Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

June 2002


Published in Virus Research 87 (2002) 51–60.


Phylogenetic analysis divides bovine viral diarrhea viruses (BVDV) into two different genotypes (BVDV1 and BVDV2). BVDV1 strains have been further subdivided into two to 11 subgenotypes. Phylogenetic analysis of BVDV2 isolates, however, has not been able to identify discrete subgenotypes. In this study, we identified six South American BVDV2 strains and one North American BVDV2 strain that cluster to a separate genetic group within BVDV2, thus representing a distinct subgenotype. The 5’ untranslated region (UTR) sequence homology between these six strains and other BVDV2 from North America, Europe and Asia (81.7%) is lower than the homology used to segregate BVDV1 into BVDV1a and BVDV1b (83.6%). Most nucleotide differences observed between the two subgroups of BVDV2 were concentrated in two regions, which also harbor most of the differences seen between BVDV1a and BVDV1b. To determine if this segregation was real, an additional analysis was performed comparing NS2/3 sequences. Analysis of a conserved sequence located between nucleotides 6670 and 7186 of the NS2/3 coding region also segregated these isolates to a separate group. The sequence homology between the two subgroups (86.3%) was higher than the homology in the 5’UTR (81.7%), with mean sequence homologies of 91 and 87.2% within the proposed subgroups. In contrast to the 5’UTR, alignment of the NS2/3 sequences revealed nucleotide differences distributed across the region. These results demonstrate that BVDV2 isolates cluster to two genetically distinct subgroups within BVDV2. The differences in both the 5’UTR and NS2/3 are consistent and justify this segregation. We suggest that BVDV2 may thereafter be subgenotyped into BVDV2a and BVDV2b. The existence of subgroups within the BVDV2 genotype with genetic heterogeneity similar to that seen among BVDV1 subgroups argues against BVDV2 isolates arising from BVDV1 in a recent evolutionary event. Unless the evolutionary clocks for BVDV1 and BVDV2 isolates tick along at different rates, these results indicate that BVDV2 have existed as long as BVDV1.