Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published April 20, 1995 | public
Journal Article

Aura Virus Is a New World Representative of Sindbis-like Viruses


Aura virus is an alphavirus present in Brazil and Argentina that is serologically related to Sindbis virus (present throughout the Old World) and to Western equine encephalitis (WEE) virus (present in the Americas). We have previously shown that WEE is a recombinant virus whose glycoproteins and part of whose 3' nontranslated region (NTR) are derived from a Sindbis-like virus, but the remainder of whose genome is derived from Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. We show here that Aura virus is a Sindbis-like virus that shares considerable organizational and sequence identity with Sindbis virus. Certain nucleotide sequence elements present in Aura RNA that are believed to function as promoters are almost identical to their Sindbis counterparts, repeated elements in the 3' nontranslated region are shared with Sindbis virus, and important antigenic epitopes are conserved between the two viruses. Despite their close relationship, the two viruses have diverged significantly, sharing 73% amino acid sequence identity in the nonstructural proteins and 62% identity in the structural proteins. This is about the same as the identities between EEE and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, whose promoter elements, 3' NTRs, and antigenic epitopes have diverged more radically, such that these two viruses are considered to belong to different subgroups. Importantly, the glycoproteins of WEE are more closely related to those of Sindbis than to those of Aura virus. From this we propose that an ancestral Sindbis-like virus present in the Americas (probably South America) diverged 1000-2000 years ago into a lineage that gave rise to Aura virus and a lineage that gave rise to Sindbis virus and to the Sindbis-like parent of WEE. At some time after this divergence, a Slndbis-like virus belonging to the latter lineage was transferred to the Old World where it gave rise to Sindbis viruses distributed throughout the Old World, and in a separate event a Sindbis-like virus belonging to the same lineage underwent recombination with EEE to give rise to WEE.

Additional Information

© 1995 Academic Press, Inc. Received December 23, 1994; accepted February 10, 1995. We are grateful to H.-J. Thiel and R. J. Kuhn for their interest and helpful discussion. T.R. was supported by a fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. This work was supported by Grants AI 10793 and AI 20612 from the NIH and Grant DMB-9104054 from the NSF.

Additional details

August 20, 2023
October 17, 2023