment of the genome. While the microneutralization test result showed that children infected with subgenotype C4 of EV71 had higher NTAb titers against FY17 than SY30-2 (p < 0.001). The amino acid sequence comparison revealed that four amino acid residues VP1-22, VP1-31, VP1-249 and VP3-93 were highly conserved in subgenotype C4 of EV71 compared with the corresponding amino acid residues on subgenotype C2 of EV71 (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the 3D-structure of viral capsid protein showed that VP1-22, VP1-31 and VP3-93 were located on the surface of virion.

Conclusion: This is the first report of an EV71 subgenotype C2 isolated from HFMD in Beijing, China. Only a few antigenic variations on subgenotype C2 of EV71 could have led to a great decrease in NTAb titer. Thus, imported new genotypes and subgenotypes of EV71 should be closely monitored. The efficacy of available vaccines against new viruses should be evaluated as well.